July 25, 2012 by Gina
A few weeks ago (three weeks ago, to be exact), I treated myself to a well-deserved manicure and pedicure. My friend had given me a gift certificate to a local salon last August for my birthday and I hadn’t used it yet (yes, almost a year later). I haven’t had a manicure or pedicure since Carin went on a tropical vacation in this last winter when all of us girls decided to get pampered before she left. I love getting manicures and pedicures but rarely take the time to do so, especially now that I have children. When I was working full-time and didn’t have kids, I would get a manicure at least monthly.
Since I don’t get manicures or pedicures very often, I have been curious about the new gel nail polish. I didn’t have any friends or acquaintances who have tried it yet so after talking with the nail technician, I decided to give it a try on my manicure. I talked it over with the nail technician because I had a few concerns about the removal and if it would damage my nails. I have really nice natural nails and didn’t want to ruin them for a few weeks of “pretty”. I also was concerned about the chemicals in the gel polish since it lasts so long.
Because of these concerns I did a bit of research before having the gel nail polish done. There are concerns about the UV light that is used to harden the polish after each step of the application process but it also seems that the light is weaker than that in tanning beds and if you’re only getting a manicure with gel on occasion, the exposure is limited. There are studies published that show the nail and nail bed can be weakened when the polish is removed. The nail has to be soaked in acetone which can be damaging to the nail and drying. Some brands of polish may contain the three most harmful chemicals: dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene and formaldehyde have been associated with cancer, birth defects, asthma and other negative health effects upon prolonged exposure. Reputable brands, including OPI, have eliminated this “toxic trio” many years ago and this includes the gel polish line. For more information, check out the following posts in the Huffington Post and the Eco Wren. Another great source for rating the safety of beauty products is the Environmental Working Group which rates OPI’s polishes as a “4” which means it is a moderate hazard.
So, after all of this, I went for it! I just couldn’t resist the thought of having painted, non-chipped nails for a minimum of two weeks. The manicure itself was similar to a traditional manicure but after each coat of polish, your hands spend a few minutes under the UV light to harden the polish. After the final coat is done and set under the light, you can reach into your purse and rummage around for your keys or credit card and not worry at all about your polish being smudged. I wash my hands ALOT just as any mother does and I did all kinds of things without a chip or wear and tear on my nails! I chose a red polish since that always seems to be the worst for chipping and showing wear in a traditional polish. The only negative is that after three weeks, you can definitely see where the nail has grown out.
I have yet to have the polish removed, so I can’t comment on that aspect of the gel polish. I’ll be doing that later this week or next week when I have a minute. Bottom line, I’ll definitely do the gel nail polish again the next time I have a manicure. If I was getting a manicure every two weeks or once a month, I probably wouldn’t do it that often but since I only have a manicure 3-6 times a year, I’ll likely opt for gel over traditional polish.