For both men and women, manicures are excellent for maintaining healthy nails, cuticles and skin

Why have a manicure?

Regardless of your profession, people notice other’s hands and the presentation and cleanliness of your hands will be judged. Having your hands and nails groomed by a skilled therapist achieves a clean and professional look that can be difficult attain yourself. The pampering aspect of a manicure allows you to de-stress, relax and enjoy some “me time’. If you are opting for painted nails in your manicure, this can be a fun way to express your personality and experiment with colour and nail art trends.

A manicure is usually very soothing. It can be nice to have someone touch your hands and nails, especially if the manicurist uses hand-massage techniques to relax you. You will probably be one-on-one with the manicurist, who should tell you what she is going to do and check to see if you have any queries or concerns.

An expert manicurist will gently soften and remove dead skin from your cuticle using a cuticle remover and a cuticle pusher. A nail file will be used to create the desired nail shape to suit your natural nail and a base coat will be applied. A top coat in your choice of nail colour will be added, and you may also be able to have more decorative nail art applied. Check beforehand if you want this, as you may need another person to do the honours.

A manicure can last from 15 minutes to more than an hour, depending on what you’re having done. Generally speaking, the longer the time allocated to the manicure, the more elements you can expect.

Regular v Gel Nails

Polish Pros

  • You a get little bit more freedom with regular nail polish. If you don’t feel like committing to a color, it’s easy to change. You can also experiment with more nail art.
  • Regular manicures are usually the most affordable service that salons offer. A lot of the time they can cost less than R200, which is great if you’re on a budget.
  • They’re safer than gel manicures. You’re not exposing your skin to any harmful lights during the process.

Polish Cons

  • Nail polish takes forever to dry. If you’re in a rush, this is anything but ideal. Sometimes nail polish can take up to a day to fully dry.
  • Traditional manicures have a reputation for chipping more easily. If you need something more durable, then this may not be the best option for you.
  • It can take multiple coats to actually get the shade you want. Because regular polish is a lot lighter, it can take you a while to get your nails to match the color of the polish bottle.

Gel Pros

  • Gel manicures are known for lasting a lot longer than regular polish. A gel manicure can last up to two weeks in most cases if taken good care of.
  • You don’t have to worry about drying time. The UV light used to set gel polish in place cuts drying time to be only a few minutes.
  • Having chipped or smudged nails is a thing of the past. Because the gel dries so quickly, you don’t have to worry about ruining your nails during your next activity.

Gel Cons

  • The removal process is rough. You can’t just use a cotton pad with nail polish remover to get the job done. In order to remove all of the polish, you must soak your nails and then file off whatever remains.
  • Gel manicures are pricier than traditional ones. Pprices can double or even triple in some cases.
  • The chances of getting your nails damaged are a lot higher. Gel manicures are known for weakening the nails and causing them to become brittle over time.

A gel manicure is a service that uses a gel-based polish and requires a UV or LED light to cure the polish and lock it onto your nails. Gel polish is more durable than regular polish. And while regular polish can chip as quick as two to three days, gel stays chip-free for weeks.

While gel manicures look just like your regular old mani, the added benefits are that they last longer and feel sturdier. Plus, the beauty of a gel manicure is that anyone can get one, whether your nails are super short or Kylie Jenner-long.

If you get normal manis regularly or have a big trip coming up that you want chip-free color for, gel is definitely worth the splurge. They only cost around R100 to R150 more than a regular one. But if it’s just for one night or you’re on a budget, you might want to opt for a regular manicure.

Gel and acrylic are completely different — acrylic nails are made with a powder dipped in solvent. They’re essentially used to lengthen the nail or provide a stronger top layer over the natural nail. Sometimes acrylic nails come in colors, but usually they’re clear or natural-toned. Gels, on the other hand, come in nail polish shades, and are made hard by being cured under a UV or LED lamp.

The biggest pro of gel manis is how long they last. Gel manicures could last up to two weeks with proper nail prep and at-home care, such as cuticle oil and hand lotion. But if you’re really careful, they can last up to four weeks. If you have a bunch of events coming up back to back, gels can be the perfect solution.

Not when they’re done correctly! Gel manicures are not bad for your nails when professionally done. It can be damaging though, without proper nail prep, application and removal. The removal process is usually the most harmful. Avoid picking the gel off yourself (we know it’s tempting), and if you’re getting your nails done at the salon, be sure your nail technician isn’t using a drill.  Many people worry about getting gels because they fear their nails won’t be able to “breathe,” but nails don’t breath, as they’re dead to begin with.

Your nail beds and cuticles are what’s most important — they’re made of living tissue, which is why you need to be careful during the application and removal process. DON’T rip them off.  No one should be scraping your nail bed aggressively. The product should just crumble off.