A close-up photo capturing the aftermath of Gel X nail application, revealing severely damaged, brittle nails with peeling, breakage, and discoloration.

Does Gel X Ruin Your Nails?

If you’re obsessed with gel manicures that last for weeks, but worries about gel x’s impact, you’ve come to the right place. The quick answer is – it depends. When applied correctly and removed properly by a professional, gel x is generally safe for natural nails.

But improper application and removal can in fact damage nails.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything related to gel x and natural nails – we’ll explore how gel x is done, its pros and cons, tips for protecting your nails, as well as healthier gel alternatives. Read on to find out whether gel x indeed ruins natural nails.

What Exactly is Gel X Nail Extension

What is gel x made of

Gel X is a newer type of gel nail extension that is revolutionizing the nail industry. It is made of a flexible gel polymer that is designed to be very light, thin, and natural looking. The main ingredients in Gel X include:

  • Methacrylate polymers – These give Gel X its flexible, bendable texture so it moves naturally with the natural nail.
  • Photoinitiators – These ingredients react under UV light to set and harden the Gel X.
  • Pigments – Added for a natural nude color or other shades.

Unlike acrylic nails which can be thick and heavy, Gel X extensions are thin, light, and hug the natural nail for a seamless look. The flexibility also means they are less likely to crack, lift or break compared to hard acrylic or traditional gel polish.

How gel x manicure is done

Getting a professional Gel X manicure involves careful prep work and layering to get the perfect natural or glamorous nail extension:

  1. The natural nail is prepped – filed to remove shine and dehydrated to remove oils.
  2. Gel X tips are customized to fit each nail and bonded for lasting adherence.
  3. Gel X is applied over the entire nail in thin layers and contoured to the desired shape.
  4. Each layer is cured under an LED or UV nail lamp before applying the next.
  5. The finished extensions are filed and shaped to the desired length and style.
  6. Gel polish or durable top coat is applied as the final touch.

The whole Gel X application process generally takes around 1 hour for a full set. And the results last 2-3 weeks on average before needing fills. With proper removal instead of picking, Gel X does not damage the natural nails over time.

Compared to acrylic nails, the Gel X method is appreciated for blending extremely naturally with less bulk on the nails. The high-shine, long-lasting finish also resists chips for an ultra glam look!

Does Gel X Ruin Natural Nails

Gel X manicures have become increasingly popular due to their durable, glossy finish that can last up to 3 weeks without chipping. However, some worry the removal process and chemicals used can damage the natural nail underneath.

Here’s an overview of the pros and cons of gel X manicures to help you decide if they are right for your nails.

Pros of Gel X

There are several advantages gel X manicures offer over traditional polish:

  • Long lasting – Gel X can last up to 3 weeks without chipping or peeling
  • Chip resistant – Cured under UV light for a durable, flexible finish
  • Glossy color – Available in a wide variety of trendy, vibrant shades
  • Thin and light – Thinner than acrylics or dip powders, allowing nails to breathe
  • Growth friendly – Allows some flexibility for nail growth

Cons of Gel X – Risks of Damage

While beautiful, gel X application and removal does pose some risks of damage to the natural nail:

  • Filing the nail plate – Filing weakens nails and damages layers of keratin
  • UV light exposure – Can cause burns and skin cancer if overexposed
  • Harsh removal – Gel X requires soaking in acetone, which dries out nails
  • Lifting – Improper application can allow lifting, allowing moisture and bacteria underneath
  • Repeated removals – Thin and weaken nail plates over time
With proper gel X services With improper and repeated services
Minimally damaging Can severely damage and thin nail plates
However, the risks of gel X largely depend on the skill level of your nail technician, the quality of products used, and also your aftercare routine.

Tips to Avoid Nail Damage with Gel X

Here are tips to keep your natural nails healthy and protected with gel X services:

  • Start with healthy nails – Avoid application if nails are thin, brittle or damaged
  • Choose an experienced professional – Ensure proper training and application
  • Use hand creams – Keep cuticles moisturized to avoid lifting or overexposure from pushing back
  • Avoid picking or peeling – Can remove layers of keratin, causing weak spots
  • Take regular breaks between sets – Give nails a chance to strengthen by going polish free
  • Ask about gel or soak-off alternatives for removal – Less drying than acetone

Healthier Gel Polish Alternatives

Gel polish has become immensely popular in recent years due to its long-lasting shine and chip-resistant wear. However, some studies have raised concerns that the UV light used to cure gel polish may damage nails over time.

Fortunately, there are some healthier gel alternatives that provide similar results without the potential risks.

Regular Nail Polish

Going back to a traditional nail polish is one easy way to avoid gel altogether. Regular polish is applied and dried without the need for UV lamps. Just remember to use a high-quality base and top coat for maximum wear.

Regular polish may not last as long as gel, but touching up chips every few days lets your nails breathe.

Dip Powder Nails

Dip powder is a fast-growing alternative that creates a durable, gel-like finish. After applying primer, nails are dipped in colored powder and sealed with activator. No UV light is required. Dip powder can last 1-2 weeks with no chips or smudges.

Just beware that repeatedly filing off dip powder can thin your nails over time.

Shellac Nail Polish

Shellac by CND is a hybrid polish that applies like regular nail lacquer but wears like gel. It is cured in a UV lamp for a glossy, resilient finish that resists chips for 10-14 days. Shellac contains no harsh chemicals and is gently removed with acetone, making it less damaging than typical gel polish.

It’s a safer choice while still getting long wear.

SNS Nails

SNS powder dip nails are applied over your natural nails for a durable alternative to acrylics or gel extensions. After priming, a colored powder is used to build strength and thickness. A sealing resin is then applied and cured briefly under LED light.

SNS provides a gel-like finish that can last 2-3 weeks of growth with no lifting or breaks. Filing off SNS is gentler on nails than other enhancements.

Mineral Gel Nails

Mineral gel polishes like Blossom rely on safer ingredients and LED curing instead of UV lamps. They contain no harsh methacrylates, only natural minerals, vitamins, and essential oils. Mineral gel provides the same long-lasting shine and protection of typical gel polish while nourishing nails in the process.

Gentle removal won’t damage or thin your nails with time.

While gel manicures are stunning, they may not be ideal for those concerned with nail health. Luckily, safer and equally beautiful options exist. Trying a mineral gel, shellac, dip powder, or quality regular polish can let you achieve salon results without the risks.

Proper Gel X Removal

Removing Gel X properly is crucial to avoid damage to the natural nails underneath. Here are some tips for safe Gel X removal:

Soak Off Gel X

The best method is to soak off Gel X is with pure acetone. This helps break down the polymer layers so the product can be removed without taking layers of the natural nail with it. Follow these steps:

  • File the surface of the Gel X to remove the top shine layer
  • Soak cotton balls in 100% pure acetone and place them on top of each nail
  • Wrap each finger with foil to help the acetone penetrate
  • Leave on for 10-15 minutes until product is softened and can be scraped off
  • Gently scrape off Gel X with a cuticle pusher, being careful not to damage nails
  • Use a nail file to remove any remaining residue

Acetone can dry out the nails and skin, so apply cuticle oil after to nourish the nail beds.

Avoid Picking or Peeling

It may be tempting to pick or peel off Gel X when it begins lifting at the edges. However, this can remove layers of the natural nail, causing damage, peeling, and breakage. Stick to the proper soak-off method instead.

Don’t Use Metal Tools

Tools like cuticle knives, metal scrapers, or jewelry scalpels can gouge into the natural nail bed if used carelessly to remove gel. Opt for soft plastic cuticle pushers instead to minimize damage.

See a Professional If Unsure

If you are having issues removing Gel X properly at home, make an appointment with your nail technician. Professionals have experience safely soaking off gel nails without causing harm.

Getting Gel X removed professionally every 2-3 weeks is best practice to allow the natural nails time to breathe in between applications. This helps maintain strength and health.


While gel x extension done properly poses low risk to natural nails, improper application and removal likely causes breakage or fungal infection. The damage also accumulates over repeated use. To keep your natural nails healthy, go for occasional gel x manicures, let nails breathe between sessions, and visit an experienced nail tech for safe application and removal.

We hope this guide has answered your question on gel x’s safety. Remember to take good care of your natural nails even with gel manicures. Happy styling!

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