Difference Between Natural Manicure & Gel Polish Manicure

Natural polish versus gel polish? Know the difference before you go to the salon.
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Natural manicures and gel polish manicures are salon services. A manicurist cuts and files your nails, pushes back or clips your cuticles, and exfoliates and massages your hands before applying coats of nail polish. Gel manicures and natural manicures have distinct differences, which should be taken into consideration when you decide the best option for you.

1 Natural Manicure

A natural manicure is one of the most basic types of salon nail services. The manicurist applies a clear base coat, allows it to dry, then applies two to three coats of polish. Once the color dries, a clear top coat is applied. Then you place your nails under a hand dryer for approximately 15 minutes. Your manicure may last up to a week, depending on how rigorously you use your hands. Nail polish can be removed using a cotton ball and nail polish remover.

2 Gel Manicure

Gel manicures use a special gel polish containing polymers, which harden (or cure) under a UV light. A manicurist applies a gel base coat, then nails are placed under the UV lamp to dry for 30 to 60 seconds. The manicurist then applies the gel color polish, after which the UV lamp is again utilized. Lastly, a gel top coat is applied, and the nails are again dried under the UV lamp. Gel nails require no additional drying time and last, on average, up to two weeks without chipping. The safest way to remove gel manicures is at the salon.

Laura Gianino works at a publishing company in New York City. Her writing has appeared on eHow, LIVESTRONG, Synonym and Global Post.