Cured gel polish depends on proper curing of gel base coat, color and top coat.

How to tell if gel polish is completely cured seems like a mystery to a lot of people who use gel polish because there is no device available on the market to determine whether gel polish on nails are cured properly. There is no way to tell if the gel polish is properly cured by looking at the result. The only way to cure gel polish properly is to cure the gel base coat, gel color polish and gel topcoat separately for 30 to 45 seconds after each time they are applied on natural nails. Skipping these curing steps or not giving each layer enough curing time will result in under cured gel.

The color gel polish and the gel topcoat are where most of the under curing problems occur. To learn how to do gel polish so it is completely cured every time, let’s look into how each gel layer should be applied and cured.

Two helpful tips to tell if gel polish is under cured

Visual tip 1:

One easy way to tell if gel color polish is under cured is after curing, gel color polish will stick on gel topcoat brush when a topcoat is applied. This color-stained clear gel topcoat brush is an indication of under cured color gel polish.

Visual tips 2:

Under cured gel top coat will look dull. Under cured gel top coat will be wiped away as alcohol-based cleaner come in contact with it.

How to cure gel polish properly

Curing of gel base coat: the gel base coat is clear so it only needs about 30 seconds under a LED light to cure properly.

Two things to consider when doing a gel base coat:

  • Make sure gel basecoat is evenly and thinly applied. Try to scrape as much as possible the gel basecoat against the inside of the gel bottle before polishing.
  • If the base coat is too thick, add a few drops of gel polish thinner, shake well and let it sit for 15 minutes before using.

Cure under LED lamp for 30 to 45 seconds.

Curing gel color polish

If a gel polish color stick on the gel topcoat brush, it indicates that gel polish has not been cured. It this happens, stop applying gel top coat and cure both hands for 45 seconds each. If after 45 seconds curing time, the gel color still stains the topcoat brush. If the gel color polish is a dark one, remove it and use a lighter color. If it is a light color, cure it for 30 seconds.

Note: if you have an extra spare LED light, try to cure your gel nails under this lamp. If the color cures, you will not have to spend time removing the dark color.

If a light gel color still stains the topcoat brush after curing for 45 seconds after the second curing, the LED lamp might be faulty and should be replaced.

Curing gel topcoat

Gel topcoat is a clear type of gel polish so it does not take a lot of power to cure.

Apply a thin layer of gel top coat and cure for 45 seconds. The gel topcoat should be cured given that it is a thin coat and the LED lamp is working properly.

If the gel topcoat looks dull after cleaning it with alcohol-based cleanser then it may be caused by one of three things:

  1. Gel topcoat is under cured.
  2. Gel topcoat is so thin that it is removed by the cleanser.
  3. The LED lamp is faulty and will not cure the gel top coat completely.

If the gel topcoat looks dull, this indicates that it has not been cured properly. To solve this, cure the nails again for 30 seconds, apply one more thin coat of gel top coat and cure for 45 seconds.

If it still looks dull, either the LED lamp is faulty or the gel top coat is bad.

What will happen if gel polish is under cured

If the two layers of gel polish color are under cured, they will not form a good bond between themselves and to the basecoat. This will weaken the whole gel polish. Even though it looks fine, it will chip, peel or fall off the nail much sooner. Furthermore, if the gel topcoat is under cured, two more things will happen:

  1. The upper uncured gel topcoat will not reach its optimal stage where the mirror-like shine characteristic will not be formed and the gel nail will look dull.
  2. The lower uncured gel topcoat will not form a good bond to the gel color polish layer and will cause the gel topcoat to peel, chip, or lift away from the gel color sooner.

To avoid uncured gel topcoat, and apply thin coats and cure it for 30 to 45 seconds.

If the gel topcoat needs to cleaned with an alcohol-based cleanser, do that so the tacky layer or inhibition layer is removed to reveal the shine.

What will happen if you over cure gel polish

If the gel base coat, gel color or gel top coat are cured under a LED lamp for too long, they will become overly hardened. This makes the gel polish lose the flexible characteristic that is similar to that of natural nails. Even though the wearer can not feel any difference but the over cured gel nails tend to chip faster.

Furthermore, over cured gel polish will become so dry and will form a very hard layer that will take up as much as one hour of soaking time before the acetone can completely penetrate and soften this overly-hardened gel polish so it can be removed safely.

So do not cure the gel polish for too long thinking that it will help it stay longer on the nails.

Does gel polish needs to be cleaned with alcohol between layers to be cured properly?

Cleaning with alcohol-based cleanser before the next layer of gel polish is applied is not necessary. It only adds more time to the gel application and also runs the risk of putting dust or lint of the gel surface and causes it to be lumpy at the end.

How long should gel polish be cured

Nowadays a lot of people are mixing brands at home. They do that unintentionally because when they started out doing gel nails at home, they buy a specific brand kit. These kits only offer a few color polishes. When these people find a gel color that they like, they will buy it regardless of brands.

Many popular brand manufacturers will only recommend their product lines should not be used with others to minimize the issues of bonding or incomplete curing. Regardless of how different wavelengths of UV light manufacturers use to cure their gel polishes, they all belong to a range of specific UV light spectrum.

An LED manufacturer that uses an LED gel that is rated for 375 nm. will use bulbs that emit from only 370 to 380 nm. “LED” stands for “light emitting diode,” which refers to the type of bulb an LED gel lamp uses.

The LED lamp manufacturers are aware of this so they would make their LED lamps produce UV light that falls in this UV light spectrum. If they do not do this, they risk causing the end-users’ inconvenience of having to carry more than one LED lamp and they will incorrectly think that the LED lamp that does not cure all gel polish is inferior or low quality.

Any LED lamp can cure a gel base coat, gel color and gel topcoat completely in 30 – 45 seconds. This curing time will create an optimal plasticized polish on the nails. If the gel polish is cured with a longer time, it will become solid and stick firmly to the nail surface and will make it much harder and take much to remove later on.

Related questions:

What is the best way to remove gel polish? Removing gel polish using finger cots to keep acetone-soaked on the gel nails is the least time-consuming method. This method allows you to use your hands and fingers for other things while the gel polish is being soaked off at the same time. Learn about this great gel removing technique here in this article.

Learn how to check your LED lamp in this article. How to tell if an LED lamp is good? LED lamp sometime does not produce enough light to cure gel polish and this problem is not visually identifiable. There are several ways to determine whether or not the lamp is in good working order based on how the gel polish is cured.

Check out the latest mini nail drill here.

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