Are Gel Manicures Really Worth It?

Hair & Beauty
Gel Manicures for Brides

Photo: Annie McElwain

The perfect manicure is practically a wedding day essential. But between wedding photos, exchanging rings, and greeting countless guests, you're in constant danger of dinging one of those pretty nails. One way to ensure your bridal mani will remain chip-free? Go for a gel manicure. These new and improved long-wear lacquers are sure to last from the aisle through the honeymoon so your sparkler won't be the only pretty thing on your hand.

Forget what you've heard about gel lacquers.
While first generation gels were gluelike in consistency, newer players, like Essie Gel, are lighter and packed with hydrating ingredients. Plus, the shift to LED lamps to set the polish has also eased the (much-debated) fear that old-school UV lamps could trigger skin cancer.

See More: How to Make Your Wedding-Day Manicure Last (Through the Honeymoon!)

Here's what every get virgin needs to know.
Ladies, take note. A gel mani takes twice as long to apply and will cost at least twice as much as your regular salon visit. Plus, removal is not DIY so what goes on in the salon comes off in the salon. "You'll need to go back in two weeks to soak it off," says Tracylee Percival, nail guru with Sally Hansen. Rush the removal process and you'll likely damage your nails. Get a head start by soaking them in acetone remover for 10 minutes before going to the salon.

Bottom line? They're worth the extra time and money.
Gel lasts for up to two super-shiny weeks, and once it sets, "it's completely dry," says Percival. "No smudging." That's great news for anyone who's ever dinged her freshly painted nails only seconds after stepping out of the salon. Plus, you don't have to worry about fixing chips or reapplying a protective top coat.

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