Nails

Test Drive: Soak-Off Gel Manicures

Make chipped polish a thing of the past

Test Drive: Shellac Manicure Test Drive: Shellac Manicure Test Drive: Shellac Manicure

Though my love for nail polish is great, my hatred for chipped colour is greater. The ultimate solution: Head to the salon for a soak-off gel manicure, the biggest game-changer in the world of nails. The promise is a high-shine mani that lasts two to three weeks and is available in a wide range of colours.

For my first gel experience, I visited FLARE contributor and manicure master Leeanne Colley at Tips Nail Bar (tipsnailbar.ca) in Toronto. The process started just like any other manicure, with filing, brushing and clipping. Next came colour selection. With a variety of brands now offering gel manicures, offers abound. I opted for a rich eggplant shade from CND Shellac called Rock Royalty. (Along with Shellac, look for Hand & Nail Harmony Gelish, Entity One Gel, OPI Axxium and, as of this month, OPI GelColor.)

Just as she would for a regular salon manicure, Leeanne applied a base coat, two coats of colour and a top coat – the only difference was that my nails cured under a UV light for 90 seconds between each layer while the other hand was being painted. After the final curing session, my nails were completely finished. No 20-minute drying time; no concern that it might smudge as I put on my coat.

If the idea of sticking to one colour for two weeks sounds boring, you can layer regular polish designs on top (think: half moons, stripes, sparkles, etc.) or even switch up your overall colour for a night. A swipe of a remover-soaked cotton ball will not damage the gel and this, in a sense, is the only catch; the gel adheres so well that you have to return to the salon to remove it with an acetone soak. Considering how great my nails look after a week, I’d say that’s a fair trade.

Read more from FLARE‘s 20 Days of Nails special

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