How to choose a nail lamp
- Types of lamps for a manicure
- What power should a nail lamp be
- The main functions of lamps for a gel polish
- How to use the gel polish nail lamp
- How to keep your hand in the lamp during the manicure
Gel polishes are a real miracle of the nail industry! They give a durability of the coating, an absence of varnish smeared on the nails and a shorten significantly waiting time until it dries.
Drying of the gel polish takes just 0.5-1 minute. Isn't this a dream? However, this requires a special lamp. There is a huge range of lamps on the market for every taste and wallet! In addition, the service life of these devices is on average 3 to 5 years. Having bought it once, you will be doing flawless manicure for several years!
How to choose the nail lamp? What are the differences between the lamps? What to look for when choosing? Let's figure it out.
Types of lamps for nails
The gel polish lamp is a device that using special light sources makes the coating applied to the nail plate polymerized (harden).
There are currently 4 types of lamps for polymerization on the market:
- Ultraviolet (UV);
- Light-emitting diode (LED);
- Cold cathode coil lamps (CCFL);
- Hybrid, which is divided into 2 types.
Let's analyse each type more detailly.
Ultraviolet lamps (UV)
In such a lamp, the material is polymerized thanks to fluorescent lamps.
The main advantages of UV lamps are:
- the ability to polymerize any type of gel polish, even those with the “LED” mark;
- low power consumption.
- the need to replace the heating elements, since over time their power decreases, and this leads to the fact that the gel polish starts to dry poorly;
- long drying time compared to other types of lamps - 1-2 minutes;
- fluorescent bulbs are sensitive to line voltage surges.
In this type of lamp the coating is polymerized by using LEDs. Due to this, the material dries even faster than in an ultraviolet lamp!
In fact, LED lamps are the second generation of lamps, so all the disadvantages of UV lamps were considered when creating them.
LED lamps have the following advantages:
- it is not required to replace LEDs, they last much longer than the ultraviolet lamps, and at the same time retain their original power, so the polymerization time does not increase;
- average polymerization time - from 10 to 60 seconds;
- LEDs do not emit as much heat as fluorescent bulbs, therefore, even with continuous operation, the lamp body itself does not heat up;
- And LED lamps consume less energy and emit much less ultraviolet radiation than UV lamps.
- failure of LEDs most often means buying a new lamp. There are several lamps in which diodes can be replaced, but in most cases, this is not possible;
- The LED lamp is not universal, as some manufacturers' products do not dry under the LEDs.
NOTE! Gel polishes usually have a note with which lamp they can be used. Most often this mark looks like this "UV / LED", which means that the gel polish can be dried in any lamp.
But, for example, on hypoallergenic gel varnishes “BeautiX” there is a mark “UV GEL POLISH”, i.e. This gel polish can be dried in UV lamp, cold cathode coil lamp or hybrid lamp. If you are the owner of a light-emitting diode (LED) lamp, then the coating of this company will not suit you. The lamp simply will not be able to dry this gel polish.
Cold Cathode Coil Lamps (CCFL)
This is an improved version of the UV lamp, in which the polymerisation of the coating occurs with cold cathode fluorescent lamps. The light bulbs contain an inert gas with a small amount of mercury. This type of lamp is quite rare on store shelves.
- such lamps do not have an incandescent filament, therefore, like LED lamps, they do not generate heat and are energy-saving;
- suitable for all types of coatings.
- drying speed is the same as that of a UV lamp - 1-2 minutes.
Hybrid lamps (UV + LED or CCFL + LED)
This type has collected all the advantages of the existing types of lamps:
- can be used with any type of coating, since they combine 2 types of lamps;
- do not heat up with a prolonged use;
- fast drying time - from 10 to 60 seconds.
It should be noted that the most versatile and, accordingly, the most popular today are UV + LED hybrid lamps.
What power should a nail lamp be?
After you have decided about the type of lamp, you need to pay attention to its power, since this is one of the most important parameters. The intensity of the heating elements located in the lamps depends on it.
On the market, you can find devices with a power of 9 to 90 watts. But the most optimal are 48 W lamps. And there are several explanations for this:
- the lower the power, the longer the polymerization time of the material;
- if you apply the coating in a thick layer, it may not dry out and shrink;
- some gel polishes are highly pigmented and low power lamps may not dry them out.
But do not give up on low wattage lamps! Among them there are small and light options that are convenient to take with you, for example, if you want to take a lamp to a trip or go visit a client at home, etc. The main thing is to choose the right material and do not apply too thick layer.
Dimensions and weight
The choice of a lamp’s size and weight depends solely on your preferences. If the lamp is needed only for home use or you are a newbie master and plan to receive customers on your territory, then the weight and dimensions of the lamp do not really matter.
If your plans include frequent transportation of the device from point A to point B, then you should pay attention to light, miniature models.
The main functions of the nail lamps
Most lamps have lots of useful additional features worth paying attention to.
- Timer. Many lamps are equipped with a timer. This is very convenient since you do not need to keep a track of the time. You can simply press the button and continue to work with the other hand. Typically, a timer consists of several buttons on the outside of the lamp indicating the time during which the lamp will dry the coating: 10, 30 and 60 seconds.
- Display. If the lamp has an auto switch off function, then on the display you can track the time. Also, this function is convenient for those who want to see and control the time even if there is a timer.
- Power down button. With this button you can adjust the flow of light and power, thereby reducing heating.
- Motion Sensor. Thanks to the presence of such a sensor, the lamp turns on and starts working when the hand is placed under, without pressing a button.
- Fan. The fan helps to cool the internal heating elements when the lamp is used continuously.
- Removable bottom. If you plan to do not only a manicure, but also a pedicure, then pay attention to lamps with a removable bottom. It can be a retractable type, or it can be attached to the lamp with a help of magnets. Bottomless lamps are also suitable for pedicure.
What else should you pay attention to when choosing a lamp?
- The presence or absence of a back wall. It is no secret that when exposed to ultraviolet rays, the artificial material will polymerize. Therefore, not all masters are comfortable with lamps without a back wall, since during the work, by accident, rays can fall on a bottle with a gel polish, which will lead to thickening of the gel polish or the appearance of lumps.
- Inner surface of the lamp
- The surface inside the lamp can be black or mirrored. The mirror surface increases the amount of light and distributes it evenly.
- The presence or absence of a blind spot
- The blind spot is a place inside the lamp where there are no heating elements. If elements, for example LEDs, are located along the entire inner surface of the lamp (of course, apart from the bottom), then we can say that there are no blind spots in the lamp. The presence of such zones is not a huge problem, as you may place fingers a little deeper.
- Warranty period. Any equipment can break down, so buy lamps from the official representatives of the brand, so that in a case of a breakdown you can exchange the product for a new one or get your money back!
How to use the nail lamp
Whatever lamp model you choose, they all have the same principle of operation. After plugging into the outlet, proceed as follows:
- apply 1 layer of coating (base);
- place the hand in the lamp, turn on the timer button (if there is one);
- polymerize the coating;
- then apply 1-2 layers of the gel polish, and then topcoat. Polymerize each layer in a lamp.
But first, we advise you to read the instructions to know exactly about all the features of the lamp!
How to keep hands in the lamp during the manicure?
It is very important to keep the hand correctly, since of it depends how well the coating dries:
- the hand should be parallel to the table, not on a side, otherwise the material will flow;
- do not press your fingers together, relax the palm. Otherwise there is a possibility that the material at the side won’t not dry well; ⠀
- when polymerizing a coloured gel polish, never pull the hand out of the lamp before the prescribed time! The colour may not dry out and shrink!
- pay special attention to your thumbs. Dry them separately, do not press hard and do not turn them on the side.