How Long Does Gel Manicure Last?

Regular nail polish is beautiful and easy to apply, remove, and do yourself. But it definitely doesn’t last very long. Within a few days, you can notice chipping and peeling.

Gel manicures are a great solution to longer-lasting manicures. In fact, it’s one of the longest lasting type of nails. So the question for today is: How long does gel manicure last?

How Long Does Gel Manicure Last?

A gel manicure typically lasts between two to three weeks. It can last up to four weeks if the nail is prepped well and aftercare is done correctly. Quality products and following the correct steps are also essential to having a long-lasting gel manicure.

Understanding how long a gel manicure lasts, why some last longer than others, and how to care for gel nails will help you have quality, lasting manicures. Read on as we get further into detail.

Does Gel Manicure Last Long?

Gel manicures are unlike regular nail polish. Gel polish is a different consistency – thicker, stronger, and firmer. It is baked onto the nail using a UV/LED light nail oven which helps it remain glued to the nail and keep secure for a few weeks.

Unlike regular nail polish, which lasts only a few days before showing signs of cracking, peeling, and chipping, gel polish can last between two to three weeks. Your natural nail will grow out, and if you don’t mind the length or visit your nail technician for filing down and filling in, you can keep a gel manicure for up to four weeks.

How Long Does Gel Manicure Last Without Builder Coat?

a nail tech doing non-builder gel manicure

Builder gel is used to repair and strengthen nails while preparing them for polish. It fills in cracks and ridges on the nail’s surface, smoothening the nail in preparation for polish application. The builder gel is also used as a base coat and helps the gel polish to harden and last longer.

The builder gel should be essential in a gel manicure if you want your gel nails to have a smoother finish and last longer. Without the builder coat, your gel manicure may only last a week or two before it shows signs of peeling, cracking, and chipping. If your nails are weak, thin, and brittle, your gel manicure will barely last a week without a builder coat.

How Long Does Gel Manicure Last With Builder Coat?

The builder coat is strong and thick, has self-leveling properties, and adds length and thickness to your gel manicure. It gives the manicure extra strength helping it to last three to four weeks.

By applying builder gel, you can go a few weeks before needing to do any filling-in. Your gel nails are also less likely to break, peel and chip with a builder coat.

How To Make Gel Manicures Last Longer

Several things ensure your gel manicure lasts longer:

  • Start on a clean nail surface. Wash your hands and remove any oils or old residue from your nail plate.
  • Apply a good quality base coat.
  • Use builder gel. You don’t need a base coat if you use builder gel.
  • Ensure each layer is properly dry before you move on to the next coat.
  • Keep your nails in the UV oven for the proper amount of time.
  • Don’t rush the process.
  • Push your cuticles back before starting. Do not apply polish over your cuticles.
  • Apply a good quality top coat to finish the manicure, smoothen it out further, add shine, and serve as a protective layer.
  • Apply proper home care, like avoiding being tough on your nails by scratching things, opening cans, etc.
  • Wear gloves when using detergents and using excessive water.
  • Apply cuticle oil and hand moisturizer every day to keep your skin nourished.

Can Gel Nails Fall Off?

A common concern about gel nails is that they will fall off if you don’t remove them within a week or two. Nails coming off can and does happen, but it depends on the quality of your manicure, the nail plate prep, and aftercare. The most common reason your gel nails will fall off is poor nail plate preparation. This step is crucial to having long-lasting gel nails.

Below are some things you can do to prep your nail and prevent gel nails from falling off:

  • Ensure your nails are clean and dry. It helps the polish stick to your nail better.
  • Do not start a new manicure with residue from the previous one.
  • Do a quick acetone wipe with cotton over each nail.
  • Push your cuticles back before you apply any polish.
  • Gently buff your nail plate with a soft nail file to smoothen any cracks and ridges.
  • Use a base coat, builder coat, or both.

Any oiliness or residue on the nails can result in the gel nail falling off after a few days. This is because it didn’t have a clean surface to stick to. It may even fall off without any crack or break and look like an artificial nail when it comes off. That tells you the problem was your nail plate, to begin with. Peeling or lifting on some edges can also happen for the same reason.

How Long Should You Keep A Gel Manicure?

You might think your nail technician is trying to make money from you when she tells you to go back for a new manicure every two weeks. While it can feel that way, it simply is the best way. You can keep your gel manicure for as long as it lasts, which can sometimes go up to four weeks. But it is not recommended.

You should try to get your gel nails removed after two weeks. This helps prevent nail staining, weight on one end of the nail, breakage, cracking, and brittle nails. The best thing to do is give your nails some breathing time between gel nail applications. If you do a new manicure immediately after removing an old one, then doing that every two weeks is best for the health of your nails.


A good quality gel manicure that includes proper nail plate prep, quality products, a base coat, sufficient drying time, topcoat, and correct aftercare can last between three to four weeks. Gel nails without a builder coat or proper nail plate prep will not last more than a week or two.