Gel nails: price, decorated, step by step, before and after

Short or elongated, more fragile or very resistant, with different shapes and, often, gnawed. Nail care, despite being on the rise and maintaining a very busy investment market, is not new.

In fact, it is not just because of the beauty and decoration of the fingertips that nails are inscribed in history, as there are records that in Ancient Egypt they were already related to health and social status.

The association with the good conditions of the organism persisted and gained scientific basis. You have probably heard that those white spots or weak nails are signs of poor diet – it is very likely that you have also investigated your own hand for signs of brittle nails.

Watching the nails can indicate signs of anemia , difficulties in blood circulation and thyroid disorders.

But sometimes, the difficulty in having long or strong nails is more associated with behavior, for example, biting them.

Seeking to mitigate these diverse factors that can weaken or hinder their growth, the technologies keep presenting options to consumers, making it possible for everyone to have long and strong nails.

Gradually, fake options invaded the market and won the hands of the public, becoming more natural, safe, lasting and popular. Among the recent options – and a big bet on the market – are gel nails.


What are gel nails?

The gel nail is an artificial stretching technique, based on substances that harden when exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UV). The procedure allows the nails to be molded in the desired shape and size, being very similar to the natural one.

The procedure takes a little longer than the application of a common nail, but in general it guarantees more durability, in addition to the possibility of leaving them exactly as the client wishes.

There are still two possibilities: working with the direct application of the gel (using only a mold) or with the gluing of tips (kind of false nail). Both are done in a very similar way, in which the preparation, application and maintenance hardly differ.

When scheduling an appointment, it takes about 2 hours to complete the placement. But, in compensation, the technique can last up to 3 months, being necessary to carry out monthly maintenance, since the natural nail continues to grow.

According to the nail professional Francinne Leitner, with the proper care “no artificial material or technique is so resistant to last 90 days intact”.

The procedure is, in general, safe and does not cause damage to the nails, as long as proper care is taken, such as choosing good professionals and good application products.

Origin of nail lengthening

It may not sound so strange to say that the habit of decorating and painting nails is old, but the truth is that the resources to lengthen them are not new either.

In China, hundreds of years ago, women already resorted to artificial stretching as a way of highlighting and demarcating the class and social status to which they belonged.

Previously, resources for this included the use of bone fragments, ivory, pistachio shells and even shells to decorate your fingertips.

It was in 1954 that the nail extension was closer to what it is today. At the time, Fred Slack, a dentist, broke one of his nails while working. Using dental products, he created a kind of acrylic filling for the nail, until it grew again.

The idea was refined and, in a short time, patented, originating Patti Nails, one of the largest cosmetic companies focused on nail care.

In the 1970s, the founder of one of the leading brands in the industry, Stuart Nordstrom, developed a professional system of liquid and powder products, which are used in the manufacture and application of acrylic nails today.

And the market continues to expand. Especially the stretching done with gel, which was already successful in North America in 2014, still promises to move around 59.31 million dollars worldwide by 2020.

This is due to advances in aesthetic technologies for nails, which make stretching more durable, resistant, natural and increasingly safe to health.

Types of stretching

Although the process of preparation and application of the gel is quite similar in the stretches with tips and with mold, there are some differences between the two cases.

There are professionals who work with both methods, but there are those who specialize in applying only one of them. Therefore, before making an appointment, you need to know a little more about each:

Gel nails with tips

Tips are nothing more than a kind of false nail, which, instead of being glued across the nail, are adhered only to the tip, this being the base of the gel.

When the professional works with tips, it is not necessary to use molds or remove them after drying the gel.

Although it seems that the gel has more resistance with the false base, the firmness of the elongation does not show major changes, and the method is not always recommended for very fragile nails, due to the possibility of breaking in the place where the glue is adhered.

Gel nails with mold

Molds are flexible structures, usually adhesive and, as the name suggests, easy to mold. They can be reused, as long as they are properly sanitized and stored.

After the nail is prepared, the molds are placed at your fingertips and must be adjusted according to the desired size and structure. The skill of the professional is essential, who will be responsible for shaping the nails.

After the gel is applied – about 3 layers – and dried in ultraviolet light, the mold is detached from the nails, making the stretch generally more transparent (depending on the product used).

Therefore, for those who want to leave their nails without enamel or decoration, the stretch with mold can be closer to natural ones.

How to make? Step by step gel nails

It doesn’t matter if you bite your nails or not, if they are fragile or just short. The procedure for stretching with gel is standard and, although somewhat time consuming – compared to the time to make a francesinha, for example -, it is quite simple.

The first and most important step is to seek qualified professionals for the procedure. Although simple, without the necessary care, nails can be damaged and suffer from fungi or mycoses.

Therefore, in addition to the manicure skills, it is necessary to be sure about the hygiene of the materials and the origin of the products.


The preparation is the same when you make only one nail polish, in which the cuticles must be pushed and the surface of the nails must be cleaned. If there is enamel, it must be removed and then cut and / or sanded.

Products can be used to remove oil from the nails and increase the adhesion of the gel, called a primer. The product works as a preparer, reducing problems of fixing the material and should be applied with dry and clean nails.


Remember that there are two ways to apply the gel, with tips or with molds. Here’s how to apply each one:

With tips

If the option is for tips, it is necessary to separate one for each nail.

In general, the cases come with numbered nails for each finger, which facilitates identification. But it is always important to see if the size is suitable for your nail shape.

Unlike the common application of a false nail – which is glued to the entire surface of the nail -, the tips should be fixed only by the tips. You will notice that their ends are clearer, demarcating the place where the nail glue should be deposited.

Then, the glue is fixed on the edge of the nail, taking care with the amount so that it does not run or come into contact with the skin.

Nail tips come in much longer sizes than a natural nail, so they need to be cut and leveled. With special scissors and the use of sandpaper (preferably banana sandpaper ), the nails will be reduced, shaped and corrected.

It is important to take care with the leveling, as soon as the difference in the transition from the false nail to the natural nail is usually quite evident.

The sides should be sanded and adapted to the natural and desired shape of the nail.

The gel should be applied with the help of a small brush with a straight base, along the entire length of the nail, from the cuticle to the tip of the tips.

It is important to be careful in the application, to ensure uniformity after drying. The process is done a few times, as needed, always alternating: a layer is applied and then the hand is placed in the UV-ray booth to dry and harden the gel.

With mold

The main difference for using tips is that the application of the gel will extend to the desired size of the nail. It is necessary to pay attention to the format and finishing, avoiding irregularities between each nail.

The gel should be applied with a small brush with a straight base. After each coat, the nails are taken to the UV-ray booth to dry and repeat the procedure as needed.

When the nails are adequate – usually 3 layers are required – the mold must be discarded, carefully removing it from the base of the nails.

It is necessary to sand and correct possible irregularities on the surface, using banana and leveling sandpaper.


After sanding and leaving the nails in the desired shape, it is necessary to clean them with saline or specific liquids, removing dirt, nail remnants or the dust generated during the sanding.

It is important to dry well, with a clean towel the entire surface of the nails. Then, to finish the procedure, there are products that seal the stretch and give more protection to the nails.

Generally, they are products similar to enamels or gels, they have no color and give the surface more shine, also found as finished gel, finishing enamel or shine gel.


Even if the lengthening of the nails with gel lasts approximately 3 months, it is not enough to do it and wait for the period to end. It is necessary to carry out the so-called maintenance of the gel at least every 20 or 30 days .

As natural nails grow, as time goes by, it is possible to identify the separation of the gel. The way of taking care of stretching is very similar to the application, but faster and cheaper.

It is necessary to carefully push and care for the cuticles, removing those small pieces of skin that may appear.

The marking between the gel nail and the natural nail should be sanded in order to level the surface. Then, it is important to clean the area well with saline and dry it properly.

The primer should be applied only on the natural nail, waiting to dry completely. After that, the application of the gel should be carried out with a brush, leveling the surface of the nail. Therefore, it is only in the space that has grown that the gel will be deposited.

Hands must go to the UV booth for the layers to dry and harden. Then, the finalization occurs with a layer of gloss gel or sealant enamel.

Care after putting

After the stretch is finished, the care includes those indicated for any long nail:

  • Be careful when picking up something so you don’t hit and hurt your nails;
  • Wear gloves when handling cleaning products;
  • Intensify the hydration of the cuticles.

The professional Francinne Leitner also recommends some specific precautions with handling or contact with hot things, as they can cause the gel to detach.

In addition to taking care of maintenance, when changing enamel, it is important to avoid acetone, as it damages the surface, leaving the gel rough and dull. Give preference to enamel removers without the presence of the substance.

In general, gel nails are very resistant and do not require much specific care.

Before and after

Check the result after the gel stretching:

Decorated gel nails

After stretching the nails, it is possible to paint and decorate them normally, using common products. For this, the rule is the same: choose good products and good professionals, ensuring that the stretching durability is maintained.

Check out some ideas for nail polish, including some work by professional Francinne Leitner:

Gel bath and gel nails

Both the gel bath and the gel nails use very similar techniques and products in the procedure, but the bath is just to make the nail stronger and make the enamel last longer, while the gel nails lengthen them.

In general, the gel bath will make the nail more resistant, with more shine and provide that the enamel – which usually starts to peel in 3 or 4 days – is intact for up to 14. But there is no stretching and the nails remain the size and natural shape.

Care is the same and the procedure must be performed by professionals.

How to remove gel nails?

If, on the one hand, the greater resistance of gel nails is an advantage for those who want to keep them for longer, on the other hand, it can be more work when it is time to remove them.

Even if maintenance is done once a month, it is important not to exceed 3 months with the gel applied to avoid damaging or weakening the nails.

When taking the stretch, the ideal is to return to the salon where the procedure was performed, as some care is needed to not hurt the natural nail.

In general, it is necessary to sand the most superficial layer of the nail, causing a wear and thinning of the layer, leaving it more porous and facilitating the action of the removal products.

As the process is laborious, electric sandpapers (also called drills) are used, which facilitate and speed up the action.

Then, the fingertips can be immersed in a container with specific products for removing the gel or be wrapped with soaked cotton.

Thus, the product is left in contact with the nails for a few minutes, until the stretch can be removed with the aid of a toothpick or spatula.

To finish, it is necessary to use a polisher (ordinary or electric sandpaper) to uniform the nails, removing remnants of gel that may have resisted on the nails, and apply a strengthening base or extra shine.

Price: how much does the gel nail cost?

The elongation values ​​vary according to the professional and the materials used. According to Francinne Leitner, the mold technique is usually more expensive because it takes more work, being between R $ 100 and R $ 200, while the tips are between R $ 80 and R $ 150, on average.

But it is worth remembering that after placing the gel, it is necessary to maintain maintenance between 25 and 30 days, with each one averaging R $ 80.

Bathing or gel enameling alone costs approximately R $ 55.

Who can put it?

In general, there is no contraindication to women as long as their nails are healthy. According to professional Francinne Leitner, the gel and gel bath techniques can be performed on anyone with healthy nails (there can be no fungi, mycosis in the cuticles or infections in the place, for example).

The caveat is for those nails that are very gnawed and weakened, as the material adheres to the surface and, in contact with the skin, can cause problems to varying degrees.

There are also no contraindications for weak or brittle nails, remembering that they will not get stronger, but the procedure can help in growth and prevent them from being bitten again.

But it is worth mentioning that there are situations that the procedure is not always advantageous: those who use some medications, such as antidepressants or hormone-based, may have the nail surface affected by some active principles, causing the gel fixation to be compromised .

This means that it can come off more easily and quickly. It is also worth thinking about the cost benefit, because if the goal is to stretch the nails for a special occasion – such as an event – and then remove them, the gel may not be the best option, once its duration is longer.

Are gel nails bad for your health?

In general, the gel is less aggressive than other techniques, such as the false nail. If proper care is taken, choosing good professionals, cleaning the material well and performing the maintenance correctly, the natural nail is not changed with the placement of the gel – it does not become more fragile or stronger.

However, even if the risks are small, they still exist and include the proliferation of fungi and bacteria, which can cause mycoses in the nails, leaving them fragile and yellow.

When the removal in the correct time is not done or maintenance is left aside, the nail layer can become thin and weakened, showing a loss of keratin (protein that helps make up the nails, hair and skin).

It is especially at the time of removing the gel that some problems may arise, as the product adheres and resists on the surface of the nails, requiring careful sanding to remove completely. Without good practice, the cuticles can be injured or the nail itself may suffer from grooves.

The important thing is to be attentive when choosing the professional, who must be properly qualified, with training in good training centers, according to Francinne Leitner.

It is also important to note the appearance of itching, redness, pain or color changes in the nails or close to the cuticle, which are warning signs.

Common questions

How long does the gel nail last?

On average, gel nails last 3 months, requiring at least 1 maintenance every month.

How long does it take to dry the gel?

After applying each layer, the nails must go to the UV booth for the product to dry and harden. The process is quick and takes about 2 minutes. After finishing the stretch, the nails are already dry and do not run the risk of smudging or marking.

Does the gel strengthen one?

Not exactly. Stretching with gel helps in growth because it protects the surface from bumps, reducing the possibility of nails breaking or chipping.

In addition, the procedure makes it difficult for a person to bite their nails, making it easier to let the natural ones grow.

Doesn’t the use of UV rays in the application process harm the skin?

No . The cabin focuses UV rays on the nails and hardens the gel, but the intensity is very small – even much less than an exposure to natural sunlight. The exposure time is also short and therefore there is no risk to the skin.

Can I do gel nails at home?

There are kits that sell all the products needed for the procedure, including the small UV-ray booth, so that stretching is done at home. On average, the kits cost between R $ 70 and R $ 150.

However, it is important to remember that there are a number of precautions that need to be followed to avoid mycosis or other changes. Professionals and salons are prepared to prevent, deal with and solve any problem.

Can I remove the gel if I no longer want to use it?

You can , as long as the procedure is performed with the professional who placed it. Although it is possible to remove the stretch at home, the risks of nail damage are great. If the procedure is not properly performed, with proper care, natural nails can lose the keratin layer, becoming weak and brittle.

Nail lengthening has become popular and has conquered more and more market, mainly due to the durability and quality of the technique, which presents more satisfactory results.

In addition to tips for healthy nails, you can find other information and news in Hickey solution. Click here for more beauty tips!