Gel manicures have become common because of their glamor quotient and ease of application. Anyone can master the gel polish manicure technique at home with some practice. You would have noticed that a UV lamp is critical for every gel polish manicure because it is necessary for curing each coat you apply to your nails. The UV lamp is a vital ingredient of the OPI gel nail kit. So, its use is essential. But, the drawbacks of using UV lamps are many. Is there an alternative to UV lamps? Yes. There is an alternative to UV in LED lights. So, let us compare the two processes and understand which is better.
The Difference Between a UV and LED Lamp
The fundamental difference between UV and LED lamps is the type of radiation. But before we discuss the primary differences, let us learn how UV radiation works.
The gel polish layers contain photo-initiators that are unique chemicals requiring exposure to UV wavelengths to cure. So, you might say that the sun emits UV rays. Therefore, the gel polish can cure under sunlight. The answer is YES. You can cure gel polish layers under sunlight, but the UV rays emitted by the sun are not potent enough to harden the nails. Therefore, you need specific UV lamps to get the best OPI nails.
Both UV and LED lamps emit ultraviolet radiations and work similarly. However, UV lamps emit a broad spectrum of light wavelengths. In contrast, LED emits a narrow range. Therefore, it has a higher concentration of UV radiation. Besides the technicalities, UV and LED have other differences.
- The LED lamps cost more than the UV lamps.
- UV lamps require frequent replacements, whereas LED lights last longer.
- Compared to UV lamps, LED cures nail polish quicker.
- However, LED lamps cannot cure all kinds of gel polish.
While UV and LED lamps are widely used, people can choose whichever they are comfortable with. Today, you have UV-cum-LED lights that allow you to use them either way.
Why Do People Prefer LED Lamps to UV Lamps Today?
Usually, UV curing is necessary for 30 to 60 seconds after every coating. So, if you have a couple of basecoats, three to four layers of gel polish, and a couple of topcoat applications, the total exposure to UV rays is around six to seven minutes. In contrast, you cure the nails for five to ten seconds under an LED lamp. Therefore, the total LED exposure is around two minutes. So, using LED lights saves time.
Generally, UV lamps last for 1000 hours. However, we recommend replacing the bulbs every six months. On the other hand, LED bulbs have a shelf life of 50,000 hours. So, you will never need to change the LED bulbs unless they break. Therefore, they save money in the long run. Initially, the LED bulbs are expensive, but they recover their costs over their lifespan.
How Are UV Lamps Better than LED Lamps?
Compared to LED lights, UV lamps are significantly cheaper. So, you save a lot on the investment front when you purchase UV lamps as part of the OPI gel polish kit.
Can cure all gel polish
The primary advantage of UV lamps is that they can cure all kinds of gel polish. On the other hand, some gel polish formulae are not compatible with LED radiation. So, LEDs cannot cure all gel polish. In addition, UV lamps emit a broad spectrum of UV radiation, whereas LED has a narrow range. We agree that LED has a concentrated spectrum that allows quick curing of gel polish. But, it cannot cater to all gel polish.
What Is the Ideal Wattage for a UV or LED Lamp for Curing Gel Polish?
Generally, the UV and LED lamps available with the OPI gel polish kit are 36W bulbs. This wattage is sufficient for curing gel polish without excessively harming the skin or nails. But, one should note that a 36W LED lamp can cure your OPI nails gel polish within five seconds, whereas the UV lamp takes around 45 to 60 seconds.
So, Which of the Two Options Is the Better One?
LED and UV lamps are indispensable for a gel manicure. The manicure remains incomplete without curing the polish using these lamps. Both LED, and UV lamps perform well. However, the choice between the two is of individual preference. The UV lamp is better if you wish to save money immediately. However, if you look for longevity, the LED lamps seem better.
UV and LED lamps are integral ingredients of any OPI gel polish. The advantage of purchasing high-quality equipment like OPI is that the UV and LED lamps last longer and perform better. So, you can get the best OPI nails and show them off on your social media handles.