Can You File Nails with Gel Polish?

A gel application is the perfect treatment for anyone who uses their hands a lot and doesn’t have time to keep reapplying fresh polish whenever an inevitable chip occurs. When it comes to the question of which nail polish lasts the longest, gel is a fantastic bet. 

No matter how many emails you type on your keyboard or how many dishes you wash, your nails will usually stay in tip-top condition for a good few weeks. Maybe even longer if you care for them properly (we have some top tips below). 

But what about when your nails grow between gel applications? If you have ever wondered if you can cut gel nails or if you can file nails while you have a gel manicure, it’s time to read on. 

While gel manicures are much hardier than conventional polish, they are not entirely indestructible, especially when it comes to nail clippers and nail files. In fact, these two common tools in any nail kit can destroy your gel manicure. 

Following these nail polish hacks will keep your gel nails looking happy and healthy for longer. For added success, always choose the best long-lasting nail varnish.

What This Article Covers:

Can You Shorten Your Nails with a Gel Polish Manicure?

Sometimes a gel manicure can stand the test of time and last a good few weeks. If this happens, you might start to notice that your nails are starting to grow. A knee-jerk reaction might be to take out the nail clippers, but this is a bad idea if you want to retail a healthy manicure. 

If you have wondered “can I cut my nails with gel polish?”, read on.

When you cut a nail that has a gel manicure you break the seal between the nail and the gel polish (which is set by special UV light). Once you do this, the nail becomes vulnerable to potential snagging and your gel polish will likely chip, rendering the manicure scruffy in no time. 

It’s advised that when it gets to the point when your nails need cutting, that you opt for a new manicure, or at least re-apply your gel application to the particular nail. This also allows you to check your nail health. If your nails are flakey or brittle, it might be time to give them a break. 

What About Filing? 

So, if clipping a long nail with gel polish on it is a no-go, then what about filing the nail?

Unfortunately, filing a nail with gel polish on it is not ideal either. When you file a gel nail, you also run the risk of breaking the seal between the gel coat and the nail and this will naturally make your manicure more susceptible to damage. 

Since gel applications adhere to your nails, anything you do to them can also impact the nail beneath and cause potential damage to your own nails, rendering them weaker over time. Unless you are a nail technician with proper training, you could cause more harm than good.

The best thing that you can do for gel nails is to care for them properly from the get-go and get a fresh manicure every two or so weeks. Depending on how fast your nails grow and how well you look after the gel manicure, they can last up to three weeks. 

Tips to Make Gel Polish Last Longer 

If you’ve wondered whether nail polish chips, it really depends. All nail varnish can chip if it isn’t applied correctly, and gel is much the same. However, it’s certainly more sturdy than conventional polishes.  

If you have ever wondered how to make nail polish last longer, follow these tips.

  • An extra coat: Add an extra topcoat to your gel application for extra protection. Rather than stressing about how to fix nail polish, protect your manicure from the get-go. 
  • Avoid hot water: Super hot water could erode the quality of your gel manicure over time. As a rule of thumb, wear gloves while doing dishes and avoid super hot baths or showers. This is also how to stop your nail polish from bubbling.
  • Care for your cuticles: Before getting a gel manicure or doing one yourself, give those cuticles some love. Invest in a good quality cuticle oil and make it part of your pampering routine. This ensures a healthy base for the gel polish.
  • Keep nails happy and hydrated: Any manicure is only going to be as good as the nails underneath it. To keep your manicure shiny and flawless for longer, take care of nail health and choose a hydrating hand and nail cream. 
  • Choose good quality products: Choosing high-quality nail polish (whether conventional or gel) is the best way to ensure that your manicure lasts. Cheaper polish is often prone to chipping and can look tatty after even a day or two.

can i file nails with gel polish

If you have ever wondered why does nail polish crack, there are many reasons, including waterlogged nail beds (so always keep hands super dry before a manicure), brittle or dry nails, and subpar quality polishes prone to chipping. 

Luckily, a gel application, might fix some of these problems and leave your nails looking fabulous for longer. 

Gel is certainly a fantastic option if you are on the hunt for the best chip-free nail polish. While it might not be completely indestructible, it will certainly give you a longer-lasting finish. If you’ve wondered why does my nail polish peel off, gel polish might be the answer. 

If you have your own gel nail kit, you can change your manicure more regularly. In the event of a chip or a snagged nail, you can also take off the gel coat, file or cut the nail, and redo it. 

While learning how to apply gel polish might take a little time, it’s certainly an investment worth exploring if you love changing your nails often. 

Keeping Gel Manicures in Top Condition 

So, how long can you keep nail polish on? This depends on the brand you’re using, how often you use your hands, and the health of your nails. While some manicures will last for up to three weeks, others might chip sooner. 

So, how to fix chipped gel nail polish? How do I remove hair dye from nail polish? Your best bet is to redo the nail completely. This will avoid any damage to the seal and ensure that the manicure retains durability. 

But, as a quick fix, if you can’t get to the salon or do not have time to redo the nail, you could pop some conventional nail polish above the gel coat and seal it with a clear topcoat. While this might not look perfect, it will do until you can redo the nail with gel.

can you file your nails with gel polish


What nail polish lasts the longest? 

If you have ever wondered what is the longest-lasting nail polish, your best bet is a gel coat or nail lacquer, which is thicker than conventional polishes. Also ensure that you apply a few coats of polish and seal off with a clear topcoat. 

How long does nail varnish last?

Like most makeup products, nail varnish too has a shelf life. So, how to tell if nail polish is old? The main telltale sign will be the texture. If it is gloopy and very thick, it has probably passed its sell-by-date. Very old polish may also start to crumble and you might struggle to open the lid.

How can I keep my manicured nails clean?

If you’ve wondered how to keep white nail polish clean, your best bet is to use a great topcoat as a seal or to get a gel application, sealed under a UV light. You can also make an at-home soak and dip your nails in a bowl with water and teatree oil.

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