We've all been there. You spend your hard-earned money on a gel polish manicure, and then it peels. But why does this happen? And how can you prevent it from happening? We'll cover some top tips, some handy hints, and some popular FAQs, so if you want to know the answer to the question, "why does my gel polish peel off so quickly?" keep reading to find out. Be warned that there are various reasons your gel polish could be peeling off prematurely.
Cuticle prep is key
Be cautious of errors during the manicure step that can cause your gel nail polish to peel off earlier than expected. It's essential to ensure that your cuticles are pushed back adequately and sides trimmed correctly, as this will help prevent a ledge from forming, which is one of the main culprits for gel nail polish peeling off prematurely. Consequently, it is crucial to inspect these areas carefully, both when applying at home and applying gel polish in a salon.
Are the nails too moist?
Just like your cuticles, if the nail bed isn't prepped correctly, it can lead to the premature peeling of gel polish. The key factor here is moisture - too much water will cause your nails to expand, and when you apply polish on such moist nails, they may begin chipping or peeling sooner than they should. Many technicians use acetone before applying gel polish to prevent this. Additionally, adding primer before polishing is suggested as this ensures better adherence of the gel polish onto the nail surface.
Time for a new curing lamp?
The curing process of your nails directly impacts how long the polish will stay in place. If you're using an old lamp with damaged bulbs, be sure to adjust your timing accordingly - if the light is not strong enough for colour penetration, then only the top layer may have been cured, and lower layers are left untreated.
Stop biting...and picking
Unless you are a habitual peeler of gel nail polish, feel free to skip this part. But if you find yourself peeling gel polish every once in a while, pay close attention. When it comes time for your next gel manicure at the salon, and you've peeled off your previous coat of gel nails, there may be problems.
Removing your gel nail polish at home can be hazardous to the health of your nails, as you may take off essential layers and leave them brittle in the process. If applied onto an unhealthy nail surface, it will almost certainly produce a less-than-satisfactory outcome with that particular manicure. Not all is lost, though - if this sounds like something you would often do, then opting for soak-off gel extensions might be what you need! Gel nail polishes are not harmful on their own - when you constantly pick or peel at them, problems tend to arise.
Fix any chips - fast
Accidentally chip your nail during a workday? Forget about leaving for the salon - how many of us would have the time to do that? Keep a trusty nail file and topcoat at the ready, whether in your handbag or the car. As soon as you get a free moment, quickly file away the damage and seal it with your topcoat - this should help keep any gel polish from peeling off and the problem worsening.
Have you applied too much gel polish?
A gel manicure should have thin and delicate layers, as when applied too thickly, the polish won't cure correctly. This will then cause your nail varnish to flake away much quicker than it should. So, if you want those glossy nails for days without chipping or peeling - proceed with restraint! Don't overdo the gel nail polish; head gently by layering lightly until desired coverage is achieved.
While it appears you're saving time by layering on the paint thickly, this approach is counter-productive. Not only does a thicker layer take longer to dry, but if you keep adding additional coats of paint before allowing previous layers enough drying time, the process could become a never-ending cycle that will ultimately waste more of your precious hours than had you used thinner layers in the first place.
Was the lamp set up correctly?
Do not put your fingers into the lamp. Instead, keep your digits broad and even in the centre directly beneath the lamp, and this will illuminate the fingers perfectly and make the process of applying gel nail polish much simpler.
Correctly filed nails are key
Filing plays an essential role when applying gel polish - it prevents peeling and lifting. To ensure a strong bond between your nail plate and the product, you should start by thoroughly removing any oils or dead cuticle tissue on the nails' surface. Additionally, roughening the nail plate's exterior will help create stronger adhesion with your chosen gel polish.
You didn't use a base coat
This is a cardinal sin when it comes to gel polish. A base coat helps create a bond between the nail and your chosen colour while protecting your nails from staining and yellowing. Not to mention, a gel base coat also adds an extra layer of shine - what's not to love?
You didn't use a topcoat
A topcoat is a must-have for any manicure, especially when it comes to gel nails. Sealing in your chosen colour with a topcoat helps to protect your nails, keep them looking glossy, and provide additional protection against chipping. A good tip is to always use a topcoat and base coat from the same brand, as this will ensure maximum compatibility and adhesion.
You used cheap products
Buy cheap, pay twice is the old adage. This is especially true when it comes to gel polish. Like any skincare or cosmetic product, the key is in the ingredients. Generally speaking, if you opt for a low-cost gel polish, you're likely to get one with a lower quality. These products are relatively thin and can quickly start chipping after only a few days.
Make sure to use cuticle oil
For healthy and flourishing nails, cuticle oil is essential. Remember only to apply it after the gel polish has completely dried, as otherwise, its oils can result in early lifting.
Are your nails exposed to too much hot water?
Hot water can affect the lifespan of any manicure, even gel nails. Whenever you are cleaning or washing your hands, try to use lukewarm water instead of hot to preserve the longevity of your nails. This can help avoid any unexpected chipping or peeling.
So there you go. Here are some reasons why your gel nail polish could be peeling off sooner than you think. Now to help you further, here are some other common questions we get asked about gel polish and early peeling!
Why does the top layer peel off and not the bottom?
To ensure your gel top coat remains firmly in place, it must be cured properly and applied over gel nails that have not been wiped down with acetone. Gel nail polish sticks to the next layer due to its sticky surface, so without removing this tacky coating first, the following layers of nail varnish won't adhere and will inevitably peel off.
How can I eliminate the tacky layer on my gel nail manicure?
If your gel manicure isn't making it past the first few days, improper removal of the "tacky" layer after curing could be why. To remove the inhibition layer, use a specialised cleanser designed for this purpose. Whilst acetone can also be employed, it may dull the finish of your manicure. Excessive use of acetone can further compromise the integrity of the product, leading to chipping and lifting. With these tips in mind, you can kiss short-lived gels goodbye!
By following these simple tips, you can have beautiful and long-lasting gel polish that will leave your nails looking polished for weeks. If you want more tips and tricks, why not check out some of our gel nail courses? We cater for advanced and novice nail technicians, so there will be a course to suit all levels of ability.