How Much Do Gel Nails Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 14, 2018

A gel nail application provides the same strength of acrylic nails but offers the appearance of natural nails.

Unlike acrylic nails, however, gel nails are only able to harden when exposed to a UV light.

Regardless of which option you do choose at a local salon, gel nails will offer similar results to acrylic nails.  Gel nails will make your fingers look longer, strengthen the nails and lengthen shorter nails.

Fing’rs UV-Gel System by Fing
Fing’rs UV-Gel System” (CC BY 2.0) by Fing’rs

How much does it cost to get gel nails?

The cost of gel nails will depend on if you use an at-home kit or a local professional, where you live and the salon you choose.  A basic one-color gel manicure, on average, can cost $35 to $50, whereas a highly customized set can cost upwards of $100+ depending on the style.

An at-home kit, on the other hand, will depend on the brand.  Even though these kits won’t last as long as a professional application, it can still be done with ease, even if you don’t have any experience.  A highly-rated kit, according to these Amazon.com listings, can cost $25 to $35 but do keep in mind that these kits can be used multiple times.  As for just the gel nail polish, the popular Oli brand, for instance, retails for less than $6 to $9 per bottle.

Diffen.com, explaining the difference between acrylic and gel nails, says you should be prepared to spend $25 to $60 at a local salon.

According to WJLA in Washington, D.C., salons noted you should be prepared to budget $35 to $45 for a gel nail polish manicure or less than $10 for just the gel if you wanted to apply it at home.

Members on this WeddingBee.com forum thread discussed the costs of a gel manicure, with most stating their local salons charged anywhere from $30 to $40.




Gel nails overview

With a gel manicure, the manicurist will trim and file your nails similar to a typical manicure. After that, a special base coat will applied and cured underneath a UV or LED light.  Next, two coats of gel polish will be applied, with each coat being cured under a UV light.  Lastly, the final coat is applied to protect the polish.

In terms of appearance, gel nails, from a distance, will look glossier and more natural when compared to other methods.  Being a thick nail-polish type, they are considered to be stronger than most methods but not as thick.

At most salons, you will be able to choose from more than 141 colors.

Most at-home kits will include a small LED lamp, one bottle of a base and top coat, a gel cleanser, cuticle oil, primer, a buffer/file, and/or lint-free wipes.

What are the extra costs?

Every two to three weeks, you will have to pay the same prices mentioned above if you were to have the gel reapplied.  As they don’t last as long as acrylics, you should be prepared to go to the salon every 10 to 14 days for a fresh look.

If you want to remove the nail polish, you may want to have it professionally done as it isn’t as easy as a regular manicure.  You can remove your nails at home, however.  In order to do so, you will need either 100 percent acetone or a gel remover.  To have them removed at a salon, it often costs $10 to $20.

Be sure to budget in a tip.  Most stylists will appreciate a 15 to 20 percent tip.

Tips to know:

If using an at-home kit, Seventeen Magazine highly advises you read the ingredient label as some brands so contain cancer-causing ingredients such as dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde and toluene.

Since gel nails do lack the fumes that are associated with acrylic nails, they are often considered a safer and eco-friendly option.

For those who don’t want to use the UV light, there are kits available on the market that don’t require the light.  Amazon.com, for instance, offers a top 15 list of the highest rated gel nail polish kits without a UV light needed.

How can I save money?

No matter where you live, salons will often compete by offering decent deals on Groupon.com and even via local coupon circulars.  If you’re looking for gel nails, be sure to look out for great deals, but before purchasing, always make sure the salon has reputable reviews.


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