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To get or not to get: Gel nail extensions

Published Feb 03, 2021 9:00 pm Updated Feb 11, 2021 8:31 pm

Beauty salons have gradually been reopening since last year, and we finally have an escape from the disaster that was our DIY haircuts, beauty treatments and nail art. If you’ve been neglecting your nails after initially trying at-home nail art, this is the year to finally get nail extensions—because hey, longer nails mean you have 10 on-hand canvases to showcase art.

2021 nail trends all point to colorful and bold manicures, from picking a different color for every nail to matching your nail art to your mask. So if you want to get a head start on prepping your nails for the year ahead, here’s a handy guide to gel nail extensions aka the beauty investment you’ll be thankful you discovered this year.

Application and removal

Gel nail extensions are gel formulas cured with a UV or LED light. The application is pretty straightforward when compared to acrylic extensions which involve air-drying dip powder and buffing nails. 

In Nail.A.Holics’ Orly Builder Full Nails service, gel extensions are shaped above the natural nail and into your desired length and shape. After curing the nail, the procedure is like any regular manicure, where the nail technician applies gel polish and seals everything with a gel topcoat.

Removal is easier, too. For soft gel, you only have to soak them in acetone for the extensions to pop off your natural nails. Hard gel substances usually require a professional’s help in order to file down the surface of the nail extension. After filing, the same soaking treatment in acetone can remove the remainder of the nails. If you still have last year’s acrylic nails, book professionals like Nail.A.Holics to remove them for you as removal of acrylic nails is a much more complicated process than that of gel nails.


Gel nail extensions typically last from three to five weeks. Gel is a more flexible material than acrylic, so there’s less risk of your nails splitting or breaking. Since its gel is a cured formula and is basically invincible once the topcoat has been applied, it’s also less prone to chipping.

Still, experts agree that the durability of nail extensions depends on your lifestyle. If you’re someone who constantly uses their hands for heavy lifting, washing, intense keyboard typing or cooking, then don’t expect maximum longevity. It’s best to come in for a manicure after two weeks just so your nail technician can track the growth of your natural nails underneath your extensions and can also work on problems you might encounter.

Damage to natural nails

One thing that makes people hesitant to get nail extensions is potential damage to your natural nails. However, when done right by a professional nail technician, nail extensions actually contribute to keeping nails healthy

Technicians usually assess what type of extension clients need based on the state of their natural nails and the desired length of extension. Nail.A.Holics has their Orly Builder Repair service that can help repair breakage or splits using gel. If a client has brittle nails for example, gel is usually used to create nails that are flexible and less prone to breakage. 

Unlike acrylic nails, gel is odorless and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that can break down the nail bed and strip the nail of its natural oils. Keep in mind, though, that it’s good to take a “manicure break” for at least a week after having your extensions removed, just so your natural nail won’t wear down from all the treatments.

For more tips on how to get healthy, strong and beautiful nails, visit SM Shopmag

Editor’s Note: This article was provided by SM Shopmag.