How long do gel nails last?

by Sylvia

how long do gel nails last

A while ago I spoke to you on how I tried out gel nails for the first time and listed all the advantages and disadvantages of gel nails. Below is what my first arty gel nails looked like shortly after application.

nail art

Now after a few months and still going strong with my second application of gel nails, I have a good idea how they really work and how easy / difficult it is to remove or maintain them.

how long do gel nails last

Have  a look at the gel nails above. They are now more than 5 weeks old and still going strong. No tears, no splits and no sign of the gel loosening at all. What is appearent of course, is the regrowth of my old nails. Still from a distance my nails look long and good and I still get daily pleasure of looking at the nail art. Considering that these nails traveled several countries, rummaged through suitcases and shopped in many shops, it’s amazing that none of them have broken yet or shown any sign of wear (apart from the visible regrowth of course).

Here is what they looked like at the 3.5 weeks point in Berlin.

arty nails

Gel on your toe nails

There is also a big difference between the gel on my nails and my toes, with my toe nails showing significantly less outgrowth. These will easily last a month.

gel polish for your toes

Removal of gel nails

As I was going to replace my gel nails with some new arty ones I went to the nail salon to get the gel removed. There it is not such a cumbersome process as they have special nail baths which they fill with acetone and I only had to hold my fingers in there for a few minutes.  The remainder of the polish was removed by file.

As I got many comments that your nails weaken a lot from the gel, I made sure to test my nails and see how they felt. I did not notiice a huge dfference in strength at all, so I guess that your nails can cope after just one application. This may be different after multiple applications though and may be different for your nails.


My experiment with gel nails has been a huge success. I’m thrilled with how well they look even after a few weeks and how strong your nails become when the gel is on. I love the fact that they look good for multiple weeks and that they are super low maintenance.

Even though the initial expense is higher, you will need far fewer new applications so it works out quite economical. The added benefit is of course that you can opt for bright colors or arty nails without having to worry that they will chip quickly. Although I may give my nails a little vacation, I am certain I will use gel again!


I’m always curious about your experiences so feel free to share below!


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Theresa

This is why I always do a Pink and White or have the color and design done just on the tip. As the nail bed grows out it is not as noticeable. If you have the Acrylic Powder done it is dry immediately and does not yellow. Stays looking fresh for a very long time.


2 Sylvia

Great tip Theresa. Thanks!


3 Greetje

I used to fill up the gap of the outgrow as I couldn’t stand any outgrow at all. So after 1 or 1,5 week I filed the end of the gel near my cuticle, flat, applied a filler and put on nail varnish. Nail varnish applied over gel nails also lasts very long.


4 Sylvia

Yes, if you want to have them perfect, keeping your nails well-groomed remains a lot of work….


5 Annette

I have tried gel nails many years ago and it was a one time experience for me.
My nails are quite strong and I prefer a natural, classic look, that’s why I usually wear very light nail varnish.

Annette | Lady of Style


6 Sylvia

I was always a fan of the really natural look as well but have been really enjoying my arty nails!


7 Wilma

Gel nails were a disaster for me. Although they looked great for several weeks, my nails were so brittle after removal, that I had to cut them very short. It took months for my nails to regain their strength and length. Never again!


8 33

echoing Wilma, that’s what I am afraid, too, getting brittle nails after taking the acrylic off.

I admire those with fun or artful acrylic nails but I can’t do maintainance and get bored easily. Besides, they are not cheap.

at the end of the day i decide not to experiment and just continue to chew my own natural nails as calcium supplement. 😉


9 Antoinette

I am 17 days into my first experience of gel nails and I must say I’m delighted. I got them done because I am on a 3 week vacation. Yes, there is some re growth but normally by now I would have had to spend a few hours maintaining a good look as they would invariably have chipped or split by now. I am nervous of what condition they will be in when the gels come off but I’ve been using Jessica nail oil and cuticle conditioner daily in the hope that will help.


10 Sylvia

Thanks for your feedback Antoinette. I have now completely removed the gel, and yes the nails are definitely weaker, but it’s not too bad. I applied some new nail polish which has already chipped and I find that a lot more annoying than the outgrowth!


11 Lisa

I’m about to get my third consecutive gel manicure done. I know people say your nails are weaker after removal, but to be perfectly honest, I want to look groomed and I don’t have a lot of time to spend on my nails.

And my nails weren’t very strong to begin with! This way, I have lovely nails for three weeks at a time, and they’ve never looked so good.


12 michelle

I have infills every 4 weeks because I carngrow them as they just brake I don’t think I could be without gel nails now I never have to worry about them chipping and always look nice


13 Theresa

I still have mine done with the gel. I love how my nails look and I get complements on the all of the time. I swear by have a french nail done with design added. It really make the the regrowth bearable by hardly being noticed my on lookers in less they get up close.

Here is a design I had done last month.


14 Karen Daniel

I love gel nails. Having long colorful nails gives me a feeling of power and strength and self confidence. It is expensive but I always feel so good afterward. I try to give my nails a rest after 3-4 gel apps. Right now I’m sorting a deep sparkly turquoise blue. It’s always fun to choose s new color!


15 Annmarie honse

I’ve been doing gel nails for about 5 months now I love the fact that they stay on for awhile without no chips I love gel nails and will when I go to the nail salon I will always ask for a gel manicure


16 Erica

My gel nails started chipping after a week. I loved how they looked but I guess nail polish isn’t for me.


17 Shena

Mine are lifting up from the bed after a week. It’s great how others last so long, but I’m disappointed because mine only lasted a week.


18 Gale

Was it gel polish or gel nails? After 10 days, my gel polish gets loose. I use a lot of oils that contribute to that. I plan on having gel nails done this time instead of gel polish.


19 Sylvia

Gel polish.


20 Gia Thompson

I’ve had solar tips put on two times, a year apart. The first time I was not very careful and it showed. This time I have been more careful of them and after a month except for the regrowth they look really good. When I removed the first set my natural nails were weaker but I kept wanting to go for another set so a year later I did and I love them. I think it gives a girl confidence! Don’t know about the future but chances are good I will do it again.


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