As I ditch my dark, vampy lacquers in exchange for the soft pastel polishes, I have just one reservation: pale manicures often start to look dirty, especially when they're gel. A quick Google search revealed that I wasn't alone with this struggle. In fact, many brides complained that their wedding-day digits got dingy after just a few days, which has got to be frustrating if you're expecting your gel lacquer to look fresh all throughout your honeymoon!
To get to the bottom of this, I consulted Gelish master educator Danielle Candido. It turns out that because gel polish is a soak-off product, that means it is porous.
"Because the surface has pores, it can lightly absorb what it is exposed to," she explained. This could include makeup, hair dye, household cleaning item, and skin care formulas that contain alpha hydroxy acids. AHAs are exfoliative and can eat through the lacquer.
"When this happens, the polish can look discolored or dull," said Candido. "This happens on all soakable gel products, however, it's more noticeable on lighter colors." To combat this, she advises using gloves when using cleaning products and washing hands as quickly as possible after putting on makeup or AHA formulas.
If your nails are already stained, it's not too late to get them looking as good as new again. Only the surface of your manicure has been affected, so you can buff away the discoloration. Candido advises using a "high-grit buffer, 220 or higher," to remove the dingy areas of your polish.
Finish by adding a layer of normal top coat [Candido likes Morgan Taylor Make it Last ($9)]. If you continue to apply clear top coat regularly to your gel manicure, it'll stay looking fresh and crisp.