One of the most common questions that people ask is how long it takes for gel polish to cure under a UV LED nail lamp. Most people read the instructions but do not believe that gel polish is done in such a short time, and they tend to cure them a little longer.

Gel polish should be cured according to its manufacturer’s recommendation. The curing time for the gel polish base coat is 5 to 30 seconds, gel polish color should cure for 30 to 45 seconds for each layer, and gel polish top coat should cure no longer than 60 seconds. Curing gel polish longer than recommended time turns it into a solid, and it will be difficult to remove later.

How long should a gel polish base coat be cured?

The characteristic makes it adhere well to the nail plate underneath and help the color gel polish stay on it for up to two weeks. If a gel base coat is overcured, it losses its adhesive strength and its flexibility. Worse yet, it becomes a hard solid layer that will not interact with acetone during the removal process.

Do not over cure gel base coat longer than 45 seconds even if you think the time is too short. Gel base coat will go under an LED lamp and exposed to more UV light as gel polish color and top coat need to be cured additionally. In the end, over cured gel base coat will go under curing for at least 3 more minutes.

Therefore, even if you do not over cure gel base coat, it will be over cured because of the additional curing steps anyway.

How long should gel polish color be cured?

The main quality of gel polish is flexibility. That is why it should be cured properly to retain this quality.

When gel polish color is over cured, it loses this unique flexible quality. Even though it is not easy to tell the difference then, but later during removal, you will see that the gel polish color will stick directly to the nail plate and the gel base coat seems to disappear or evaporate as if it was not there in the first place.

When this happens, you will have a hard time trying to remove the over cured gel polish off your nails because it will not be affected by acetone. You have to file it off with a nail file or an electric file. Using either one will thin out your natural nails that you want to protect.

Sometimes, a customer came into my salon for gel polish removal who had this problem. At first, I thought that she used some unknown brands that she bought on the internet. After I tested my products by trying to over cure them, the results were the same. Any over-cured gel polish will become hard solid and lost all of its flexibility. Acetone was not able to soften it.

The only way that I could do was slowly and gently file it off with a nail file so I would not thin out her nails.

How long should gel polish top coat be cured?

Gel polish top coat should be cured for no longer than 90 seconds if you are not convinced that 60 seconds are enough.

Gel polish topcoat is a sealer. It protects the color and adds mirror-shine quality to the gel polish color.

Over curing the gel polish top coat will alter this quality and turn it into a hard solid. What this does is the over-cured gel top coat will not interact with acetone any more, and removing it will require manual filling.

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Could you cure gel polish longer?

No. Over-cured gel polish will not interact with acetone which is the strongest removal solution on the market for the time being. You will have to file the hardened gel polish off your nails one by one. This could take up to two hours of your precious time.

As for me, it took me a good hour to remove over-cured gel polish on my customer’s nails.

Also, because I was careful, not to file too deep or buffing too much, there was some old gel polish still left on her nails, making the nail plates uneven. This caused the new color that went on them was not nice and smooth-looking at all.

No matter which brand is your gel polish, it should be cured according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Also, keep in mind that no two gel polish brands are the same. Take time to read the instructions carefully when you purchase a new brand.

And remember, gel polish is at its best when it becomes plasticized after being properly cured. Over-cured gel polish will become hardened. This makes it easier to chip or crack.

Worst of all, you will have to file it off, one nail at a time.

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