Is No Chip the Same as Gel Nails?

Semantics causes communication misconceptions, and the nail and beauty industry is not left out. People use the terms “no chip” and “gel nails” to mean the same type of manicure, which could confuse newbie nail enthusiasts.

This leads to unanswered questions like “is no chip the same as gel nails?”, “What goes into manufacturing them?”, “Does no chip mean the nails will never chip?”

The answer is right below!

Is No Chip the Same as Gel Nails?

No chip nails are the same as gel nails. They are different terms for describing manicures that involve two coats of gel polish after a base coat, ending with a sealant or top coat and curing under a UV light. Applying a gel manicure makes it super durable, long-lasting, and not easily chipped, hence the name—no chip nails.

a gel polish set on natural nails
No-chip nails done by Jane

Many nail newbies find it difficult to maintain their freshly done manicures for about two weeks without chipping. This creates the burden of constantly visiting the nail salon or fiddling with your nails at home. No chip and gel nails have taken the scene to give people longer-lasting manicures. However, is no chip the same as gel nails?

Let’s find out in this article!

The Overview

No-chip manicures are the same as gel nails because they involve the following:

They are removed by soaking in acetone because of their chip resistance. 

People misconstrue no chip and gel nails a lot. However, no chip is an informal designation for gel nails born out of its chip resistance quality and has gained massive popularity among busy people who cannot afford the time for a frequent manicure. 

What Are No Chip Nails?

pre-cured gel polish on a fingernail

No chip nails are an alternative term for gel nails that last up to two weeks. To achieve this high staying power, the nails are prepared by filling, buffing and cleaning with 90% alcohol. 

Afterward, a special base coat is applied, followed by two or more coats of gel polish and sealed with a special top coat, then allowed to cure under a UV light for some time

When doing no chip nails, it is crucial to understand the implication of every step of the process. 

For instance, the special base coat is an ultraviolet (UV) base coat. It is a thinner version of the conventional gel nail treatment and is essential for reshaping your natural nails without adding more length. It also protects your natural nails from picking up any permanent stains. 

Cost and Where To Get No Chip Nails

do you need a base coat for gel polish

Generally, no chip nails cost about $20-$50, but it differs depending on the salon. However, if you want to save costs, you can do it yourself if you know how to apply it and have the tools.

No chip nails are easy to get at nearly all salons as it is an on-trend style of manicure. However, If you are beginning to explore the world of nail care and manicures, you are better off with a nail technician at the nearest salon. This way, you can be sure to get a professional nail job. 

If you are still determining which salon to patronize, you can look up many of them online and browse through their Instagram pages to see what they offer before booking an appointment. 

Alternatively, you can book an independent or freelance nail artist. They are certified nail experts who, rather than working under a salon, prefer to work independently, offering their services to people for a fee. However, independent nail artists are expensive and are better for special occasions like weddings or if you want a private service with no distractions.

What Makes No Chip Nails the Same As Gel Nails?

No chip nails describe gel nails for their unique staying power and chipping difficulty. The best way to eliminate the ambiguity between the manicure terms “no chip nails and gel nails” is to explore the inclusions of no chip nails and correlate them with gel nails. 

Below is a table showing some indices that prove no chip nails are gel nails. 

No Chip or Gel IndicesExplanation
After cleaning and preparing your natural nails, the gel or no chip nails is applied in the following sequence: 
A Special base coat Two or more coats of gel nail polish and curing in between coats with UV light.A final top coat Final curing with UV light for 30-45 seconds.
Removal and aftercare Removal involves filling off or soaking in acetone for a few minutes. A nail technician is usually helpful for safe removal and aftercare.

No Chip and Gel Nail Concerns

Although no chip and gel nails give the perfect manicure, there are some concerns with constant and prolonged wear. 

1. UV Light Exposure

Scientists and medical experts have proven that UV light exposure can increase your skin cancer risk. UV light exposure is the rationale behind the publicity and recommendation of sunscreen, and the UV lamps used to cure the gel and no-chip nails directly reflect the same rays on your fingers. 

Although some people say that the UV light exposure due to gel and no chip nails is short, frequent manicures expose you to the damage. Examples of skin problems due to overexposure to UV light include skin cancer or nail bed melanoma—sadly, they are challenging to treat.

2. Acetone Remover 

No chip nails are removed by soaking in a chemical known as acetone. It is a highly dehydrating agent and can make your natural nails thinner, causing them to become more brittle such that it breaks easily. Acetone can make your nail bed susceptible to fungal infections

The best way to minimize these health concerns of no chip and gel nails is to practice moderation by getting a manicure less frequently. Most nail experts recommend incorporating nail breathing time in between manicures for better natural nail health. 

Additionally, you may adopt the following precautions to help ward off any concerns with no chip nails:

  • Wear sufficient sunscreen on your hands before having a no chip manicure 
  • A pair of gloves with exposed fingertips limit UV exposure 
  • Moisturizers like petroleum jelly or other hand creams help fight dryness.
  • Cuticle oils are essential for protecting your cuticles and nail beds.
a woman using cuticle oil after getting a gel manicure

How To Revive Your Natural Nails After Getting a No Chip Manicure

No chip nails might be one of the greatest revolutions of the nail and beauty industry—imagine going on for two weeks and more with an unchipped manicure. Unfortunately, they are not without risks, especially when you wear them for a long time or frequently. Assuming your nails are the victim of some damage due to no chip nails, is there a way out? 

Below are some tips for reviving your nails after having a no chip manicure.

1. Remove the Nail Polish Correctly.

Correct removal helps to avoid trauma to your cuticles and nail bed. You can achieve this by filing away the top layer to break the seal and wiping or soaking the rest with acetone for 10-15 minutes. Afterward, gently scrape off the remaining color with a nail file and push in your cuticles.

2. Get a Good Trim

After taking off your no chip nails, endeavor to file and cut down your natural nails as low as possible to prevent breakage. The reason is that being under the protective covering of a manicure for as long as two weeks makes them weaker, so they need time to regain strength. 

3. Give Your Natural Nails a Break.

Manicures are not designed to go on back to back. As a result, the best way to treat your nails right is to give them some rest from colored nails altogether. You can opt for hand creams that contain nail-strengthening ingredients or apply plain nail hardeners to help them recover.

4. Moisturize 

Nails, just like hair, are made up of keratin. As a result, they can become dry and brittle, making them break after much styling. After washing, you can keep your nails hydrated by applying cuticle oil or hand cream. For extra moisture, you can seal the hand cream with some oil at bedtime and wake up with well-hydrated hands and nails.

5. Watch Your Nutrition

Beauty is skin-deep, and nothing enhances beauty more than what you eat. Dry, brittle nails are signs of malnutrition. You must endeavor to get your macros and micros with each daily meal. 

Additionally, you can use some over-the-counter supplements to boost your nutritional intake. Examples of skin, nails and hair-supporting nutrients include biotin, zinc, vitamins A, E and C, B vitamins, etc. 

Also, foods such as salmon, eggs, oats, green vegetables, and protein are critical for cell regeneration for healthier skin and nails. 

Pros and Cons of No Chip Nails

No chip nails are becoming more popular than ever, thus necessitating the consideration of the pros and cons of having them to help you decide what type of manicure to get and regulate the frequency at which you get them.

They are shiny, lasting up to two weeks and more.They are more expensive than other types of manicures. 
They do not require touch-ups, extra polish or backfills.Frequent application can damage your natural nails and expose you to fungal infections.
The shield protects your natural nails from weakening agents like moisture, chemicals or other elements. UV light exposure can damage your skin and increase your susceptibility to skin cancer.
Careful removal doesn’t ruin your natural nails.

Final Thoughts 

No chip nails are used to describe gel nails for their longevity. As a result, they are the same as gel nails. Hopefully, this piece helps erase semantic ambiguity with both terms, and you can easily talk about what types of manicures you would like to wear. However, you should be mindful of over usage for as cliche as it sounds, “too much of everything is bad.”