What are Gel Overlay Nails?

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It’s normal to walk into a nail salon and feel overwhelmed once you start browsing through the wide range of manicure services that are being offered. Most people out there aren’t truly aware of just how many different types of manicures are out there, and some of these names may even seem completely foreign. If you’ve never heard of gel overlay nails before, then don’t worry because this is everything you need to know!

What are Gel Overlay Nails?

Gel overlay nails involve the application of a gel product onto your nails for a natural but perfected appearance that also adds an extra layer of protection for your nails. Gel overlay nails are often either clear or nude to blend into the appearance of your fingernails, and they’re only done over your natural nails, meaning that they won’t give you any additional length.

What are the Different Types of Gel Overlay Nails?

There are actually a few types of gel overlay nails that you can choose from, depending on your needs and lifestyle!

Hard Gel

Image from allure

Hard gel overlays are much sturdier and offer stronger protection for your nails, mainly because their molecular structure is more compact. This means that they have a thicker consistency compared to other types of gel overlays and are a great choice for those wanting to add structure and support to their weaker nails.

Soft Gel

Image from Semilac

Compared to hard gel overlays, soft gels are more lightweight, flexible, and natural-looking while still offering the renowned protection that gel overlay nails are known for. If you want to give your nails an added layer against damage without feeling bulky, then soft gels are the way to go.

Soak Off Gel

Image from SalonsDirect

The main selling point of soak off gel, sometimes also referred to as builder gel, is that it can be easily removed and dissolved with some acetone, making it much easier and more convenient to remove, while still offering the same benefits.

What are the Benefits of Gel Overlay Nails?

There are a few reasons why you may want to get gel overlay nails. Here are a few benefits you can look forward to:

  • Stronger Nails: One of the benefits of getting a gel overlay nail is that it can strengthen and protect your nails. That’s why it’s a highly recommended manicure treatment for weak nails that need much more support to withstand the daily wear and tear that your nails go through every day.
  • Better Looking Nails: Gel overlay nails improve the appearance of your nails by covering up any little imperfections that you may be insecure about. Things like texture, ridges, and other forms of damage can be easily covered up as if they were never there to begin with.
  • Healthier Nails: When gel overlay nails are regularly applied, they offer your natural nails much more support and protection against everyday damage from your lifestyle. This will significantly reduce the chances that they’ll suffer from breaks and chipping.

How Long Do Gel Overlay Nails Last?

Gel overlay nails often last around two to three weeks, but this can still vary depending on your nail type, activities, and overall lifestyle.

What’s the Difference Between Gel Overlay Nails and Gel Nails?

While both gel overlay nails and gel nails offer additional protection for your nails, gel overlay nails are much thicker and more durable compared to gel nails, to the point where they can survive beyond the force that it would take to break your natural nails. Furthermore, gel overlay nails only cover your natural nails, whereas gel nail polish can be used to add length to your nails.

What’s the Difference Between Gel Overlay Nails and Acrylics?

Compared to acrylic nails, gel overlay nails are much healthier for your nails as they are formulated with fewer chemicals. They also offer a much more understated and natural appearance compared to acrylic nails, which can often look too done or dramatic. And while gel overlay nails may not last as long as acrylic nails, they do offer much more protection for your nails due to their sturdier formulation.

How to Maintain Gel Overlay Nails?

To ensure that your gel overlay nails stay looking good for as long as possible, here are some maintenance tips you should follow:

  • Keep Them Away from Water: Water isn’t the best thing for your manicure, as it actually weakens the bond between your nails and the nail polish, while also making your nails more susceptible to damage like cracking and splitting. If you need to do anything that involves water, such as washing dishes or cleaning in general, remember to protect your nails by wearing properly fitted gloves.
  • Moisturize Your Nails: Every night, make sure that you massage some cuticle oil into your nails to keep them moisturized and hydrated. Not only will this keep your nails looking nice and neat, but it’ll also keep your nails and cuticles healthy, which means that your polish is less likely to crack.
  • Don’t Pick At Your Nails: It’s worth mentioning that you should never bite or pick at your nails when you have nail polish. Aside from ruining the look of your manicure, you’re also potentially damaging your nails with all that friction and force. And every time you remove a chunk of your nail polish, you’re actually also ripping off the topmost layer of your nails, leaving them susceptible to damage and other concerns.
  • Have Your Nails Regularly Maintained: Depending on how quickly your nails grow, you may have to pop into the salon every now and then to have a professional fill in the gaps that have formed. This will ensure that your nails always look good and fresh, which is much better than having sections of your natural nails show through.

Do Gel Overlays Damage Nails?

Just like with all manicure treatments, there are some risks to watch out for when getting gel overlays, particularly with improper application or removal. When getting gel overlays, make sure that your nails aren’t excessively buffed, filed, or scraped, as any of these can cause your nails to become more brittle, dehydrated, and thinner.

It’s also important that you don’t use too much force when removing gel overlays, which can have the same effect. Anyone who has compromised nails—nail sensitivities, infections, or other forms of severe damage—should avoid gel overlays and other manicures in general.

When it comes to manicures, there’s always something new to discover, and gel overlay nails are excitingly one of them. Aside from adding a touch of classiness and sheen to your nails, gel overlays also ensure that your nails are well-protected as you go about your hectic day so that you can do everything you need to do without having to worry too much about them.

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