Semi-permanent nail polish: do we crack or not?

It’s invading the nail bars and some manicure addicts can’t get enough of it, but is this gel nail polish really that great? Enquiry.

Semi-permanent nail polish: what is it?

A coloured acrylic gel that a pro applies to the nails with a brush and which hardens under the rays of a UV lamp. You choose a colour (there are dozens of them), to play fashionable, or a transparent nude, to have the nails just shiny and impeccable. It lasts two weeks, after that it flakes and you see too much nail growth. Less strong and less abrasive than the classic “construction resin”, but much more resistant than a simple nail polish, this gel does not shy away from dishwashing or gardening, in short, it does not get damaged and allows you to lead a normal life.

What does it do to the nails?

You can hardly see any difference with a classic nail polish. The colour is very shiny and it is hardly thicker. Nothing to do with the ugly caps with oversized edges.

Should you be wary of semi-permanent nail polish?

No, as long as you observe these two commandments: firstly, it should not be abused. Three times in a row, six weeks of semi-permanent nail polish is the maximum, and then leave your nails alone for a month if you don’t want to weaken them. Secondly, when it comes to removing it, the beautician must master the technique, because the acetone-based cast solution can cause skin irritation around the nail (read “How do I remove it?” below). Our protective parade: generously massage cuticle oil before, during and after removal, and even every evening…

Who is semi-permanent nail polish for?

Women who have been wearing the same colour for a while and are ready to make room in their diary to come back to the institute to have it removed. As Alexandra Falba, O.P.I. trainer, points out, “most of the aficionados of semi-permanent nail polish are women who can’t do without red nails or who are used to French manicures”. Semi-permanent nail polish is also recommended for holidaymakers who want to make sure their nails do not flake, despite sandcastles with children or repeated swimming in the sea.

How can you play with colours?

By applying a darker classic nail polish. You can then change to plum if the nails are already covered with an orange gel. Of course, if the base is just transparent, you can overlay any colour of lacquer on it and change it as often as you like since a solvent without acetone dissolves the nail polish, but not the gel. Moreover, if Japanese women love it, it’s because this coloured and very smooth gel base allows them to draw over kawaii motifs with nail polish with extreme precision and, above all, to touch them up with a solvent without making the coloured base disappear.

Can semi-permanent nail polish hide a damaged nail?

No, soft, brittle and bitten nails will have to do without it. This new technique requires a certain quality of keratin for the nail polish to cling properly to the nail surface. Unlike so-called “construction” gels, it does not give a smooth appearance to an already grooved nail.

How is semi-permanent nail polish applied?

As with a classic nail polish, the beautician begins by polishing the entire nail surface with a soft polisher before applying a colourless base, which protects the nail from pigments, followed by two coats of coloured gel and a top coat. The gel is applied with a long brush, like a painter’s brush, and, between each coat, it is left to dry for two to three minutes under a UV lamp. In forty-five minutes, it’s finished and very dry, you don’t even need to grab your bag carefully.

You can also learn how to give yourself a gel manicure like a pro:

How do you remove your semi-permanent nail polish?

Don’t try to do it yourself, otherwise you risk damaging the top layer of the nail. You go back to the institute where you had it applied. At Manucurist, as Fanny Lebrat explains, the “removal” technique is very precise and we strongly recommend it.

The beautician begins by protecting the nail’s perimeter with oil, then polishes the entire surface, then soaks cotton squares cut to fit the shape of the nail with an acetone-based solution. Each finger is wrapped in aluminium foil. Fifteen minutes later, the different layers of gel fall off by themselves, all that remains is to remove the residue with a wooden stick.

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