During what may seem like yet another never-ending lockdown, you might be feeling nail withdrawal symptoms with your favourite nail artist/technician unavailable to serve you your Instagram worthy #nailgoals this Jan.
We’ve seen online publications, influencers and beauty editors actively promoting their DIY gel polish or dip powder (e.g. SNS) manicures – and most recently, on ITV’s This Morning. And while this might be highly tempting to experiment with (especially while social distancing), doing-it-yourself and experimenting with creating your favourite nail look (at-home edition) can be dangerous and result in a number of long term issues.
Unlike normal nail polish, artificial nail products (gel polish, gels, acrylic, dip powder/SNS etc.) contain (meth)acrylates. In December 2018, the British Association of Dermatologists issued a warning that (meth)acrylate chemicals were/are causing a “contact allergy epidemic” in the UK and Ireland.
This means that if these chemicals come into contact with skin “overexposure”, it can cause sensitivity and even lead to a long term allergy. Allergic reactions may not be instant or obvious but can develop over a period of time. Unfortunately, once you develop an allergy, it can’t be reversed, which means that once it’s time to go back to your nail technician, you might find you can no longer wear gel polish or acrylic based products. Allergic reactions can include nails loosening/coming apart from the nail bed and itchy skin/rashes.
SO what has that got to do with the gel polish kit or SNS kit you’re considering buying off Amazon or eBay? Firstly, these online marketplaces are flooded with fake and unsafe products – products that may contain a high % of (meth)acrylates, leading to an increased risk of developing an allergy. Most reputable and professional gel polish brands such as CND (makers of Shellac) or Gelish do not sell directly to consumers so if you’re buying these brands online, without proving you’re a nail professional, it’s likely the products are dodgy.
Acing painting your left hand, but struggling with your right? If your technique is painting the entire nail plus all the skin/cuticle area to then peel it off in the shower – stop babes! This is unsafe to do with gel polish and acrylic-based as you want to avoid direct skin contact with all “uncured” (meth)acrylates.
Even if you are super careful not to get the product on your skin when applying – by mixing and matching your products (a gel polish base from OPI, with colour from CND, a top coat from The Gel Bottle, with a random UV/LED lamp from Amazon) there’s no guarantee that you’ll achieve a proper and correct “cure”. Keep in mind, you’ve also got to ensure you’ve got the correct “mix ratio” of liquid to powder. If the nail coating is “uncured” – come removal time, you risk those products getting into your skin which can trigger an allergic reaction.
During training, your nail technician will have learned all about the anatomy and science behind nails and nail products they offer – from risks of overexposure, how to achieve a full and proper cure, to acing safely application and removal nail coatings. Your nail tech has it covered! It’s best not to dabble in these products without the training; leave to your qualified Pros!
**So, what can you do during the lockdown? Natural nails may not be your thing, and we agree – a lil’ coloured polish (when used correctly) can be a vibe! So here’s the 411 on your safe, at-home, options:**
❕ If your nail extensions or gel polish is hanging on for dear life, reach out to your nail technician and ask them for a gel polish/enhancement remover kit. Most nail technicians at this time have zero income so any retail sales is a bonus. They can also provide advice and guidance on how to safely remove your nail coating at home. I (Nails by Mets) have a very easy to follow gel polish removal tutorial available here. Whatever you do, don’t do what Jada Pinkett-Smith did, and use dental floss *shudders*
✨ If your nails are feeling weak, apply a nail strengthener and keep them short – this is a great time to nurse your natural nails back to good health, ready for your favourite nail artist when lockdown is over! Don’t forget to apply cuticle oil twice daily to keep your nails hydrated.
💅🏼 Paint your nails with nail polish – being stuck at home means that your nail polish is more likely to last longer than when you were constantly on the go pre-lockdown! You can follow this tutorial on how to easily paint your nails like a Pro and get a salon standard finish!
**Written by** Metta Francis aka @nailsbymets