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We all know the struggle of doing our nails at home. You’ve achieved the perfect manicure, but the drying time is taking ages, leaving you stuck in the same position for longer than anyone would like to admit. Enter at home drying lamps. One of the best inventions since nail polish itself! If you don’t have time to make it to the salon, or just prefer doing your manis in your PJs, getting a personal drying lamp for your nails is a great investment for home use. That’s why today we wanted to share the best LED lamp for gel nails!
There are so many different types of nail drying lamps on the market right now which can make it overwhelming to figure out what one is best for you. That’s why today we’re covering everything you need to know when taking your at home manicure to the next level.
What’s the difference between Gel polish and regular polish?
Gel nail polish needs to be dried using either an LED or a UV lamp, whereas regular polish can air dry. Using an LED/UV lamp on regular polish will not help speed up the drying time.
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LED vs UV Nail Lamps
There are two popular types of nail dryer lamps on the market currently. LED and UV. LED stands for light-emitting diode and are quickly replacing UV (ultraviolet light) dryers for a couple of reasons.
UV light dryers take longer to dry your nails (usually around 2+ minutes). Whereas LED dryers only take up to 60 seconds. This alone has prompted a lot of salons to use LED over UV the last couple of decades.
Additionally, hours of use varies greatly between UV lamps and LEDs. UV bulbs typically need to be changed after 10,000 hours of use whereas LED lamps can typically last 50,000 hours.
Are LED Lamps safe?
Given that LED lamps still emit UV light, some of you may have questions regarding the safety of these products and if they can contribute to skin cancer.
The short answer is yes, they can. While LED lamps are considered safe to use by consumers, your skin is still getting uv exposure. Experts say this exposure is quite minimal however to be safe, when you plan on using a LED lamp, lather your hands with SPF before using.
Some gel polishes are not compatible with certain types of LED lamps. Therefore it’s important to understand what you’re purchasing if you’re planning on mixing and matching nail polish brands in your manicures.
Another thing to consider is getting a lamp that has different drying times and timer settings. This gives you more options depending on the type of base coat, top coat, poly gels, hard gels, builder gel etc. you are using. Different types of gels can have different curing times under the lamp.
Personally, a feature I can’t live without is an automatic sensor. Many of the best gel nail lamps currently on the market turn on automatically when you put your hand inside and start counting. I find that this feature makes it incredibly easy to dry your nails since you don’t have to pre-set a time.
What watt LED lamp is best for gel nails?
Typically, you want to look for an LED lamp with 24-36 watts or higher. The higher the wattage the faster your nails will dry.
With that said, most professional lamps will be at least 36 watts or higher, therefore if you’re looking for a lamp that is the same grade as one used in salon look for that range or higher.
Can Gel Lamps cure regular nail polish?
The short answer is no. Gel lamps will not help your regular polish to dry faster. It is also not recommended to apply a gel top coat over regular polish since moisture can be trapped under the top coat.
Best Regular polish that will give you a salon grade finish
If you’re not quite ready to give an LED lamp a try, we recommend starting with:
Essie Gel Couture
This vegan nail polish can give you a salon grade finish without an LED/UV lamp. It claims to give you 14 days of wear with unbeatable shine!
This nail polish has a lot of incredible reviews and it’s a great price point! This is a perfect starter polish that is easy to remove and will still give you that great salon look.
How to remove gel polish
Gel polish offers such a lovely finish to your nails and can even help them to grow stronger. However getting the gel off can be another story.
Here are some tools we recommend using:
To help along the removal process, using a gel dissolver can help greatly. To use this product, just brush the remover on top of the polish and wait for it to dissolve. No need to use foil or acetone.
Pro Tip: before using this product, file the polish down so that it can work faster.
Another tried and true way of removing gel polish is with pure acetone and a quality nail polish remover kit.
The combination of using these two products together can really help speed up the removal process! The kit will help keep the acetone in place on your nails and also comes with some tools that can better lift the polish.
Best LED Lamp For Gel Nails
Let’s discuss the best LED lamp for gel nails. When you’re ready to purchase your first lamp, the first thing I recommend is heading over to Amazon. They offer great introduction lamps at more affordable prices.
This is an awesome way to understand what features you like and dislike before buying a professional grade curing lamp from a salon or beauty supply store.
Tips for shopping on Amazon
Some quick tips before shopping on Amazon to make your experience that much better:
- Read the reviews – This is a MUST! Always read the reviews before purchasing an item. I always go for the items with a lot of positive reviews so I know it’s been tried and tested.
- Read the Features – Always read the features section, this will tell you exactly what the lamp comes with and if it’s compatible with your gel polish.
- Read the FAQ section – I always scan this section to see what types of general questions other buyers ask. It’s a great way to get additional insight into the product.
Best Affordable Option: LKE Nail Dryer
This lamp is by far on of the most affordable home gel manicure lamp on the market. With over 50,000 positive reviews, users rave about how easy it is. It’s a great beginner lamp for home manicures. Here are some of the features:
- 40w LED nail lamp
- 3 time settings (30, 60 and 99 seconds)
- Motion sensor
- 21 UV bulbs for even drying
Typically professional grade LED lamps will have a higher wattage with more LED bulbs, meaning a decreased cure time (drying time). The SUN X9 is a great option, due to it’s price point and features:
- 220W with 57 lamp beads
- 4 timer settings
- Large digital LCD touch screen
- Motion sensor
Being able to speed up the curing process by drying both hands at once it a total game changer! This is a great option when doing at home manicures, on yourself, friends or even clients!
Some of the unique features:
- 178 watts with 42 LED bulbs that last 50,000 hours
- LCD screen with digital time display
- 4 timer settings
Having a gel lamp that you can travel with is a game changer! Whether you need a last minute touch up or experienced a chip while away, bringing a mini lamp with you can be a life saver!
I love this little travel lamp due to the compact design and and the high wattage for such a small gel nail lamp.
Some of the key features include:
- 8 watts of power
- 2 timer settings
- Dual light source beads
Best Gel Polish Kits to get started
If you’re new to gel polish, you may want to consider investing in a Gel polish kit. Not only do they kits include a nail lamp, they also come with compatible gel polish and other fun tools like nail buffers, tweezers etc!
Best Gel Kit: JODSONE Gel Nail Polish Kit
This is one of my favourite gel kits. The amount of product you receive for the price is great value. This kit includes:
- 32 Colors
- Base coat, top coat and magnifying coat
- 150W Lamp with 45 light beads
- Additional nail art products
Nude LED Kit: Gellen Gel Nail Polish Kit
I know there are a lot of nude lovers out there so I wanted to include a great kit that includes some stunning colors! This kit comes with:
- 12 nude colors
- 72watt LED lamp
- Manicure accessories to do nail art
With so many options out there on the market, we hope you got some clarity with our opinions on the best LED lamp for gel nails! All of these products have unique features depending on what you’re looking for. At home LED lamps make doing your nails that much easier and give you a salon grade finish from the comfort of your own home!
Want some nail art inspiration?
Looking for some awesome nail art inspiration for your next manicure? Check out our dedicated page to all things nail art! We have everything to general nail tips to seasonal nail inspiration! Get your best nails ever with our tips and tricks!
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