How To Make Gel X Nails Last Longer
Gel X nails have exploded in popularity in recent years as a durable and versatile nail enhancement option. The technology uses a specialized gel formula to adhere thin extensions or overlays seamlessly onto your natural nail for a glossy, chip-resistant manicure that can last over three weeks. However, many beginners find themselves disappointed when their gel X starts lifting or breaking down faster than expected.
Do not worry! With the right prep and aftercare, you can get the most wear time possible out of your gel X sets. Read on for top professional tips to make your gel X nails last longer.
Start With Proper Nail Prep
Extending the life of a gel X manicure starts before you even sit down with the polish—it begins with comprehensive nail prep. Skipping steps can compromise adhesion and longevity down the road through lifting, cracking, and hollowing. You want to ensure the nail surface is perfectly clean and graffiti-free.
Shape and File
First, examine each nail and use a file to shape them into uniform lengths and your desired silhouette whether square, round, squoval, coffin or another request. Check sides and free edges are balanced without jagged corners or catches. Smooth and seal the nails using a buffer block afterward.
Push Back Cuticles
Then use a cuticle pusher to gently press back and reveal the full nail plate, being careful not to tear the delicate skin or draw blood. For overgrown or attached cuticles, have your technician safely nip them back with sterile nippers instead of cutting on your own to prevent infection. Trim any hangnails as well.
Dehydrate and Etch
Wipe nails with a nail prep dehydrator or alcohol to eliminate surface oils and residue. Apply pH bonder or nail primer next—this etches fine scratches into the nail layers that gel X can grip as an adhesion assist. Rinse each product on fully for 5-10 seconds per nail and allow them to air dry before gel X application.
Taking time on the prep stages guarantees you get over three weeks of flawless wear!
Apply Thin, Even Layers of Gel X
When layering products on the nails, many people feel inclined to glob on thick coats and loads of polish to try to fortify and protect. However, gel X actually cures best and lasts the longest when applied in multiple sheer passes. Heaping it on unevenly can inhibit light curing and create weak points prone to damage. Be patient and let each slim gel layer set up under the LED properly before adding more.
Primer and Base Gel
Start with a bonding base coat made for gel polish. Apply two slim passes to seal the nail and enhance the gription. Cure each layer for 30 seconds under LED light. Avoid wiping the sticky inhibition layer so subsequent coats will fuse correctly.
Whether using gel X polish or builder gel for extensions, maintain thin even coats. Do 2-3 layers of your chosen shade, stroking from cuticle to tip and capping the free edge on every swipe to prevent splits. Remember to cure between each pass, keeping hands still to prevent smearing.
Seal With Top Coat
Finish off your nails by applying 1-2 layers of gel X top coat to shield from scratches and yellowing. Cap tips again and cure after each pass. Slick down the surface with nail cleanser to remove any inhibition layer shininess. Voila! Perfectly glossy, durable gel X nails.
Care For Your Gel X Manicure
Once your gel X set is completed, caring for it properly is vital for longevity. While gel X is hardier than regular or shellac polish, it still requires some maintenance to prevent breakdown. Be mindful of these factors for the best wear:
Limit Water Exposure
Frequent water exposure is the number one enemy of gel manicures, leading to blooming, cracking, and lift-off. Try your best to avoid prolonged dishwashing, swimming, showers, etc for the first 24 hours while it finishes hardening. Use cotton gloves for housework even after that, and limit direct water contact as much as possible.
Apply Cuticle Oil Daily
Keep the skin and nails hydrated by massaging in cuticle oil 1-2 times per day concentrating on sidewalls and undersides. The added moisture prevents shrinking and lifting by keeping the nail flexible against the enhancement adhesion.
Avoid Picking and Peeling
It can be tempting to peel up or pick at lifting gel X near your nail line or sides. Resist urge! This places extra stress on the bond and can remove attached layers prematurely. Leave removal fully to your manicurist.
Get Consistent Fills
About every 2-3 weeks, growth and wear will cause your gel X set to lift gradually at the cuticles or sides. Instead of drilling everything off to restart damagingly, book maintenance fills to refresh your manicure. The tech will lightly buff away lifting, trim your cuticles, reshape the nail's edges if desired, and reapply color—all without sacrificing much length or nail health. This shoulders more wear time from each set application.
Protect Free Edge
Pay special attention to protecting your tips and free edges when caring for gel X nails to prevent cracks and breaks leading to costly repairs. Reinforce them by always capping the ends when applying gel X layers. Consider gel X or dip powder overlays on natural nails prone to splits. Avoid using nails as tools and treat hands gently.
Repair Minor Gel X Lifting or Cracks
Despite your best efforts, sometimes minor cracking or lifting still strikes gel X nails. Before removing entirely, try these repair techniques:
- For tiny cracks, gently file away any lifted edges to create a clean break point. Use gel X binder and activator solution to re-adhere the section, then cure under LED light. Buff gently to smooth ridges.
- If you notice bubbling or a raised area, avoid touching it further. Use a pointed cuticle pusher to press the area flat, allow gel X to re-adhere for 30 seconds, and wipe away excess. Cure under the light to seal bonds. The heat and moisture from your finger will likely have expanded the lifted section already—so leave it alone as much as possible to allow self-repair and avoid spreading damage.
- For early lifting at sidewalls, have your manicurist safely scrape away the lifted portion using a hygienic spatula tool Do not pick this yourself or you may rip off healthy enhancement! Apply new gel X beads to the exposed nail and blend into the surrounding product before curing to re-bond.
Knowing how to temporarily patch minor issues can buy you a couple more days before a full removal and replacement is needed. But do not wait too long between fills, or the lifting can worsen leading to injury or infection risk.
Remove Gel X Properly
When it does come time for full gel X removal after several weeks of fills, be sure to have them safely taken off by a licensed professional—not picking them off yourself. Proper gel X removal techniques include:
- Buffing off top layers gently using low-grit file
- Soaking cotton pads in pure acetone and wrapping nails for 10-15 minutes to dissolve the remaining product
- Gently scrape away any last bits of gel using a cuticle pusher or manicure tool (no metal pick!)
- Use a nail drill ONLY on the lowest forward-reverse rotation speed to thin the remaining gel layers, not directly on a natural nail
Improper DIY removal can permanently damage the nail layers or skin, so leave it to the experts!
After gel X removal, nourish and moisturize nails with cuticle cream before reapplication. Add nail treatments like biotin or calcium to boost strength if thinning or brittleness occurs over time.
When To Avoid Gel X:
While generally safe for most people when applied properly in ventilated salons, you may need to avoid gel X polish if you have:
- Very thin or peeling natural nails
- Active skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis on hands
- Allergies or sensitivities to methacrylate monomers
- Nerve conditions numbing finger sensations
- Circulation issues in hands and fingers
For those individuals, a soak-off UV gel or regular polish manicure may be safer alternatives to consider.
Must See: Ways to Dry Nail Polish Faster
The TakeawayIt may take some trial and error to find the right gel X application and care regimen that works for your individual nail type and lifestyle. But with diligent prep, gentleness during wear, consistent fills, and proper removal techniques you can achieve a beautiful gel look that lasts over 4 weeks or more! Just be patient, avoid excessive moisture exposure, and resist the temptation to pick for best results. Happy gelling!
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