9 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Using Gel Polish

March 28, 2024
Natalie Thorburn



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Are you tired of dealing with gel polish manicures that chip off and peel?

Perfection and longevity of gel polish results involve more than just adding a few coats. However, people often commit typical errors that crucially influence the lifespan and beauty of the manicure when they use gel polish.

What are these mistakes, and how can you avoid them to ensure an ideal gel polish manicure?

Whether you're just starting or an old hand at manicure, you must be aware of these common mistakes to get professional-looking nails at home.

In this article, we will dive into nine of the most frequent gel polish blunders, where we provide you with insider tips to produce a flawless and enduring manicure you'll be proud of.

1. Skipping the Base Coat


The base coat is of utmost importance in this process, as it works as a fundamental base for the whole procedure. This clear layer acts not only as a sticking agent for your gel polish but also as a protective layer for your natural nails from possible staining.

Failing to put on the base coat may result to various problems, among others, the reduced adhesion, which can cause the gel polish to come off before its expected time. For this reason, it is critical to start your manicure with a thinned and evenly distributed layer of base coat as it will protect your nails from any future problems.

This very step would be the start of the right way to secure your gel polish with a lasting, smooth application.

2. Applying Thick Layers


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Although the desire to slap on thick coats of gel polish nowadays for quick, full coverage is high, it is crucial to hold back from this temptation. Thick layers are also associated with several problems such as wrinkling, non-uniform curing, and earlier chipping of polish.

To stay away from such problems, just use thin but uniform amounts of gel polish. When applying polish, you should apply gentle layers that will make the manicure look better, and improve its durability. This particular technique ensures that each layer cures evenly, resulting in a smoother finish.

3. Over-Curing or Under-Curing


The quality of gel polish hinges on the right method of curing. The excess curing (exposing the gel polish to UV or LED light for more than enough time) may result in the nail becoming brittle and yellowed and the gel layer peeling off.

On the other note, under-curing, or not exposing gel polish to the light long enough, results in soft and sticky layers that are likely to chip and peel soon. Do follow the recommended exposure time as prescribed by the manufacturer and your nails will definitely absorb the UV rays for maximum effect.

4. Neglecting the Cuticles


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First of all, proper nail bed preparation is quite essential for a perfect gel polish manicure. Failing to push or lift the excess cuticle could lead to inadequate bonding and the gel polish lifting earlier than expected.

When applying gel polish, it's very important to soften the cuticles with a cuticle pusher or an orange stick. Furthermore, the use of a cuticle remover and trimmer to help remove any excess cuticles is vital.

By following these steps, you'll get a perfect application of gel polish, so there will be no lifting in the cuticle area.

5. Skipping the Top Coat


The top coat is just like the base coat and is another important player in sealing the gel polish, giving it the glossy finish it needs to stay longer. The absence of the top coat makes nails look less shiny, and their durability is also minimized.

Last but not least, seal your gel nail with a thin topcoat. Moreover, layer the free edge of the nail to add to the lock that will form a barrier against the nail chipping and peeling off.

6. Not Properly Prepping the Nail Surface


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The key to a successful gel polish manicure lies precisely in the execution of proper nail preparation. If no proper cleansing and drying is done on the nail surface, it will result in low adherence and peeling of the gel polish.

Before applying nail gel, you must use a lint-free wipe soaked in rubbing alcohol or nail cleanser to carefully clean the nail surface and remove any oils or residues.

This process is characterized by a rigorous procedure, and this guarantees the making of a clean and dry surface which in turn, will make the gel polish bond with the surface consistently.

7. Using Old or Expired Products


Using outdated or expired gel polish products can significantly impact the quality and effectiveness of your manicure. With time, gel polish tends to thicken, separate, or develop discoloration, making it challenging to apply evenly and achieve desirable results.

Moreover, expired gel polish may fail to cure properly, resulting in inadequate adhesion and premature lifting of the manicure. To mitigate these issues, it's essential to routinely inspect the expiration dates of your gel polish products and promptly discard any that have surpassed their shelf life.

8. Not Properly Removing Gel Polish


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Improper removal of gel polish can damage the natural nail and lead to thinning, peeling, and brittleness. Avoid the temptation to pick or peel off gel polish, as this can cause significant damage to the nail bed.

Instead, follow proper removal techniques using acetone and aluminum foil or gel polish removal wraps. Soak a cotton ball or pad in acetone, place it on the nail, and wrap the nail in aluminum foil or a removal wrap to allow the acetone to penetrate and dissolve the gel polish.

This will safely and effectively remove the gel polish without damaging the natural nail.

9. Overloading the Brush


Applying the appropriate amount of gel polish is crucial to prevent overflow onto the cuticles and sidewalls. Excess gel polish on the brush can result in messy application, patchy coverage, and challenges in creating crisp lines.

Opt for moderate gel polish on the brush and apply thin, uniform coats to the nails, starting from the cuticle and extending to the free edge. This technique promotes precise application and yields salon-quality results.



Indeed, steering clear of these typical blunders while utilizing gel polish empowers you to effortlessly attain salon-grade manicures from the comfort of your home.

Prioritize commencing with a meticulously cleaned and primed nail surface, ensure the application of thin, uniform coats of gel polish, and adhere to correct curing and removal procedures for the best outcomes.

By implementing these practices with precision and diligence, you can relish in gel polish manicures that endure for extended periods, remaining impeccably chip-free and perpetually stunning.

With attention to detail and adherence to proper techniques, your nails can flaunt a flawless and radiant appearance that exudes sophistication and charm.




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