People who do gel polish at home tend to over cure them because the recommended 30 second curing time seems too short.

Gel polish that is cured for more than one minute will solidify and is baked onto the nail surface. This solidified gel polish is easier to crack, chip and break off the nail prematurely. Furthermore, removing over cured gel polish will require filing away the gel color as acetone can not soften it using a usual soaking or wrapping with the acetone method.

How long should you cure gel polish under an UV LED light?

Many gel polish manufacturers will recommend curing a gel base coat for 5 seconds while each layer of gel color and gel topcoat for 30 seconds. However, some people tend to cure each layer a little longer because they think just to be sure. Over curing can lead to shortened durability, faster chipping or peeling of the gel polish.

Do follow your gel polish manufacturer recommendation because they have done extensive research and development before launching their products. Any deviation from these recommendations on how to use and how to remove their products will prevent the gel polish from getting the optimal results and it will take longer to remove gel polish either at home or a salon.

How to tell if gel polish is properly cured

If you follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on how to apply gel polish, the gel polish will cure properly without any issues. For curious consumers, they have a temptation to give a physical check like feeling or touching the gel polish after curing to find it out themselves. But it is not necessary. If you want to check them yourself, you can use one of the two helpful tips on how to check if gel polish is cured.

But do not make it a habit of checking each layer of gel polish right after it finishes curing. You can either contaminate the gel polish surface with dust or with some oily substance from cuticle oil or hand lotion. These might cause some unsatisfactory finished look.

Some gel polish is sticky even after over curing

The first generation of gel polish had a top inhibition layer that needs to be removed with alcohol-based cleanser to reveal the mirror-like finish that gel polish is known for. This inhibition layer is sticky and dull looking. For people who skip on reading the gel polish manufacturer’s instructions, they do not know that this layer exists and have to be removed.

However, newer gel polish generation does not have this inhibition layer and its removal is not needed. As a good practice, read the gel polish instruction label to find out what kind your gel polish is and you know what to do at the end.

It is possible to over cure gel polish

The users always tend to cure their gel polish a little longer than the manufacturer’s curing time recommendation. For most of gel polish users, they come from having regular polish for a long time. This regular polish would take about 30 minutes to dry completely. Thirty-second curing time seems too good to be true. Therefore, they will cure their gel polish a little longer “just to be sure”.

If you are in this group of consumers, try to follow your gel polish instructions because it is created after extensive testing and the manufacturer only recommends the best process they find.

What happens if you cure gel polish too long

UV light will solidify gel polish if it is exposed under the light longer than the recommended time. With optimal curing time, the gel polish will plasticize and will retain its flexible characteristics so it will flex or bend with the real nails as they change their shapes when they are under stress. Solidified gel polish will be much harder and will lose its flexibility so it tends to separate, chip or lift off the nail surface easier. This solid form will gel polish will not last as long on the real nails as the optimally cured plasticized gel polish.

Solidified gel polish will also be baked onto the real nails and make is less reactive to acetone. It means it will take much longer to soak the over cured gel polish to remove it from the nails.

What to do to prevent over cured gel polish

Make sure you read the application instruction of your gel polish and follow it exactly. Doing this will ensure you get the best results and also prevent your polish from over curing.

Another thing to pay attention to is your LED lamp. When you do your gel polish at home, you do not necessarily have your LED lamp from the same brand as your gel polish’s one. If this is the case, make sure your LED lamp is in good working condition. You can check your LED lamp working condition yourself by performing a simple test from this article.

Do not try to cure gel polish longer than the suggested time on the instruction just because you think it needs too.

Make sure gel polish is not thick before using. Thicker gel polish will not cure completely no matter how long you let it cure under an LED light. If this happens, it is better to remove the thick polish and replace it with thinner layers.

How to remove over cured gel polish at home

Over cured gel polish is difficult to remove because it does not react to acetone as well as properly cured gel polish. Over cured gel polish is a one piece of hard, solidified substance that is baked on to the real nails. To remove over cured gel polish will require a longer time and even the gel color layer has to be filed away to the gel base coat layer. Until then you can soak off the gel base coat with acetone.

What you need:

  • A medium-coarse nail file or emery board 100 grits
  • Acetone and a soaking glass bowl
  • Paper towel or towel to catch file dust


  • Start with one nail, gently file away the gel top coat and color with a side-to-side motion. Do not exert high pressure or you will file away your real nails too.
  • Take your time and do it gently until you can file away most of the gel color. Do not try to file it off. It will be safer for your nails if you soak off the remaining gel polish.
  • Do the above to the rest of your nails.
  • Now you get most of the dried, solidified gel polish off of your nails, you can start soaking or wrapping them the same way you would normally do to remove gel polish and wait for 15 minutes.
  • Now, most of the gel polish should detach from your nails. If you still have some gel polish spots, they can be pushed off with a cuticle pusher or an orangewood stick.

Wash your hands and you are finished.

How to prevent over cured gel polish

To prevent over curing gel polish, gel base coat, gel color and gel topcoat must be applied thinly. If you know and can apply thin layers, you will not cure them longer and this will eliminate the chance of over cured gel polish.

There are two helpful tips to apply thin gel polish every time. Learn how you can apply thin gel polish layers and use the recommended curing time, you will stop over cure your gel polish for good.

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