Does Gel Nail Polish Chip?

Considering that gel nail polish is so durable, a question like does gel nail polish chip is worrisome. In this article, we are going to evaluate possible reasons that may be the cause of your short-lived gel nails. 

The gel nails provide the flawless finish that every woman wants and therefore doing your nails with gel nail polish is such a rewarding spoil. So why does gel nail polish chip after you’ve manicured your nails, or is this something you’ve yet to experience?  

Does gel nail polish chip because the manicure was poor or because the gel wasn’t good quality. Or perhaps we’ve completely missed something. Let’s get into it.

What This Article Covers:

Do Gel Nails Chip?

Yes, they do chip. If your manicure is not applied properly, the gel polish will unfortunately chip. Leaving your beautiful manicure ruined. 

They could also chip if the gel polish is not of good quality. Or if you are constantly working with your hands unprotected or if the topcoat wears off. 

How does chipped nail polish look?

When your gel nail polish chip, bits of the layered color polish falls off the nails. The color flow is disrupted with missing pieces leaving your once perfectly manicured nails looking horrendous and tacky.

Leaving the chipped nails unattended to projects somewhat of an untidy image, so it would be best to get it sorted as soon as possible.  

What causes gel nail polish to chip?

Gel nail polish is likely to chip if your hands are often submerged in water. Like when you hand wash dishes or hand wash clothing. Or if you are a hairdresser by trade and consistently wash the client's hair. It could also occur if you work in the garden often.

Any type of physical activity with your naked hands that could cause wear and tear of the manicure could result in chipped gel nail polish. The water and dirt will wear off the top coat and eventually get under the polish.

How to stop your nails from chipping

Gel nails are extremely popular and fashionable so to have this service in your salon is advisable. But to keep clients from returning with chips, you want to get it right the first time. Follow these tips to help prevent unwanted comebacks.

For the natural nail

  • Push back cubicle
  • Grab a medium grit buffer
  • Then lightly buff the surface of the natural nail
  • Good grit on the nail helps the layered polish application stick properly
  • Take a wipe and clean all the dust of the natural nail
  • Apply a layer of protein bond on the whole nail. It will help prevent your nail from bending and it will also help prevent the chipping
  • Apply a manicure base-like foundation. Thin coat. Cure 30 seconds
  • Take your color and put an even coat thinly on the nail. This aids good curing
  • Apply the second coat of color – cure for 30 seconds
  • Apply a topcoat. Nice and thin, make sure everything is covered. Do a final cure for one minute
  • Take a manicure to cleanse. Wipe sticky layer off the top

Acrylic nail

After you have applied the acrylic nail, proceed as follows;

  • File nail with medium grit
  • Wipe the nail to clean the dust off
  • Do not buff. You do not want a smooth nail
  • Add a thin layer of protein bond
  • Add two layers of colors

Following this process is what will make your nail polish last longer and it will hold for its expected duration of two to three weeks.

Nail Health for Gel Polish 

Although it is completely safe to wear high-quality gel nails polish long-term. It is the removal of the gel polishes that need to be done correctly every time. If you do not follow the preferred process, it will result in trauma to the nail plate and you will be left with thin painful nails.

If the nail plate is flawed, the “spongy” nail bed will start to reveal itself and the product will not bond properly with this part of the nail. It will lead to chipped, peeling nails and another reason which results in nail polish cracks.

Fingers Under UV Light 

If your hands are not positioned properly, this will mean that the polish layers will not cure properly. And will inevitably result in the gel nail polish chipping. Hand placement is extremely important.

Slowly and carefully insert your hand under the lamp because you do not want to damage the product. While inserting, slide it flush on the base place and feel for the indentation so that you know where to stop.

Your hand should be flat and fingers evenly spaced each time a coating is being cured. This will allow the beam of light to hit the gel polish directly while placed under the bulbs. We do not want any shadowed areas as those will not be cured properly and won’t have the best long-lasting nail polish result. 

How long does nail polish last? Gel nail polish should be durable, shiny, and perfect for a good two weeks solid.

how to fix chipped gel nail polish

Curing Time

Curing can be very tricky and if you don’t get the curing right, it’s all going to come off. You do not want soft, fudgy, cloudy nails from under-curing. And you do not want your gel polish to be discolored, brittle, and eventually chipped from over-curing. 

The result of the perfect curing time is highly dependent on the gel polish and light used. If it looks shiny, smooth, and natural, it’s likely to be cured properly, but to know this 100%, we suggest you touch it. 

Under-curing could be another reason why nail polish bubbles up. It looks like small holes or air pockets underneath the gel and is where the bond has been lost. This can often occur more commonly on the thumbs, due to awkward hand placement in the lamp.

Choosing the Right UV Lamp

If you are still not achieving the lasting result due to chipping and peeling, after following all the correct steps. Check your lamp. 

It is best to buy a lamp that is the same brand of polish as Orly gel polish and their Orly mini gel lamp. This is preferred because every nail polish is unique to its formula, using a variety of polish brands could result in a different curing time. 

So checking your lamp could be the answer to how to keep nail polish from peeling off and prevent chipping at the same time. 

Seal the Deal

Sealing your hard work properly is so important. Make sure that the topcoat is brushed slightly beyond where you started applying the product. Around the cuticle and sidewalls will seal it well, as it will eventually wear away so the stronger the better. 

Also, confirm that you’ve capped the edge before you do the final cure to ensure no shrinkage occurs away from the free edge. This will safeguard the full expected duration of your gel nail polish. 

So if you are wondering can you cut nails with gel polish or if you are questioning can you file nails with gel polish, you could, but this will break the seal. So you would need to go through a few steps like cleaning, gentle buff, dust removal, and another layer of topcoat to re-seal the edges.

Even though the polish you use is high quality, dishwashing and gardening should be done with gloves preferably. And to add another tip, alcohol-free sanitizer is best for us so that the protective coat does not wear out. 

That added protection along with cuticle oil will prevent chipping and lifting of the gel nail polish. The oil will also protect your nails from the chemicals and prevent the gel from drying out.

gel nail polish chip


With all that said, gel nail polish absolutely can chip and lift. And if this happens when you are out, best you have some glue close by. 

Using glue as a quick fix is one of the best old-school gel nail polish hacks that is still used today. You need to know how to fix chipped nail polish for these unexpected frustrating situations. 

But as we now know, all this can be completely avoided if we use high-quality gel nail polish. If we take our time doing the prep work properly, and if we follow the appropriate curing guide followed by taking good care of our nails after the fact. We would be good to go, wouldn't we?

With our tips, you can also learn how to keep white nail polish clean and how to remove hair dye from nail polish.

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