What is a Gelac Manicure or Pedicure?

Mar 14 2014

Shy Spy

3 min read

Gel mani

What is a Gelac manicure or pedicure?

Gelac is a lightweight gel polish that combines the long-lasting effects of a gel nail with the easy application of a regular nail polish. The process requires a UV lamp for "curing", and takes around 10 minutes to remove.

What is Gelac good for?

Gelac's manufacturers, IBD, claim that Gelac is the "must-have 14-day manicure – no chipping, no smudging, no kidding." The idea is that the gel bonds more securely than regular polish, which results in a longer-lasting, shinier result. Some therapists also claim Gelac is good for strengthening weak nails and promoting growth.

Before you go:

Although your therapist will prepare your nails, it's common courtesy to remove any regular polish (Gelac polish (and nail art) requires a special removal process, so your technician will do this if you are a return customer), and make sure your hands are clean.


If you have any fungal nail infections, open sores or other wounds on or around your fingers then it is recommended that you do not have a Gelac manicure. If in doubt, speak to your nail technician.

What to expect from a Gelac manicure:

  • Your therapist will clean, prep and lightly file your nails and tidy your cuticles. 
  • The application of a base coat dehydrates the nail bed and prepares the nail for optimum adhesion
  • A thin layer of Gelac polish is applied to your fingers and cured under UV light for three minutes
  • The same is done for the other hand, then the thumbs are painted and cured separately
  • The application and three-minute curing process is repeated on fingers then thumbs
  • A top coat is applied to fingers then thumbs, with curing of one minute
  • A cleanser is briefly used on each nail to remove any tacky residue - leaving you with beautiful nails

Hot tip:

Keep in touch with your nail technician so you can be first to know about new colour ranges.

Our Gelac experience:

We were lucky enough to have Gelac expert and all-round lovely lady Jess Marks from Polished in Crawley come along to our offices to glam up our fingernails whilst we worked.

Gelac takes a little longer than a regular manicure, but, unlike traditional polishes, Gelac is cured by UV, and so it's dry instantly – allowing us to get straight back to work without fear of smudging our new nails on our keyboards.

Sassy Spy opted for a slick of Silver Splendour; and was delighted with the results; Stylish Spy went for all-out glamour with a generous helping of Drop Red Gorgeous.

Jess is a perfectionist and explained how important it is to ensure the nail bed is thoroughly primed to receive the gel. Once the prep was over, the application didn't take long at all. Curing the nails was fantastically easy, and it was just tremendous to know your nails would be bone-dry at the end – no flapping of fingers or accidental smudging.

The range of colours is good, and I opted for a bright red – with stunning results. The first layer of colour is applied thinly, and the result looks a little uneven and pale. But, Jess assured me this was the optimum method of application to ensure a tight bond. The second layer is thicker, and built the colour to a rich, vibrant red. The top coat left me with the shiniest nails I have ever had!"

14 days later - the verdict:

In our experience, the Gelac manicure was more of a week-long success than a 14-day triumph. We removed the varnish after nine days as it had begun to crack around day seven. We also found that our nail growth affected the "perfect manicure" look after around a week.

However, for those first seven days we were pleased as punch with the results, and the gel really was terribly sturdy. Despite parenting, cleaning, washing up and other day-to-day activities, our nails remained chip-free throughout.

Gelac would be perfect just before a week's holiday; you wouldn't have to worry about chipping or cracking. If you're going away for two weeks, you may want to take your Gelac remover with you.


Shy Spy

14th March 2014

Spy Likes:

Instant results; jasmine and frangipani scents; hot steam rooms; a good selection of magazines; modernist decor.

Spy Dislikes:

Whale noises (on CD, not in the pool hopefully); hard massage beds; tiny toilet cubicles; being spoken to like a child; lukewarm pools.

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