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Gel Nail Manicure by Emily Gilson

TREATMENT: Gel Manicure

Before I begin, I should own up and admit that I don’t always invest the care I should do when it comes to my hands and nails. Often my nails snap and I get very impatient when letting nail varnish dry. Having only ever had my nails painted and not gelled, I was unsure of what to expect. I was curious as to whether gels would withstand my clumsy tendencies.

In the run up to the big day, I had tried my hardest to avoid snapping or breaking any of my nails which proved to fail terribly - I have my ham-fisted nature to thank for this. Heading into the salon with uneven, weak nails I was fully aware of the challenge my nail technician was about to be faced with…


Alicia, my nail technician sat me down and began to file, informing me that we would be using OPI Gel Colour. I was aware of the brand OPI; but didn’t know they had a gel range available. Despite being presented with 10 different shapes and sizes, Alicia successfully got my nails to resemble a neat and tidy set of ten. While constantly checking what length and shape I was after, I felt in control of the treatment and comfortable enough to ask for her to alter anything.

Once I was happy with the shape and size, my nails were given a quick buff and then Alicia set to work on my cuticles. She gently rubbed in an oil to soften them, then began pushing them back (a weirdly satisfying thing to watch). Our next step was probably my most challenging task, choosing what colour to have.

There was an array of colours to choose from, from subtle pink nudes to brighter and bolder yellows and oranges. After a lengthy deliberation, I went for a bright light-blue colour. The colour itself came out very washy to begin with and required several coats. Beginning with the first-hand, Alicia neatly made her way across each nail before setting them to dry in the lamp.

Alternating between hand and lamp, this process was repeated until the nail was evenly covered with the polish. This took about 4 coats due to the lightness of the colour but would normally be fine after a couple. A final top coat was then applied on each nail and placed under the bulbs to set.

Before finishing, Alicia took a cotton wool pad over each nail to wipe of any excess and then finally rubbed a small amount of lavender oil into my cuticles to prevent them from drying out. Then the most exciting thing happened- I was given a freebie! The lavender oil was gifted to me to take away and look after my cuticles from home.

The gel on my nails felt very different from what I was used to, this time feeling a lot thicker and harder and less likely to chip away. Because of the lamp, my nails were dry instantly and much to my delight, I didn’t have to worry about any smudges. My overall impression of my new blue nails was very good, no more fuss had gone into it than a regular manicure and it dried a lot quicker so no dithering about!

When compared to a regular manicure, I would definitely recommend a gel varnish to people in the future. While people can be put off by the slightly more expensive cost, the varnish will last longer saving you money in the long run. I really enjoyed having my nails done and will definitely get on board the bandwagon!

Pro’s and Con’s for getting a Gel Manicure.


•        Gels do last longer - When done right, gel nails can last as long as three weeks instead of the 7-10 days for regular polish. 

•        Less chipping (hopefully) - Due to the hardening process, gel nails are more likely to bear the brunt of everyday wear and tear.

•        Spend now, save later - While a set of gel nails can cost more, the length they stay on can mean saving money in the long run.

Call: 01284 74 84 70 | Email: [email protected] | SK Clinic + Spa, Victory Chapel, 4 Northgate Street, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1HG