10 Things You Should Know About Gel Nail 

FEB 25TH. 2020

10 Things You Should Know About Gel Nail 

FEB 25TH. 2021

A how-to guide on gel nail beginners 

From shapes to tools, what you can do to have that full brows 

Words by Carla Kim

Take a guess, when do you think the first ever nail polish in the world showed up? A 100 years ago? 500? or even before? The answer is 3000 BC. One of the very first nail polish ever made dates back to 3000 BC in China, and back then nail polishes were made of beeswax, egg whites and natural dyes - for now we can name any color and find bottles of nail polish readily available just around the corner. Especially for us nail lovers we will be forever grateful for whoever invented gel nail polish for the first time - it certainly is a game changer. However, have you ever wondered what those magical, colorful liquids are made of? For a cosmetic product we put directly on our body, it might come as a surprise that we know so little about what it actually is, or more importantly, how we should use it. So here we go, we're about to tell you everything you need to know about gel nail polishes.  

1. What does nail polish consist of? 

Nail polish is a lacquer made of film-forming polymer and volatile solvent to decorate or protect human nail plates. Specific ingredients or mix ratio vary between manufacturers, but they usually contain nitrocellulose(also used as gunpowder in firearms), butyl acetate(used in baked goods), and ethyl acetate(as a solvent, it's often seen as circuit boards cleaner or solvent for perfume), and of course, dyes and pigments to make colors, and adhesive agent.  

2. How is gel nail polish different from regular nail polish? 

Gel nail is a nail polish made of a type of methacrylate polymer. Not sure what this means? Well, in essence, gel nail polishes are gel nails but do not air dry, but have to be 'cured' under UV or LED lights. Once exposed to UV light liquid gel polish solidifies into a hard coating that lasts for weeks. Gel nails usually come in liquid type, but more convenient and less damaging types of gel nail products such as strips are available in the market as well. VANITY TABLE's curated K-beauty brand, ohora, is one of them - a gel nail strip only cured up to 60%, ohora strips are real liquid gel polishes that are in semi-cured, readily designed strips.  

3. Is gel nail polish safe? 

Gel nail, just like any other cosmetic products, is made out of different recipes according to the brand of your choice, and sometimes there are ingredients we better watch out. If you're adding pretty nail designs to your cart, then make sure to check if you are about to buy product with the following ingredients - Formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate( also written as DBP), because these are known carcinogens. The good news is, most professional grade nail products do not contain these ingredients. However, we can never be too careful when it comes to our health.  

4. What is the difference between UV lamp and LED lamp? 

The major difference between a UV gel lamp and LED gel lamp is the type of light they emit. Both UV lamp and LED lamp emit UV wavelengths and deliver the same effect, but UV lamp emits a broader spectrum of wavelength than LED lamp, which produces a narrower range of wavelengths. LED lamps are typically much more long lasting (specific durability varies among lamps, but usually LED bulbs lasts over thousands of hours), and more expensive than UV lamps, and hardens gel polishes faster than UV lamps. However, you need different wattage or types of lamps depending on the product of your choice.  

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5. How long does gel nail last? 

Typically, a gel nail lasts for about 2 weeks, but depending on people, it feels like forever until gel polishes start to even so much as chip. Whatever you do, most likely gel nails once hardened on your nail may never leave you unless you take them off. The more desirable question, in this sense, is how long should we hold on to our gel nails in order to keep healthy nails? Usually, it is recommended to keep gel nails about 2 weeks and soak them off within a month.  

At this point, one can wonder, why should we take them off? It is because the longer you keep the gel, it gets harder to remove them. The gel polish is exposed to UV lights within our daily lives such as sunlight, and keeps on hardening as time passes, eventually making it more difficult to remove.  

6. How should we apply a gel nail? 

In order to make sure gel nail polishes stay, it is important to prep your nails properly. Remove any oil and water on your nail plate before applying gel polishes using an alcohol swab. If you're using liquid polish, buff your nail plate to remove shine and roughen the surface as well. Although most of the possible damages from gel nail application comes from the removal process, such procedure of intentionally damaging nail surface can leave your nails thinner.  

7. How does gel nail come off? 

Generally you've got two options to remove gel polishes. The most widely used way to do so is with acetone nail remover. Lightly buff the surface of your gel nail with a nail file, and soak the tip of your finger within acetone remover or put cotton balls infused with acetone remover on your nails. Then you wait until gel nails are loosened enough to be removed. Another way to remove is by nail drills. This method is not preferred by everyone, but nonetheless a nail drill is a popular choice among those with sensitive skins. 

8. Does it damage your nail? 

 The most important thing to keep in mind removing gel nails is that you should NOT pick on your nails to remove them, as tearing out gels takes away parts of your natural nails in the process and will eventually make them weaker and thinner. Indeed, possible nail damage is top on the list of why many are so hesitant to get gel nails done. The ohora nail strip is recommended for many reasons, but if your nail is brittle and susceptible to such damages, then we can assure you, ohora is your choice of gel nail. Check out detailed how-to guides on the easy and fail-proof ohora nails here. Not to mention you can easily remove ohora strips by just pushing them off your nail plate with acetone-soaked orange stick, ohora can also be removed with hypoallergenic ohora Easy Peel Remover for sensitive skins as well.  

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9. Should we take a break between gel nails? 

Usually it is recommended to take at least a week long break between months of continued gel nail applications. The span may vary from people to people, but the rule of thumb is that you'll know it when you see it.  

10. How should we take care of our nails after gel nail removal? 

After removing gel polish, use cuticle oil or creams to rehydrate your nail and finger tips. Acetone remover dehydrates your nail tips very much during the removal process, and it helps to apply moisturizing products such as petroleum jelly several times a day, or even better, use nail strengtheners to protect nourishment and protection for damaged nails.  

ohora is for everyone, but when it comes to minimizing damage and keeping your nail healthy, ohora is especially recommended for people with weak or thin nails. For those who could not dare to apply gel manicure on a regular basis because of the aftermath, meet ohora, along with our premium nail care product line-up to protect and beautify your nails. 

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