Which Manicure Lasts the Longest?
At manicure salons, lifestyle and upkeep play an integral role in which type of mani will last the longest for each individual client. We consulted experts to discover which nails hold up best under everyday wear and tear.
1. Soft Gel
Gel nail polishes may last up to one month when applied correctly and look just like regular manicures; however, they can still chip and peel under certain circumstances or when performed incorrectly.
Nail technicians must avoid getting product on cuticles or skin around nails, and make sure the gel has fully set under UV or LED lights before curing time expires; failure to do so could cause weakening and lifting.
Nail technicians should avoid picking at their gel polish, as doing so could damage natural nails under it. Applying cuticle oil regularly such as Essie On a Roll Apricot Cuticle Oil to help support nail health is also beneficial for maintaining long, healthy nails.
Acrylic nails are hard and long-wearing if done properly, created by mixing a powder polymer and liquid monomer into a dough-like consistency that can be molded to any nail shape, color or art you desire.
A skilled nail artist can craft acrylic nails that last at least six weeks, typically less susceptible to chipping than natural nails and more likely than gel to stay put due to being nonporous.
If you opt for acrylics, be sure to ensure that your nail tech uses sanitary tools and the salon has adequate ventilation in order to avoid nail infections. In addition, schedule an infill every two or three weeks so your acrylics remain looking their best!
Shellac by CND offers an attractive alternative to regular acrylics: an in-salon professional product that looks and feels like polish, yet easily comes off without leaving behind any damage to natural nails. Formulated using ethyl methacrylate instead of the more harmful methyl methacrylate used for dental acrylics.
3. Dip Powder
Dip powder manicures offer longer-lasting solutions than their nail polish counterparts, typically lasting for at least a month without chipping or needing touch ups at a salon. Ideal for busy ladies who don’t have time to visit regularly for touch ups.
Manicurists use finely milled powder tinted with your desired hue (Allure editor-in-chief Linda Evans favors OPI’s Scotland collection for this step). Following that step, they buff it to smooth out and reinforce natural nails for lasting strength and durability.
Dips may cause allergic reactions similar to gel nails; Evans and Bharadwaj suggest evaluating your nails for signs of damage before opting for this treatment. Cuticle oils (we like Allure editor-recommended products such as Olive & June’s Nail & Cuticle Serum and L’Occitane Shea Nourishing Nails & Cuticle Oil) can also help keep both nails and hands hydrated during treatment.
4. Builder Gel
Builder gel is an innovative nail enhancement product, providing strong nail coverage while being less damaging to natural nails than acrylic. Suitable for natural or extension tips, its effects last approximately two to three weeks before needing further enhancement.
To create a gel manicure using builder gel, begin by buffing and removing any oils from the nails. Next, apply your base coat and cure it using either UV or LED light – always following instructions provided by your nail brand.
Next, place a dot of builder gel onto the nail plate and spread it evenly with your fingertip – building gel will tend to self-level itself! Use a nail brush to pick up some glitter or gems from your stash and glue them securely onto the gel on your nail plate.
Top off the nails with clear builder gel and cure as per your brand’s instructions, applying cuticle oil daily to keep nails healthy and hydrated.