From the Beauty Closet

The Gel Manicure

11 years ago by

My friend Mariko always has the coolest manicures. From dots to stripes, Givenchy dogs to Stella McCartney resort inspired florals (seen here!). Her nails, quite simply, kick ass.

I’ve spent many minutes browsing her photos on Instagram and fantasizing about a fancy gel manicure for myself…

However, I am a little nervous about gel manicures. I know, I know, how can a self proclaimed nail polish junkie not have tried this yet?? I have a few reasons behind my apprehension…

1. I am a little ADD when it comes to nail polish. I want to paint them again every other day. So committing to a gel manicure makes me a little panicked…

2. With my part-time hand modeling career really taking off, will a gel manicure ruin my nails and my modeling reputation?

3. Will I get addicted to the gel? Once you go gel, you never go back–do people say that? What will happen to my vast nail polish collection and in return, my bank account?

I think it’s time I give it a go. I’m giving it a fashion week test run (especially since its the one time I can’t be at home changing my nail polish). So stay tuned, super cool fancy gel nails coming your way!


Add yours
  • Oh les ongles hyper travaillés c’est ma fashion obsession du moment!;)

  • i have never tried it but it looks cute :)

  • It’s really cute but I’ve never tried it because:
    – it’s bad for your nails
    – just like you, I can’t stay more than two days in row with the same nail polish!!
    I would not do it if I were you… Girls don’t come back from gel because your nails are really damaged and you have to keep putting gel to hide your real nails… But please prove me wrong by rocking that look!

    THE DEEP BLUE CORY Fashion blog
    THE DEEP BLUE CORY Facebook Page
    Cheers! Cory

  • I tried a shellac manicure last month for the first time. I loved how shiny it was and how long it lasted but I absolutely hated what it did to my nails! They felt so weak and brittle afterward. I definitely think I’ll be sticking to basic polish manicures from now on for the sake of my nails!


  • I’ve been using Shellac and other gel product for years
    I love it, it lasts for 2 weeks with no chipping. I highly recommended

  • J’adore, tu devrais essayer, c’est vraiment beau! Et tu peux quand même revenir au vernis de temps en temps!

  • Hi Alex,

    Gel Manicures… nail polish has never lasted so long – exactly two weeks!
    The shine remained and they didn’t even chip but I was really bored with the color by then.
    Everything perfect – except for my nails AFTER. If you have weak nails stay away or do them
    only on occasion. I too love to switch it up several times a week. Right now I’m wearing a very dark
    purplish OPI with OPI “Man with the Golden Gun” (with real 18K gold flecks) top coat. I have Chanel Peridot just on the tips – they look stunning.

    The Girl who would be KING

  • oh, wow.. adore all things Nail Polish.. let us know how they’ve worked out for Fashion Week, curious! xo



  • J’adore, j’adore, j’adore !

  • J ai déjà fait le gel plusieurs fois quand je pars en voyage et que je n ai pas envie d emmener tout mon attirail de manucure mais c est définitivement super mauvais pour l ongle … Ne jamais l enlever sois même sinon ça arrache les couches supérieures de l ongle !!! Même quand on se le fait enlever l ongle est abîme … Résultat il faut au moins deux mois pour remettre ses ongles en état ;-)

  • Bonjour, a few caveats:
    Gel/shellac (depends on the manufacturers what they’re called, but basically the same thing) nails are wonderful for the fact that you leave salon with a strong, shiny coloured nail with no down-time. This is the great and addictive nature of them. I say addictive because after you have them, the idea of living with a regular polish (chipping, accidents, dullness) seems crazy. The down-side is they are expensive to repeat. Each time you go in you must wear the little foil socks and soak off the previous gel, although contrary to popular thought the soaking process (at a reputable salon) is no more damaging to your nails than any other polish remover. People have problems when they pick, scratch and peel their own gel off because they inadvertently remove natural nail layers.
    Soooo, they are great if you’re willing to invest in the time and money for upkeep, but as a one-off, not so sure unless you have them removed in a salon. Personally I looooove them.

  • Cela peut être joli ou mignon quand c’est bien fait – artistique parfois – mais pour moi c’est fait pour les filles de 15 à 25 ans – après cela frise le…vulgaire ! (je vais en choquer certaines, tant pis !) ;-)

  • I really like that colors. white, orange.. I like it. Have a nice day.

  • these manicure are so cool!!! my favourite is the last one!!!

  • You have to go to Sakura Nail Spa (! They do the best calgel – stays for 3 weeks. The artists are really talented and can do anything you ask :)

  • I have over 100 bottles of nail polishes I cannot commit to a color for 1 week +. but I did try the gel once. it doesn’t seem to mess up your nails.


  • Dr. Oz did a segment in his show about how bad gel manicures are for your nails. But they look cute.

  • J’aime beaucoup la dernière photo, la rayure donne un côté frais et berlingot c’est très mignon !

  • This nail art is seriously amazing! xx

  • I’ve had gel nails twice and I loved them until it was time to remove the polish. Then you have to soak them in polish remover for 10 minutes. I wonder about all the toxic remover absorbed in your skin and nails. So, I do my own nails every few days and one product I love is the Seche Vite fast dry top coat that dries your manicure quickly and makes your polish last much longer. However, that nail art is fabulous!

  • Begoña Ratón February, 4 2013, 4:14 / Reply

    …. Uffff, no me gustan nada de nada.

  • Salut Alex! Je suis totalement accro au gel color d’OPI posé par ma manucure toutes les 2-3 semaines (30 euros, soak off + pose)
    J’aime pas trop l’étape “soak off” mais elle fait ça proprement m’enrobant les ongles de petis boudins d’alu imbibés de “dissolvant”…et c’est toujours mieux que de se les arracher soi même :)

  • Ha j’a le même TOC.!

  • haaaaaaaaaaaaan moi aussi je ne peux pas m’empêcher d’être admirative devant de telles oeuvres artistiques, mais je finis toujours pas me dire “naaaaaaaan, pas pour moi!”.

  • I had gel then I stoped my nails wasnt good, but with good care it got better better.. but now I’ve gel again.. why? I find it more comfortable. IDEK

  • I love gel nails! Especially the one with the stripes. Simply gorgeous.

  • did you know that you can paint over a shellac manicure? it only comes off with pure acetone, so nail polish remover won’t make a difference. my nails are much longer and prettier with shellac because it protects them from snags and breaks. if i want a different color, I just paint over the shellac. it’s just like a manicure over a manicure! when i get bored with it, i take off the top layer with regular polish remover, and my shellac paint is still shiny and beautiful. i recommend a light color shellac, like the equivalent of Essie Mademoiselle.

  • I’ve been doing Calgel Manicures at Sakura in NYC. They’re made of a breathable rubber, so your nails don’t get damaged or turn yellow underneath. They last at least 3 weeks on me. I’m absolutely obsessed!

    Also, you can paint over them and no matter what polish you use, they dry in under five minutes. Try it!!

  • ooh~ can’t wait to see your gel nails! I love the designs I see on instagram..really want to try it out for myself but havent found a good place yet~

  • I love your blog. I’ve been following for a good while now. I try to read it in French but I’m rusty :/

    Anyway I can totally relate to #1. I have way too much nail polish and like to change it every seven to ten days but a close friend had the cutest gel manicure and now I want to try it too. Two weeks may be too long for me to commit to a manicure…decisions.

  • Yeah me too, I love the French, but I’m rusty. Garance, bet you didn’t know you’re also an advanced-level French textbook! ;)

  • Been on gel for the last six months and I took it off for good a month ago: my nails are now super thin and so damn sensible, they hurt and won’t grow for at least 10 months.
    Anyway…gel is perfect if you don’t have time to do your nails every week or are just plain lazy!
    If you use gel, you can anyway put on your nail polish, you just have to use a special product to take it off so you won’t damage the gel.
    Good luck!


  • great nailspo!!! I only do gel.. I bought my own little oven and after a few tries it is very easy to do at home. I am def. going to try the nude and black stripes.

  • I’ve had gel manicures a few times but for me, the problem is that my nails grow so fast and leave an unsightly space at the base of the nail, even within 1.5 weeks. If I do 4 coats of nail polish (I usually use Essie) and then finish with Seche Vite, my nails tend to stay in tact for over a week, even with washing dishes/typing/drawing, etc. I prefer this as when I have gels I tend to get them soaked off after 1.5 weeks anyway. The only plus for me is that they ARE super shiny, but you can get close with Seche Vite. (Not sponsored by Seche Vite…ha)

  • les ongles à motifs comme sur ces photos, je trouve ça affreux.

  • Alex, I have been thinking about this too!!! I just recently started painting my fingernails again – but I have a terrible time keeping the polish on (yeah, base, two coats, wipe the tips, Orly won’t chip on top; 15 min between each). Two days after I do it they’re trashed.

    So I’ve been thinking about gel polish – does it work? Will it wreck my nails?? Seems like once couldn’t hurt, but regularly? All you ladies out there with experience, more input please!!!


  • Gel SEEMS like a great idea, and it is until you try to remove it. Once i had my nails soaking in acetone for 10 minutes, and that was pretty much the end of me and gel nails.

  • ugh… my nails looked great and lasted soo long after a gel manicure, but like others said, my nails were so ruined afterward. I still have one nail that keeps breaking and its been over a year. I don’t think they’re good for the nails, and probably not for the body, either.

  • Alex, je veux te faire part de mon expérience.

    J’aime énormément avoir de belles mains, donc de beaux ongles (vernis et tout le tralala). J’ai testé les ongles en gel et honnêtement : c’est le pied.
    Tes ongles sont incassables, forts, beaux tout le temps (excepté pendant la repousse) et tu peux très bien faire une french manucure pour pouvoir changer de vernis à volonté, le matin, le midi et même le soir !
    (et le mythe selon lequel les ongles en gel sont addictifs, c’est totalement VRAI)

    Cependant, lorsque j’ai dû enlever les miens (malheur), mes ongles étaient tout ramolo. Alors si tu veux juste “tester” pour voir ce que ça fait, je ne te conseil qu’à moitié de tenter l’aventure.

    Voilà :) Tiens nous au courant de la suite de tes pérégrinations !

  • ooh, i recently got a home gel manicure kit and i now have perfect french manicures at all times! i replace about 1 nail per day, so they last about 10 days at a time. tips:
    1) only put the prep around the periphery of the nail. this keeps the edges sealed but allows the nail to peel off easily in the middle when removed.
    2) don’t touch any cuticle or nail edge with the polish- leave a tiny space so the polish won’t lift when it grows out
    3) to remove, soak cotton in acetone, wrap it in foil and soak in hot water for 5 min, then scrape it off with an orange stick
    4) for the white tips, i find red carpet manicure makes a better (more opaque) polish than opi and sensationail tips chip off within a day or 2


  • Love these. Has anyone ever tried jamberry nails? Best thing ever! So many colors and styles and so easy to put on!

    Check them out here:
    Email for a free sample or to host a facebook party! Rewards are incredible!

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