Beauty Vocab

Nailed: Salon Visits

–          Pre-polish 

Gel polishes are notoriously known for causing brittle nails. That said, all! polishes are severely dehydrating to nail beds. As such, hydration should be on top of your list for maintaining healthy nails especially if you are nail polish addict.

You can use vitamin E and natural oils to help with nail hydration and nourishment. I like to apply coconut oil to my skin (including cuticle) before going to sleep. Vitamin E is a great nail hydration remedy that you can soak your nails in the night before a gel manicure or after removal. This will help to protect your natural nails from damage as well as speed up recovery time post lacquer.

There are also some pre-gel treatments that claim to shield the nail against the chemicals in the gel polish so that the gel will never actually touch the nail. However, those treatments soak into your nail once UV – light activated. I am all about protection but I do not see how additional exposure to UV- light would be beneficial for the nail and skin. Also, anything that needs to be UV – light activated sound like a very “chemically” saturated product in itself. As such, I am personally off the pre-gel treatments the way I know them now.


–          To drill or not to drill?

Drills are fast – action heroes for the nail technicians as they are able to shave any mistakes and time off the service provided. However, client’s experience does not have to be at the mercy of nail tech’s objective to move people faster in –and – out of the spot. As such, do not let your nail tech drill their way into faster service time!!!

Nail professionals say that drills are to be used on acrylic surface only! Never let nail tech drill your natural nail as it damages the nail without any reason and justification. Most people I know use Shellac as their manicure gel of choice and drill is absolutely unnecessary during manicure application or removal process.


–      UV – light cure and protection

Gel will not cure without the UV light to activate the molecules in the product. As such, it is best to know your options for curing the gel polish:


UV Lamp

LED Lamp

Cure time Double the time of LED


UV lamps emit broad UV wavelengths which is why it takes longer to cure


Fast cure time


LED lamps emit narrow UV wavelengths which aids in faster cure time

Polish brands Cure all gel polish brands Cure only LED specific gel polish brands
Safety Majority of UV lamps emit UVA rays which actually penetrate the skin deeper than UVB rays; contribute to collagen breakdown and formation of wrinkles and pigmentation Less UV exposure
Cost Less expensive More expensive


The safety of the lamps is doubted by many health professionals primarily due to absence of manufacturing standards and requirements. The strength and time required for curing the gel seems to be all over the place which complicates the research of the matter.

While health and beauty pros are busy debating the safety of UV exposure during the manicure sessions, I think it would be reasonable to abstain from actively ageing (photo-ageing) our hands in the process of nail beautification.

If you want to exercise caution, you have two available options:



UV / LED Protection Gloves

How does it work? Apply waterproof, wide spectrum sunscreen on your hands and arms 20 minutes before starting the gel session


Wear fingerless gloves
Pros –          Easily accessible , especially if you have your SPF routine mastered


–          No delays in time compared to sunscreen
Cons –          Do you have 20 minutes to wait for sunscreen to soak into your skin if your appointment includes manicure and gel color?

–          How do you know that sunscreen will give you enough protection if you do not know the strength of the machine?

–          You need 2 separate sets: one for manicure and one for pedicure

–          UV protection washes off

–          How do you know that the gloves will in fact give you enough protection if you do not know the strength of the machine?

Suggested brands   YouVeeShield Anti UV gloves – one time wear gloves fitting hands and feet (99% UV protection; UPF 50+)

OC Nail UV Shield gloves – multiple wear gloves (98% UV protection; UPF 50+)



–          Personal vs Public manicure tools

I admit that I am a bit of a germophobe who would most certainly prefer tools to be personal rather than public. Let’s just say that if I am ready to wear UV protection gloves I should not hold back on bringing personal tools either.


Thanks for reading,

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