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Gel Nail Lifting: 6 Causes and Ways to Prevent Them

Gel nails are a popular choice for their stunning appearance and durability. However, sometimes they can lift, which not only ruins the look but might also necessitate removal if the lifting progresses as nails grow out. Let’s explore the reasons behind gel nail lifting and discuss measures to prevent this issue.

Gel nails might lift if too much gel is applied at once. Over-application can lead to greater amounts of shrinking during curi ng, which causes the gel to pull away from the nail surface. Plus, if there’s too much gel, there’s a greater chance you’ll end up not curing the gel thoroughly enough.


  • Apply the gel in thin, even layers. While multiple coats might be necessary, it’s crucial to keep each layer thin to ensure a strong bond to the nail and avoid lifting.

  • The thickness of gel application depends on the base gel that you use. Some base gels require thicker gel applications and some thinner, so it is important to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • Overapplication can lead to lifting, but it’s also a common mistake to under apply towards the tips of the nails. Make sure you cover the entire nail evenly with your gel.

Not allowing enough time under UV or LED light means the gel won’t harden fully. This allows for moisture or dirt to sneak under your gel, leading to lifting.


  • Make sure that you are following the manufacturer’s recommended curing times, and check to ensure that your UV or LED lamp is functioning properly.

  • Position your fingers correctly, so that each nail is evenly exposed to the light.

Daily activities involving water and harsh chemicals, like cleaning agents, can weaken the gel's adhesion.


  • Wear waterproof gloves during activities that involve water or harsh chemicals. 

  • Regularly apply cuticle oil to maintain nail health and protect the adhesion of the gel.

Gel lifting can occur if the nail surface isn’t properly prepared prior to application. Any leftover moisture, oil, or debris can prevent the gel from adhering effectively.


  • Before applying gel, thoroughly cleanse and and get any moisture off of the nail. Gently buff the surface to enhance the gel’s ability to bond.

  • File the nails so they are uniform in shape and length. Make sure the edges are smooth.

Gel can lift from natural nail growth or from being left on for too long without proper maintenance.


  • Try not to allow your nails to grow out longer than 2-3 weeks before getting maintenance to prevent your gel nail lifting or any other issues from occurring.

Omitting a base coat or top coat can reduce the gel nails’ longevity and can lead to lifting.


  • Always apply a base coat to protect the nail and improve gel adherence. Finish with a top coat to seal the gel for a glossy, more durable finish.

Though these measures can help lower the chances of your gel nail lifting, it isn’t foolproof. If you notice that your gel nail is lifting, treat it with care to prevent it from worsening. Finally, instead of trying to repair it yourself, it’s always best to have it fixed by a professional as soon as possible.

Gel nails are loved by many for their beauty and durability, but sometimes you can face the issue of lifting. In this article, we took a look at the main causes of lifting and the measures to prevent it. We hope that we gave you the tools and info to take appropriate measures to minimize the risk of this problem from occurring!

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