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What Is A Structured Manicure?

06 Sep 2023
What Is A Structured Manicure?

There are many different types of manicures, from soft or hard gel to acrylic and dip powder. Each manicure has its specific steps to application.

A structured manicure uses a builder gel product underneath the polish to create a stronger hold making the nails durable and longer lasting. Because of its thick viscosity, it lets you shape and extend the nail as desired.

So what is a structured manicure? The team at NotPolish is here to give you a full guide to its application, price, durability, and more.

What Is Builder Gel?

Before we get into detail about anything else let's talk about builder gel. This is the main difference when getting a structured manicure instead of a regular gel manicure. Builder gel is thicker than other gel-based products and looks rubbery because of its ingredients.

It has ingredients such as oligomers and monomers which are found in acrylic nail formulas. It also has photoinitiators, which is what makes gel cure and set under UV and LED light. Builder gel gives extra strength and durability.

What Is A Structured Manicure’s Application Process?

A structured manicure process will vary on the products used, the manicurist, and the desired results. For the most part, the application process will have the same steps no matter where you go. Let's dig into the steps and why they’re necessary!

1. Clean and Prep The Nails

This is done no matter the type of manicure you are getting. Old polish is removed if necessary. Nails are then filed to the shape desired, and cuticles are pushed back and trimmed if needed.

Lastly, buffing is performed, and nails are wiped down with an alcohol wipe to ensure there is no residue left.

Prepping is an important part of a manicure as it allows the product to attach and create the best retention. Not prepping the nails correctly could result in nails not properly adhering and early lifting. Once nails are clean and dry, they’re ready for the next step.

2. Apply Base Coat And Builder Gel

This step may not be required depending on the products being used. Your nail technician will know if a base coat is necessary. If it is necessary, the base coat will be applied in a thin layer and cured. A base coat is used to give the polish a better surface to adhere to, which allows for longer wear. It also creates a barrier between the nail and the gel to prevent damage and staining.

Just because a base coat is not placed does not mean your nails won't last as long or aren't done properly. Each gel product line is different – you will have to trust your nail tech’s expertise or experiment to find the best option for you.

3. Apply Builder Gel

The gel will be applied in thin, even layers to the center of the nails. This will create a stronger and more defined shape. The builder gel is then cured under an LED lamp.

Sometimes, gel products leave a tacky feeling once cured. Wiping down or filing the builder gel will make it ready for the next step.

Builder gel is used to create length, thickness, and strength for nails while still keeping that natural appearance. It also offers a protection layer for your nails from external factors like chemicals or heat. 

4. Apply Gel Polish

It's time to add the color! Usually, two coats of gel polish are all that's needed. Once the polish is cured, a top coat is applied and cured to add shine. The top coat is important as it provides a seal to protect the color from chipping and cracking.

Gel polish is great because it's long-lasting compared to regular polish. It also holds up to two weeks or more without any peeling, chipping, or fading. The only time you should have to redo your gel polish is because the nails have grown out.

When it comes to color, the choices are endless! If you have a difficult time finding colors you like, check out a go-to nail brand for salon professionals!

5. Hydrate Cuticles

This step helps not only keep the cuticles in good condition but also minimizes the chances of your gel polish lifting.

It is essential to keep your cuticles hydrated and moisturized, so as the final step to a structured manicure, place cuticle oil over the cuticles and rub it in well. The nail tech will also moisturize the hands along with a massage.

Hydrated cuticles also help prevent hangnails, which can become painful if infected.

6. Removal

As tempting as it may seem, picking your nails off is not advised. It can cause damage to the nail underneath.

To avoid weakening the nails or causing breakage, 90 percent of the nails should be filed and the rest soaked off. Soak a cotton ball or pad in pure acetone and place it on your nails. Most nail techs place aluminum foil over the pads to keep the liquid on the nails.

How Long Does It Last?

A professionally-applied manicure using high-quality products can last anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks. Getting a fill-in every three to four weeks is recommended. Allowing your nails to grow out too long cause causes problems with the nail plate. How long your nails last will also depend on how fast your nails grow and what you do daily.

For example, if you have a job or do activities where you're getting your hands dirty or hitting your nails, your manicure won't last as long. Waiting any longer than four weeks may lead to breakage and chipping as the balance of the apex is thrown off.

How Much Does A Structured Gel Manicure Cost?

A structured gel manicure is slightly more expensive than a regular manicure but well worth it. The price will reflect the time, length, and location.

On average, a structured manicure will cost between 50 to 120 dollars. You should call your local nail salon for a more accurate price.

Difference Between A Structured Manicure And A Regular Gel Manicure

The only difference between the two is a structured manicure includes a builder gel underneath the polish layer.

A structured manicure creates a thicker layer on the nail, making it more durable. You are also able to shape and strengthen the nail, which you can do with regular gel polish.

Benefits Of A Structured Manicure

A structured manicure is meant to reinforce the natural nail with a supportive layer of rubber-based gel. The thicker layer also protects the nail from breakage and mends broken free edges. It's also more flexible than acrylic, which makes your nails less prone to breaking.

A structured nail is a great choice for those who have flat nails. The builder gel gives a higher arch while still making the nails look natural. It is fume-free and aids the nail-growing process.

Drawbacks Of A Structured Manicure

It is recommended to have a structured manicure removed by a professional. This can be an inconvenience for some. It is also a bit more in price compared to regular polish or gel manicures.

If you are looking to avoid UV light exposure, a structured manicure might not be the service for you.

The Final Takeaway

A structured manicure is a great way to keep your nails looking natural and have nearly no damage to your natural nails. It also helps your natural nails grow long and strong.

If you are looking for a long-lasting mani, a structured manicure is a great choice. To guarantee the best results, check out the collections at NotPolish for the finest range of structured manicure nail care products!

What is a Structured Manicure: Frequently Asked Questions

Is Builder Gel The Same As Hard Gel?

Builder gel, hard gel, and structured gel are terms often used interchangeably but do have their differences. All of these are thicker than regular polish and are used to structure a nail.

Builder gel is softer than hard gel, but all are used for the same purpose, to build and strengthen the nail.

How Do You Apply Gel Products?

Applying the polish in thin layers is important. Doing more thin layers is better than fewer thick layers. One of the biggest mistakes is not capping the free edge.

That just means the edge of the nail and even a little under should be painted not only with your color but the base and top coat as well. This will help prevent your nails from lifting and give the best protection.

Why Is Builder Gel Recommended Instead Of Acrylic?

Everyone has their preferences when it comes to getting their nails done. Some prefer acrylic to gel for the enhancement it can do to the nails.

If you are looking for nails that can give you length and thickness with the least damage, choosing builder gel is best. It is less damaging than acrylic, but acrylic nails do usually last longer. They are also more flexible than acrylic nails.
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