What Are the Benefits of Gel-X?
One of the main reasons people choose Gel-X is for their natural look, and the durability. They're much thinner than an acrylic nail, and can be shaped to contour to your specific nail shape. Plus, they're much more gentle on your natural nails because it uses nonacid based products.
"All of the gel products are made of soft gel, so Gel-X sets can be easily soaked off," said Tokyo. "And for a nail artist, Gel-X saves us a lot of time — all the hard work of extensions is already done for me." Depending on the complexity of the nail art you're getting, you can be out of your Gel-X nail appointment in under an hour.
Why Would You Choose Gel-X Over Acrylics?
While both gel extensions and acrylics can be used to create a similar effect, there are a few key differences. The most important is the application process. With an acrylic application, the nail artist has to mix a liquid called a monomer and a powder polymer to actually mold the top layer of the nail. There's a strong chemical odor and lot of dust that comes with the process, plus some imperfections that come with manually molding the nail. "Gel-X has no strong monomer smell and can be applied quickly and with very little mess," said Tokyo, and the Gel-X overlays are already shaped.
Acrylic nails are also much thicker and harder than gel extensions, which makes them less comfortable to wear. Plus, the removal process is much more labor-intensive with acrylics, and can be damaging to the natural nail since they need to be buffed off, which weakens the nail underneath.
How Are Gel Nail Extensions Applied?
First, the nail technician will do the prep-work of any manicure — filing, cleaning, and buffing. Tokyo then matches the Gel-X forms to each nail, and pre-files them so that they're perfectly fitted to your nail shape. Your natural nail will then get a layer of pH bonder (to dry the nail) and a layer of nonacidic primer to make your nails sticky. Then the natural nail gets a layer of clear gel polish, which cures under the LED lamp for 30 seconds.
Next up is the application of the actual Gel-X nail form. Tokyo scrubs the underside of the Gel-X tip for better adhesion, then adds a drop of the gel and presses the tip onto the nail at a 45-degree angle. She'll then flash-cure each nail under the lamp for 15 seconds. Once the whole hand is complete, you'll fully cure under the LED for 30 seconds. Now it's time for the fun part — polish.