Gel and gel polish manicure appeared at the beginning of the 21st century and almost immediately won the hearts of many beauticians and consumers across the world. Not only we can add length to the nail by extending it but also give the extension a desired shape and a long-lasting high gloss. Moreover, this manicure is resistant to scratches. However, to achieve such a result, we need to use appropriate preparations and tools.
First of all, we need nail art products that contain photoinitiators – chemical compounds that decompose under the influence of UV/LED light and combine with the ingredients of gel or gel polish. It is their presence that allows the product to harden on the nail plate and guarantees its durability.
Nonetheless, gel or gel polish alone is not enough. The polymerization process, in other words, the transition of light-cured materials from a liquid to a solid form, requires an appropriate dose of radiation. It is provided by a lamp, under which we put our hands after applying each subsequent layer of a product. What types of nail lamps are available on the market and what are their features? What type of device is the best to choose and how to adjust it to our needs? We will answer to all of the above questions in this post.
The first of the four most popular types of lamps are UV lamps. The advantages of these devices are the relatively low price and a long lifespan of their bulbs. Even if there are 9-watt foldable ones available on the market, it is worth choosing a tunnel-shaped lamp with minimum power of 36 W. Four bulbs and a mirror-like inner surface reflecting light will ensure optimal curing of gel or gel polish in about 120 seconds, whereas the curing time in less powerful lamps is significantly longer. This device type is primarily recommended to amateurs who are mainly interested in an affordable price rather than time spent on creating a nail design.
Lamps of this type are characterized by a longer lifespan and greater working comfort than their predecessors (they do not emit heat), but their price is also correspondingly higher. For these reasons, they are usually bought by professionals. The main advantage of LEDs is a significantly shorter time of the polymerization process, thanks to which most polishes need only 30 seconds in a device to cure. However, it should be remembered that the wavelength of LED light does not cure certain products; therefore we should always follow manufacturer's instruction for operation included on the label.
This type of lamp, as its name suggests, combines two types of radiation. This is possible thanks to the built-in LEDs with a wavelength of 365 nm + 405 nm. Thanks to such parameters, the device is able to cure both UV and LED gels, as well as gel polishes, which makes it extremely universal. It is available in various versions – from small foldable ones, with which we can cure encapsulated nail art, to classic tunnel-shaped lamps, such as this 48-watt lamp equipped with LEDs and bulbs that emit red light of wavelength of 640-660 nm, which have a rejuvenating effect and lighten various types of spots or discoloration forming on the skin.
LED + CCFL lamps
The last type of lamps, like UV/LED lamps, belongs to the latest generation of devices. It combines the radiation of LEDs and CCFLs (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps). CCFL coils are energy-saving and long-lasting – they can work continuously for up to 5 years. No wonder that Diamond lamp based on this technology is so popular among nail techs and manicure enthusiasts. The hybrid light emitted by it promotes quick and comprehensive curing, while the unique design and wide color selection allow us to pick a model that will suit the interior where we create our nail stylizations.
We hope that the above overview of lamp types available on the market will help you choose your ideal nail lamp!