Gel X Extensions Are The Nail Artist Pick For An Easy and Durable Manicure

Mark A. Carlson

A few weeks ago, Allure’s news editor Nicola Dall’Asen tried her hand at the Aprés’ Gel-X system at home: “No matter how talented you are with a nail polish brush, this is not something you will master on the first try,” she reports. “You’ll run into numerous challenges, such as air pockets in the Extend Gel, juggling holding the faux nail on your natural nail while curing at the same time, selecting the exact right size for each nail, and more.”

But if you’re feeling brave — and patient — Ridley’s biggest takeaway is, to be mindful of how much gel you’re applying. “It can’t be too much or too little,” she explains. The artist adds that when she does Gel-X nails now, she uses the size of her client’s nail bed to determine how much adhesive gel to add. The key here is to avoid globs of gel spilling out from underneath the extension.

Everyone’s nails are a little different. With practice, says Ridley, you’ll realize what is too much or too little gel to use. According to Park, less is more when it comes to this step, and she recommends using a light layer and adding more if needed. 

Those who want to learn how to use Gel-X at home can use Aprés’ YouTubeTikTok, or Instagram tutorials as a resource. Aprés also offers Gel-X certification courses, held multiple times a year in different parts of the country, for professional nail artists. Park recommends that all nail artists who want to do Gel-X in a salon or professionally on clients get certified, though not all salons may require it. You can always ask your nail artist to show you their certification.

How Long Do Gel-X Extensions Last?

If you’re looking for nail extensions that can last a whole month — but won’t take aggressive buffing to remove — Gel-X is for you. Los Angeles-based editorial nail artist Elle Gerstein says her Gel-X manicures, including a mini-moon design for Blake Lively, last about three weeks. 

Ridley says she’s seen clients wear their Gel-X manicures for up to four weeks. “Usually, after [four weeks], you can experience lifting,” she notes. “I find that some who work with steam or water, like baristas and hairstylists, can’t go as long as someone who works in an office environment because excessive exposure to elements like steam and water can cause the extension to lift from the natural nail sooner.”

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