Whether you are a beginner or have been doing gel polish for a while, you will run into the issue of gel polish not curing one time or another.
Two things that can cause gel polish to not cure properly are either gel nail polish is bad, thick, old, of low quality that will not cure or the UV LED nail lamp is too small, old, or malfunctioned that does not produce enough light to cure the gel polish thoroughly.
Now let us look at these two issues separately.
Gel polish will not cure if it is not good
Bad gel polish will not cure properly: bad gel polish can be in the form of low quality. Chemical components of gel polish that have low quality will separate sooner from gravity for being left on the shelf for a while.
Furthermore, low-quality gel polish brands might not have all the ingredients to make it a good application under a wider-range of temperatures as compared to a good brand.
Thick gel polish: is the result of losing liquid nail chemicals due to evaporation for not closing the cap tightly and being stored in a warm or hot place.
Thick gel polish will not cure completely because the UV LED nail lamps are designed to cure a limited range of gel polish thicknesses. If a layer of gel polish is too thick the light intensity will not be able to cure it all the way no matter how powerful a LED nail lamp is.
You can use gel polish thinner to dilute a thick gel polish bottle. However, you must know how to add thinner properly and should let it sits for a few days so the thinner will be completely mixed in.
Old gel polish will not cure: gel polish becomes old when some of its liquid chemical components evaporate. This changes the optimal ratio of these components inside a gel polish bottle.
Even if an old gel polish bottle looks fine visually, but the perfect ratio is lost and the gel polish will not cure properly or does not cure at all.
Bad UV LED nail lamps will not cure gel polish
A bad UV LED nail lamp can be defined as old, insufficient power, or low-quality.
Old UV LED nail lamp: a UV LED nail lamp is an electronic device. Like others, it has many electronic components that will age when they reach or pass their operating hours.
Even when these lamps’ manufacturers claim that their LED lights can last up to 50,000 hours, however, the other electronic components that make up the whole lamp circuit board might not last that long.
Insufficient power: if you are using a UV LED nail lamp brand that is different from the brand of your gel polish, there is a good chance that the lamp does not produce enough light intensity or power to cure all different brands of gel polish.
Aside from not curing gel polish completely, low power nail lamps can cause gel polish to shrink or bubble.
Low-quality LED nail lamp: many people who do their gel polish at home might still have their starter lamp which was purchased a while ago.
Aside from being close to its expected operating life, this lamp might be under-powered for the latest gel polish that might require more curing power.
How to prevent uncured gel polish
There are two things you can do to make sure gel polish cure properly.
Make sure the gel polish is is good conditions:
Use a good gel nail polish brand: having a good brand of gel polish will avoid half of the potential problems that can cause gel polish not to cure completely.
Do use a new gel polish color: new products will have their optimal characteristics so curing issues will be minimized.
Do not use old gel polish: if you must use your old gel polish, here is one thing you can do to improve your chance of curing that old gel polish.
If your old gel polish is just thickened, you can soak it in a relatively warm water bowl for 10 minutes. The heat will make the thickened gel polish to be thin enough to be applied to the nails easily.
So use this as a last resort because each time you warm up the gel polish bottle, more of the remaining chemical liquids will evaporate.
As a good practice, I always checked for good consistency of gel polish in a bottle before I apply it to my customers’ nails. If the gel polish is thick, clumpy, or gooey. I will not use it and ask them to pick another color instead.
Use a good LED nail lamp:
Do take good care of your LED nail lamp: the lamp has a rather small circuit board with many tiny lead-soldered electrical contacts. If any one of these contacts becomes loose or broken due to rough handling, the lamp will not produce enough light to its normal rated power or stops working.
If your LED nail lamp is about two years old and you have been using it every two weeks, it a good time to purchase a new LED nail lamp and use your old lamp as a spare one.
It is always a good thing to have an extra nail lamp at home. Whether you do your gel nails in the day or late at night, if something wrong happens to your best nail lamp, you can take your old nail lamp out to finish your gel polish application.