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A Deep Dive: Structured Gel Manicure

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

Welcome to part 2 of my new series, A Deep Dive, where I break down each of my services individually to give you, the consumer or the nail tech, a better idea of how I do my day-to-day work.

By far, my MOST popular service is the Structured Gel Manicure. Today, I will break down this service, its benefits, and my technique.

Generally, someone who receives this service:

  • Is looking to grow their natural nails

  • Have thin, brittle nails that break easily

  • Are sometimes looking for something that will help them to cease their nail-biting

  • Are not looking to add significant length to their nails in one sitting

  • Are also not looking to get their nails done every two weeks and would like more time between services

Now I want to point out that, right off the bat, the name of this manicure can be misleading to some. So I cannot stress enough how important it is to thoroughly read service descriptions before making a choice as to what you want or need.

A structured gel manicure, by my definition and based on what I actually do in the salon, is essentially an overlay.

This means a thick (structure) layer of base gel is applied over the nail plate to give more strength to the natural nail.

I use a soft gel base layer to give your natural nail protection as well as maintain the nail’s integrity. Soft gel is incredibly flexible and can move and give more with the natural nail’s movement while remaining strong like a hard gel.

The ability to move with the natural fluctuations of the nail plate allows for my clients to grow their natural nails out longer than they have ever been able to with gel polish alone. This also allows better adhesion of gel polish. Many of my clients’ manicure services last upwards of a month with no chips, lifting, or breaks.

All of my services begin with my dry prep, including the strengthening gel manicure.

After I complete my dry prep, I cleanse the nail plate with alcohol, and I dehydrate and prime the nails. Then I apply the structured gel base layer. This layer is sculpted onto each nail and is not a thin, quick swipe over the nail plate. It has a thickness and a structure to it. After all ten nails have a base layer of soft gel, you can apply any gel color of your choice.

I use a variety of gel polish brands as any gel will adhere to this base layer. I apply two coats of color and then apply a layer of topcoat. The completion of all services includes the application of nourishing cuticle oil handmade by myself.

I hope this paints a better picture of what receiving a structured gel manicure from me would look like and I encourage you to follow along with nail inspiration on my Instagram and Facebook @KouklaMouNails.

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