Essentially the gel mani is applied the same way as a traditional mani. A base, color and top coat are applied with a few minutes spent under UV light in between each layer. Nails emerge completely dry and shinny, so you don't have to worry about smudging them while digging for your keys in your purse. Major plus! I can't tell you how many times I'm ruined a mani or pedi before I even got to my car in the parking lot.
The allure of the gel mani is that your nails will remain chip-free with a high shine for up to 2 weeks or more. So far so good! It's been a few days and they look exactly as they did when I left the salon. I went with a light pink, natural color:
I've read some cons about this new mani, though. I've read you may have to go to the salon to properly soak the polish off because regular polish remover won't work. Also, apparently you have to be weary of salons offering fake gel manicures. There is no drilling or harsh buffing required to prep the nail, so if the salon starts to do so, you know something in the milk ain't clean. Run.
I think this gel manicure is a great idea if you plan to go on vacay and don't want to have to bother with nail upkeep. I don't think I'll be getting a gel mani done frequently because I am a biatch on a budget (so should have named my blog that instead), and I've got to cut corners where I can. Typically that means painting my own nails from the comfort of my couch. But for special occasions, I might just have to splurge.