Are you going back and forth between deciding whether to try Gel-X Nails or sticking to what you know? Trying something new can be scary, but if you love pretty, natural looking nails, and nail art, we guarantee that you'll fall in love with this nail system! Keep reading to find out more!
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What Are Gel-X Nails?
Gel-X is a nail extension system that was created by the US brand Aprés Nail in 2015. Since then, it has exploded in popularity amongst celebrity nail artists, and salons across the world. The gel-x system claims to have offered the first soft gel nail extension to the nail industry. Before that, nail extensions were primarily created with hard gels or acrylics.
So why are these manicures so well-loved by nail artists? Here are the top 5 reasons:
Easy To Apply
Unlike acrylic or gel extensions, which can take years to learn and perfect, many nail techs can learn how to apply gel-x in a matter of days. This is because full cover tips (tips that cover the entire nail bed) are used to add length to the natural nails. These types of tips can be compared to press-on nails.
Nails Look Natural & Thin
Say good-bye to chunky nails! With this system, nail artists can create long nails without having to worry about them breaking or appearing too thick. The pre-made tips come in a variety of shapes and lengths - there's something for everyone!
Takes Less Time To Apply
Professional nail artists absolutely love how quick it is to put on a new set of these extensions. Compared to gel or acrylic nail extensions, it usually takes about half the time (or less)! This allows more time to add on nail art, charms, or crystals.
When using Apres Nails for the first time, many people are surprised at how long they last. Although the brand claims that their extensions can stay on for over 4 weeks, it's best to visit the salon for a removal and new manicure every 3-4 weeks. This is so your manicurist can make sure your real nails stay healthy.
Convenient Soak-Off Removal
Similar to gel nail polish sets, gel-x manicures can be soaked off with acetone. When done correctly, there won't be any damage to your natural nails, and you can do a new set right after.
How Are Apres Gel-X™ Nail Extensions Applied In Nail Salons?
Just like preparing for a standard gel manicure, your nails are trimmed, filed smooth with an emery board, cuticles are pushed back and cleaned, and the surface of the nail plate is buffed.
Nail Tip Sizing
Depending on what look you're going for, your nail artist will select the correct tips and size them to your fingernails. The great thing about this nail system is that there's a huge variety of styles available. The lengths range from size XS (for short nails) to their longest XL. In terms of shapes, there are the trendy coffin, almond and stiletto shapes, as well as the classic round and square shapes.
For clients who have more curved nail beds, there are sculpted tips that will accommodate for that.
There are also French tips - tips that have grooves built in, making it super easy to use as a guide for painting a pretty French nail design.
Colored nude nail tips are also available in the range, which will let you skip the polishing step and give your nails the 'my nails but better' (MNBB) look that has gone viral over social media!
Before applying the tips, pH Bonder is brushed onto the nails, followed by a layer of Non-Acidic Gel Primer.
Next, one coat of Extend Gel (a clear gel polish) is applied, and cured under a LED lamp for 30 seconds.
The same gel is then brushed onto the underside of the nail tip, which acts as a glue to attach onto the natural nails. Again, your nails will go under the LED light lamp to cure.
This is an optional step, but a lot of nail artists will use an e-file (electric file) to gently blend the edges of the nail tips seamlessly into the real nails.
Now comes the fun part - color and nail art! Regular nail polish isn't typically used because it takes longer to dry and is difficult to create designs with. Instead, gel polishes are used because they can last up to 3-4 weeks without chipping.
Finally, to seal it all in, the Top Gelcoat X or Non-Wipe Glossy Top Gelcoat is applied from the bottom of the nail to the free edge.
How Long Do Gel X Nails Last?
Gel-X nails can last as long as 3-4 weeks with proper care. Be sure to wear gloves while doing chores, so your nails won't chip when you wash the dishes or peel when touch harsh cleaning chemicals.
What's The Removal Process For Gel-X Tips?
The removal process is very similar to taking off gel polish. First a medium grit nail file is used to remove the shine of the top coat and break the seal. Then cotton soaked with acetone is put on top, and wrapped with aluminum foil. After about 10-15 minutes, the product will be softened and easily scraped off with an orangewood stick or cuticle pusher.
Can You Do Gel-X Nails At Home?
Yes, many nail enthusiasts have lots of success doing their nails at home with Gel-X starter kits. These kits include everything you need to create beautiful nails and have glowing customer reviews. Using one of these kits is a great alternative to acrylics at-home since they are much more user friendly.
Do Gel-X Nails Use UV Light?
Although Aprés nail only retails LED lamps, soft gels can be cured with UV lamps. However, instead of taking only 30 seconds, you may have to cure the gel for 2 minutes or more.
Both LED and UV lamps emit potentially harmful ultraviolet rays that can damage to the skin. If this is a concern for you, be sure to apply a layer of SPF lotion to your hands before getting your nails done.
Can I Be Allergic To Gel-X?
Although uncommon, irritation and allergic reactions to gel products do happen. Usually it starts as inflammation - the area around your fingernails may feel warm, look red, and swell up. In some cases, rashes or blisters can start showing up around the fingernails and on other parts of your body as well. If this happens to you, get your nails removed immediately and go see your physician.
Some of the most common allergy causing ingredients in nail products include:
HEMA (2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate or hydroxyethyl methacrylate) is in the Extend Gel, and it's there to make the gel more durable. Since it's known to cause allergic reactions in some people, a HEMA free formulation version called Extend Gel Sensitive is now available.
Are There Alternatives To Using Apres Nail Products?
Yes, there are now many different brands that create full cover nail tips that are similar. These are often the same tips you would use for press on nails. Check out our Ultimate Guide To Full Cover Tips to find out how to apply them!
What's The Difference Between Gel-X And Acrylic?
The process of applying acrylic nails requires you to mix acrylic powder (polymer) with a liquid monomer. This forms a product that is applied to the nails with a brush and dries, or cures with air. Traditional acrylic systems will often have a strong odor.
Acrylic can be used for applying over the natural length of the nails (overlay), or used to add length (extensions). Learning to use acrylic can take months, and years to perfect.
Gel-X on the other hand, uses full cover nail tips to create length. They are attached to the natural fingernails with an odorless soft gel that can be easily soaked off with acetone.