So you want to re-create your very own salon quality gel nails (we recommend Semilac Gel Nails) and one of the best accessories any nail artist needs to own to achieve that high-quality shine is a Gel nail lamp.
There are many different varieties out there, with all their own features and qualities, so which is best for you? Well keep on reading for our complete guide on Gel Nail Lamps.
Are Nail Lamps safe to use?
If you’re new to nail lamps and worried about the types of light they emit – you’re not the first! Many nail art lovers want to create the ultimate nail art but are worried about the UV and LED rays that are a bi-product of the nail lamp.
We all know what UVA (Ultraviolet) rays are right? It’s the invisible light we all soak in on the beach in the hopes for a glorious sun-kissed glow by the end of our first day. This type of light has been proven to damage our skin and increase the risk of skin cancer, especially if we are exposed to large amounts of it regularly.
However, this is slightly different when it comes to nail lamps. Both UV and LED nail lamps emit UV rays. UV rays in LED nail lamps are emitted in much smaller quantities and actually going and sitting outside for 10 minutes, you would be exposed to more UV rays than you would holding your fingers under a LED light for the same length of time.
But LED nail lamps take less time to cure gel nails, my hands are therefore spending less time under the light?
They may be spending less time under the LED light but that’s because the UV rays are generally much stronger in LED nail lamps and so the curing time is faster because of this.
To ensure you receive the best and safest treatment, we would advise to always treat the experience as though you were going out into the sun and to wear sunscreen on your hands to protect your hands and nails regardless.
If you are still concerned about the safety of your hands and nails then you could always look into using fingerless gloves.
Types of Gel Nail Lamps
You may have come across both UV and LED nail lamps during your search and both provide excellent results that can give you the finish you’re after.
What’s the difference between UV nail lamps and LED nail lamps?
There are a few key differences between the two types of nail lamps; prices naturally can differ, as well as the amount of lifetime power they each provide. Here’s some information to make your search a bit easier.
- Most LED nail lamps can last up to 50,000 hours of usage
- LED nail lamp bulbs don’t last as long as UV lamps and are replaced more often
- Not as effective with Gel nails or clear type polishes
- Does cure gel nails faster than UV lamps
- Easy to clean
- Some models have a timed setting for either 30 or 60 seconds
- Can have up to 30,000 hours of lifetime usage
- Bulb lifespan last for years without needing to be changed
- Available in power outputs of 9W to 48W
- Cost effective compared to some LED nail lamp models
- Can sometimes take longer to cure gel nails
- Curing gel nails is much more effective under UV lamps
- Easy to clean
- Can easily provide up to 30,000 hours of power
- Models with both settings have up to 3 curing modes
- Low heat modes let you gradually increase power, saving on burning & wrinkling
- Dual light options for curing Semilac gels.
- Evenly cures all nail products
- Some models are equipped with motion sensors to save power
The choice is yours, however it really does depend on your budget and maybe even how much use you will get out of the product, but seeing as these products can last for years, that shouldn’t be too much of a deciding factor.
What type of budget do I need for a Gel Nail Lamp?
If you’re happy to invest in a professional gel nail lamp you could easily put aside £55 or higher, depending on the model and features. However if you want something to get you started, even gel nail lamps priced at just £15.99 are still worth your investment and can still create long-lasting, salon finished nails.
Does the Wattage of the nail lamp make a difference in quality?
Absolutely not, the wattage of the nail lamp simply tells you what type of bulb you need, if you ever come to replacing it. Of course, should a nail lamp have really low wattage, perhaps less than 10W, there may be some polishes that require a higher wattage for a better cure when using gel nails.
Can I use my UV/LED lamp on non-gel polish?
There’s nothing stopping you from drying your regular nail polish under your UV/LED lamp, however, these lamps are created specifically to ‘cure’ gel nails as they contain polymer which needs this type of drying method to create the salon-finish. Normal nail polish won’t dry any faster than usual, so we would suggest letting regular nails dry naturally.
Keep reading to understand why a nail lamp is quite important, especially for gel nails.
The difference between Cured and Dried nails
Do you want beautiful salon gel nails at home but still not sure why you need a gel nail lamp?
To ‘cure’ gel nails, is to harden or set them. This step is a natural part of the treatment to make sure your nails don’t get damaged, wiped away or chipped during the time you have them. When gel nails are cured properly you can go about your routine as normal without worrying about ruining your nails.
When you apply nail polish it can appear dry within 10 minutes or so, some nail polishes even claim to be dry within 60 seconds! If you were to start rummaging through your bag or even take a hot bath soon after, you might find your nails have been smudged or chipped.
Nails take hours to cure and so if you’re spending time and money on quality gel nail polish, you want to make sure it’s done correctly.