How is gel polish different from nail polish?
Gel polish manicures started to become popular in the past 4-5 years as an alternative to regular nail polish manicures. Whereas nail polish requires 20-30 minutes of air drying time (and can still be smudged or dented in the hours after application), gel polish contains a special polymer that must be “cured” under an LED or UV light – allowing it to harden during the curing cycle and become instantly dry. Gel polish is also much thicker than regular nail polish.
Traditionally, gel polish manicures needed to be done at a salon by a professional nail technician using professional equipment. The cost of a gel manicure would be higher than a regular nail polish manicure as well, but the results and benefits were worth it:
- Brilliant, glossy shine (much shinier than regular nail polish)
- Chip-free results (gel won’t chip off like regular nail polish – which can start to chip within 2-3 days – even with activities like dishwashing or excessive typing)
- 3 weeks lasting (salon or professional 3-step gel manicures)
The removal process for gel is also different, as it requires a “soak-off” method vs. acetone "wipe off" removal.
How do I apply LMM gel polish?
If you are a new user of gel polish, please give yourself 2-3 manicures (tries) to get used to how to apply gel polish. There are many tips and tricks to applying gel polish that make the difference between a good application and an application that is too thick or doesn’t last long enough (i.e. chips easily). Often, new users of gel polish make small mistakes during the application process and then think that any chipping is due to the formula of the gel. We have tested our gel polish countless times and it truly is an amazing 1-step formula. You won’t find a better 1-step formula on the market (really!)…so please be patient, read our application instructions carefully, and take your time to familiarize yourself with LMM gel! Once you get used to the application process, you will find that this is a fantastic gel that will give you a shiny, colorful, and chip-free manicure for work, play, and travel!
Here are a few simple "Do"s and "Don't"s when applying gel:
- Be sure to file BOTH the surface and edge of each nail. Filing the surface allows the gel to adhere better and filing the edges helps keep the gel from chipping.
- Make sure the first coat of gel polish is VERY thin (barely there). This is extremely important to ensure that the base layer is not too thick, which will affect the lasting. You can remove excess gel polish from the brush (before applying) by wiping it along the opening of the bottle. This will help in ensuring a VERY thin first layer.
- Make the 2nd coat slightly thicker with even strokes of gel polish. This will create a nice, smooth top layer, which can last longer.
- "Cap" the tip of every nail by running the brush along the edge. This will also protect from chipping by providing a thicker layer of gel along the nail edge.
- Cure the nail as soon as the gel is applied (instead of applying gel on all five fingers then curing one by one). It’s important to cure each nail immediately to minimize the amount of time the gel is exposed to air, as this will negatively affect the result.
- Close the bottle of gel polish when not in use, and while you are waiting for each curing cycle if possible (or at least set the cap over the bottle while you are curing to minimize the amount of air and light that enters the bottle). This will prevent the gel from drying out, as gel reacts to both LED light and also natural light. Avoid having the LED lamp shine directly on an open bottle of gel, as this will also dry out the gel.
- Let the lamp rest for 30-60 seconds between application on your left and right hands. This will allow the lamp to cool down.
- Don't apply hand lotion or cuticle oil before or during the gel application process. This will cause the gel to slip and not adhere well.
- Don't buff your nails after filing them. Filing creates a rough surface, allowing the gel to adhere better. Buffing reverses this effect by making the surface smooth again (which will cause the result not to last very long).
- Don't apply the gel on or too close to the skin. If you get gel on your skin, use the cuticle stick to remove it before curing. Curing gel on your skin will affect the lasting (easier to the gel to come off).
Please refer to our instructions manual for the complete details of a great gel manicure application.
How do I remove LMM gel polish?
Gel polish is different from regular nail polish in that you need to “soak” it off. We included 10 remover pads inside our kit (1 per finger). In order to remove your old manicure, first heavily file the surface of each nail WITHOUT going all the way through to the surface of your nail (to loosen the gel polish that you wish to remove and “break” the top surface) before you wrap each nail in the remover pad. Then you just need to soak the gel for 15 minutes, with the packet wrapped tightly around your nail to prevent air from getting in. The gel will lift up, which will then allow you to use the cuticle stick to gently scrape off the remaining bits of gel. You can also use the nail file to gently file away any extra gel left on the nail. We also sell a separate Gel Removal Kit, which contains 100 pads (equal to 10 uses).
What about “peel-off” gel polish? Do you offer this?
We currently don’t offer peel off gel polish.
I followed all the instructions (super thin layers, etc) but my gel polish is still chipping after 2-3 days! What do I do?
If you have followed all the basic tips, and you are still face chipping issues, it may be because of the natural oils in your nails. In fact, 20% of women have naturally oilier nails just due to body chemistry. We recommend that you wipe your nails clean before you apply gel polish. You can use one remover pad to quickly wipe each nail before beginning (before filing the surface) or you can use regular nail polish remover or acetone soaked in a cotton pad. This will create a non-oily surface to start your application.
Here are some additional tips/suggestions that you can follow to ensure a good application and lasting:
- be sure to file the surface of the nail before applying gel - this creates a rough surface which allows the gel to stick (otherwise your nail surface is too smooth and it’ll be easier to chip)
- VERY important tip: wipe the brush against the rim of the bottle and remove ALL the gel before applying (as gel is super thick - it should look barely there when you paint the first layer)
- the first layer must be extremely thin
- don’t use hand cream, lotion, or cuticle oil before applying gel, as these products will cause the gel polish to not adhere well to your nail because your nail surface will be oily
- be sure to shake the bottle well each time before applying because our gel polish is a 3-in-1 gel (base coat, color and top coat all in one formula). Sometimes if the bottle has sitting for a long time, the top coat component can separate, so shake well to mix the formula
- for new users, when you’re drying the nail under the LED light, it’s possible to accidentally move the nail (if you’re not paying attention). It’s important to keep the finger still so that the light dries all around the entire surface (including the edges of your nail). You can always cure your nail for an additional 5-10 seconds to ensure that you have completely dried the nail before moving on to the next one. This will make sure that even the edges are fully cured. If you are still experiencing chipping issues, we recommend curing for an extra 5-10 seconds to make sure that the chipping is not caused by nails which aren’t fully dry.
Help! My gel polish is hard/clumpy inside the bottle.
It’s very important to use and store your gel polish correctly. Gel polish is light sensitive (that’s why it hardens when exposed to LED light). It will also react to sunlight or natural light if exposed for an extended period of time. If you store the product near a window or around a light source, it’s possible that it can harden inside the bottle over time.
The first time you open your bottle of LMM gel, you will find that it’s very thick (compared to regular nail polish). This is perfectly normal. Please take the following precautions to properly use and store your gel polish to ensure that you can use it for as long as possible:
- Do not keep the bottle open for an extended period of time.
- During the application process, open the bottle to apply the gel onto one nail. While the nail is curing, we recommend you to close the bottle or at least place the cap back over the bottle to cover it. This will minimize the amount of air and light that can get inside.
- If the bottle is open, don’t set it too close to the LED lamp, as any exposure to the LED light may affect the gel inside the bottle. It’s better to either keep the bottle closed or farther away from the lamp when the LED light is on. Never shine the LED light directly onto an open bottle.
- Store gel polish bottles in a dark place or inside a drawer, away from windows or other light sources. Do not store in the refrigerator. Always keep bottles at room temperature.
Will Le Mini Macaron’s LED lamp work with other brands of gel polish?
Yes, the lamp can work with any gel polish, as long as the gel is good quality. We can’t necessarily guarantee the results if it’s not our own gel, but it should work with other ones. Also different gel polishes matched with different lamps sometimes require different “curing” times. If you use our LED lamp with another gel, and you find it’s not dry enough, we would recommend 2-3 cycles under the lamp (30 second cycles, two or three times).
By the way, we have heard of some people trying our LED lamp with NAIL polish and telling us this doesn’t work. Nail polish requires air drying, whereas gel polish contains a polymer that must be ‘cured’ by an LED lamp in order to harden (dry). Nail polishes are NOT meant to be used with LED lamps and no nail polish will dry from being under an LED lamp. ONLY patiently air drying nail polish will work!
What’s the difference between LED and UV lamps? Which one is Le Mini Macaron?
LED lamps use LED light (the kind of light in an office building or a school) to “cure” the gel polish to dry. UV lamps use UV light (the kind of rays in sunlight) to also “cure” the gel polish to dry. Without a doubt, LED light is safer than UV light, as it does not transmit UV rays – which can inevitably darken the skin and may lead to skin cancer with prolonged use (for instance, with excessive tanning). All of our LMM lamp products use only LED light.
Lamps with LED light use a newer technology compared to UV lamps. The LED bulb is able to cure gel polish dry in half the time needed vs. UV bulbs. Also, LED lamps don’t generate heat in the way that UV lamps do, and the LED bulb never needs to be replaced.
Can I use LMM gel polish or the LED lamp during pregnancy?
Our LMM products are safe to use during pregnancy, but we understand that some women like to limit the amount of beauty products that they use (in general) while pregnant. It is up to each woman to decide. If you feel comfortable to use regular nail polish products, then you can feel comfortable to use gel products, which contain little to no fumes and no harmful chemicals. And unlike UV lamps (which contain UV light), our LMM lamps use LED light – the same kind of light you get from inside an office building – which is safe to be exposed to on a daily basis.
Can I use the power charger inside the kit to charge my mobile phone?
The power charger included in this kit is NOT designed to be used with mobile phones or other electronic devices. It is meant to be used only with the LED lamp included in the kit. Usage with other devices may lead to overheating or damage. Please take care to ensure that you only use the charger with LMM’s LED lamp. However, you can feel free to use the LED lamp and USB cord with any computer, portable charger, or any other mobile adapter with a USB outlet.
What is the wattage/power of LMM lamps?
Our standard, single-finger classic and glitter mini macaron lamps are 3W and require a 1A or higher adapter, while the full-size Le Maxi lamp is 5W and requires a 2A or higher adapter.
Are your products cruelty-free?
We are proud to say that we do not test on animals. In the beauty industry, the highest standards of safety and compliance would be the regulations in the EU (European Union), which are the strictest in the world. The EU bans over 1,300 items in their cosmetics (vs. the US, which bans only 11!). Our products are EU compliant and approved to sell in the European Union. One of the requirements to pass EU compliance is NOT testing on animals. So there you go!