One of the questions I get most about soak-off manicures such as Shellac, Gelish, OPI GelColor and so on, is about whether the nail can “breathe” under the lacquer. Others include Is there a way to keep the nails healthy? and Is it a good idea to take a break between soak-off manicures?Â So…
Can nails breathe under soak-off manicures? Nails don’t breathe the way skin does. They are a bit porous, however — we’ll come back to that.
Remember that nails continue to grow. Within days you’ll see that sliver of bare nail at the base; it’s quite significant after two or three weeks.
Is there a way to keep nails healthy under the under the polish? Healthy nails are linked to healthy cuticles. This is where nail porosity comes in. Think of the cuticle as a conditioning drop zone: a drop of oil there benefits more than just the skin around the nail.
“Use cuticle oil daily — it penetrates the nail plate. As the nails grow, they become more flexible and resilient,” says Leeanne Colley, whose busy Toronto salon, Tips Nail Bar, has a huge number of fiercely loyal soak-off manicure clients. “It helps peely nails, too,” she adds.
Best to apply cuticle oil immediately after you’ve washed your hands in warm water — the oil will sink in efficiently and help keep skin hydrated.
Do you need a break between soak-off manicures? Not really. If you have naturally strong nails, take a break if you like. But if you’re like me and have soak-off gel manicures to give your naturally weak nails extra strength, taking a break will only leave your bare nails unprotected, once again vulnerable to the easy chipping and breaking that used to drive you nuts.
Have you been asking these questions too? Will you try the cuticle-oil trick?