Are Gel Extensions Really Bad for Your Nails? We Asked the Experts

This one was my number one burning question. After all, gel extensions have kind of a bad rap. According to Tong, though, it’s undeserved. “Many writers that are not nail professionals have spread a misconception that these products destroy your nails. This is not true. I understand that there are instances where damage can happen, but a lot of the time, it’s upkeep on the client’s part that’s not being done.” 

“If you want to have gel nails, long extensions, gel extensions, acrylic extensions, sculpted acrylics, or even a simple gel manicure, you need to be about that life, meaning these types of enhancements need mindfulness and care.” Tong likens nail enhancements to hair and lash extensions in that maintenance is necessary. “You must be prepared for the care, carefulness, and mindfulness it takes to live that long nail life,” she says. “You cannot use your enhanced nails as a tool to tear open plastic wrap and so on!”

Maintenance also means returning to the salon regularly. “Enhancements need to be filled or redone every 2–4 weeks depending on how fast your nails grow. Don’t let that extension grow beyond the nail bed and wonder why the weight of it tore off your natural nail.” 

Tong’s last piece of advice? Don’t pick or peel. Ever. “This is the most damaging thing you can do to yourself. Get yourself a fill when you’re due for a fill, and if you don’t want to get a fill, then have your nail professional remove the enhancement.” 

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