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Are Gel Manicures Worth the Money?

HerMoney Staff  |  June 19, 2023

Gel manicures dry in a few minutes, don't chip, and last for a couple of weeks. But they can cost you anywhere from $25 to more than $50.

Whether you get weekly manicures and never have bare nails or you’re looking to get something fresh for an upcoming occasion, you might want to try a gel manicure.

Gel manicures are similar to classic manicures in that your nail tech will usually cut, clean, and buff your nails. The big differences comes when they use a special gel polish and then your hands go under a UV light for drying. Gel manicures usually last for a couple of weeks, don’t chip, and dry in minutes. But gel nails don’t come cheap. They can be double or triple the amount of a regular manicure. So how much are gel manicures and are they worth the money?

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How Much Is a Gel Manicure?

You can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to more than $50 for a gel manicure, depending on where you live and the complexity of the design or art you want on your nails. We looked at several different cities in the U.S. and it’s fairly consistent across the country, hovering around $35. We’re going to compare that to a similar average for non-gel manicures. Regular manicures vary widely just like gel manicures and are, on average, about $15 nationwide.

Gel manicures are worth it for those who regularly get their nails done and want to save on going to the salon. For people who spend $70 or more every month on regularly manicured nails and tend to go every week, gel manicures are worth the money. At this rate, gels make sense and saves you two monthly visits to the salon.

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Is a Gel Manicure Worth It?

While better quality overall compared to a regular manicure, a gel manicure does come with some risks. Remember you’re sticking your hands under UV lights to let the polish harden. There’s also the matter of removal. Gels are removed by soaking your fingers in polish remover for five to 10 minutes, which is less of an imposition if it’s included in your manicure (which it typically is). Peeling the gels off yourself like regular polish leaves your nails ragged and much thinner. This means your nails are thinner and more susceptible to breaking and pealing later on.

If you go very infrequently, say, a couple times a year or less, gel manicures might be worth it for how durable and reliable they are to last you through a special occasion (like a wedding or speaking at a conference). But for most folks who don’t go regularly, gels don’t make financial sense. Sure, your manicure won’t last as long, but are a few more days of color worth an extra $15 to $20?

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