Gel nail price

How Much Do Gel Nails Cost?

Last Updated on February 10, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Gel manicures have become an increasingly popular nail service in recent years. With their glossy finish and durable, chip-resistant wear, it’s easy to see the appeal of gel nails. But before booking your next appointment, you may be wondering – how much do gel nails cost?

In this article, we’ll break down the typical costs for gel manicures and what factors affect the pricing. We’ll also look at the maintenance requirements and tips for choosing a technician.


  • Gel manicure costs range from $25-$50+ on average depending on the salon
  • Higher prices come from intricate nail art, touch-ups, and removals
  • Professional salon gels yield better results than DIY kits
  • Maintenance with fills and repairs is needed every 2-4 weeks
  • Choosing an experienced, specialized technician is advised
  • Gel nails are cheaper and healthier than acrylic options

How Much Do Gel Nails Cost?

The costs can vary quite a bit depending on where you live, the salon you visit, and any extras you request. Generally speaking, a basic gel manicure costs between $25 and $50.

While that’s pricier than a regular manicure, which averages $15 to $20, the long-lasting results of gel polish make it worthwhile for many.

VBeautyPure mentions that the cost of gel nails ranges between $40 to $125, depending on the type of gel manicure chosen, with some types costing $5 to $10 more than a traditional nail polish manicure.

According to the HerMoney website, the cost of a gel manicure can range from $25 to more than $50, depending on the location and the complexity of the design or art desired, with a starting price of around $35.

StyleSeat states that a gel manicure can cost anywhere from $25 to $65, depending on the location and the design preferred.

Southern Living provides examples of specific prices for gel manicures at different salons, such as starting at $45 in Tallahassee, Florida, and costing $42 plus gratuity in Birmingham, Alabama.

A Reddit post mentions that a $110 plus tip for gel X nails with nail art on every nail sounds about right in a low-cost living area.

What Goes Into a Gel Manicure?

First, it helps to understand exactly what a gel manicure involves. Gel polish requires special application and curing under UV or LED lamps. The service includes these steps:

  • Filing and shaping the natural nails
  • Cuticle cleaning and care
  • Base coat application
  • Gel color layers
  • Top coat to seal and harden

The polish is then cured under lamps in short intervals. The entire process takes 30 to 50 minutes. The results can last 2-4 weeks with limited chipping or wear.

Average Costs for Professional Gel Manicures

For a basic gel manicure with a single neutral color, expect to pay:

  • Low end: $25-$35
  • Mid range: $35-$45
  • High end: $45-$50+

Salons in bigger cities or upscale locations tend to charge higher prices. The technician’s experience level also impacts the cost.

You might also like our articles on the cost of Acrylic nails, Acrylic nail removal, or Regal Nails services.

Some additional factors that increase the price:

  • Nail art or embellishments – Intricate designs, rhinestones, or glitter elements can add $5-$20.
  • Touch-ups between fills – If you get chips or wear within 2 weeks, touch-ups cost $10-$15.
  • Gel removal – Periodic removal to prep nails for a fresh set costs $10-$20.
  • Paraffin wax treatment – For extra moisture and pampering, add-on a wax dip for $5-$15.

DIY Gel Kits vs Professional Services

At-home gel manicure kits provide an affordable alternative, with prices ranging from $20-$80. But professional salon gel manicures tend to yield better results for several reasons:

  • Proper technique – The prep work and application requires learning and practice to avoid damage or lifting. Professionals have extensive training.
  • High-quality products – Salons use the most durable, flexible gels that adhere and cure perfectly. Drugstore kits can be less reliable.
  • Specialized tools and lamps – Techs have industrial-grade lamps to properly cure gels. Home kits have smaller, weaker versions.

While DIY kits save money up front, they can cause frustrations or disappointments that lead you back to the salon anyway.

Factors That Impact the Cost of Gel Manicures

Several factors lead to pricing variations between salons:

  • Salon’s overall pricing – Some salons price all services higher based on location, experience, and branding.
  • Technician’s skill level – Master technicians often charge more for their expertise and custom nail art abilities.
  • Quality of gel products – Salons that use top professional gel brands have higher material costs.
  • Extent of nail services – More complex designs, touch-ups between fills, and frequent gel removal will increase costs.

The Cost of Maintaining Gel Nail Extensions

While gel manicures last longer than regular polish, they still require ongoing upkeep. Depending on your natural nail growth rate, you’ll need to budget for:

  • Fills every 2-3 weeks – As your nail bed grows out, new gel needs to be applied at the root. Fill cost is 50-75% of the original set price.
  • Occasional repairs – Chips or lifts must be fixed quickly to avoid peeling. Repairs cost $5-$20 per nail.
  • Full removal and new set every 6-8 weeks – To prevent damage, the gels should be fully removed and reapplied. Removal and new set ranges from $55-$85.

Factor these maintenance costs into your budget if you choose long-lasting gel polish.

Choosing a Salon and Technician

To get the most value from your gel manicure spending, look for these traits in a salon and technician:

  • Specialize in gels – Opt for a salon focused on gel extensions instead of one offering gels as an add-on service.
  • Check reviews – Read online reviews and visit rating sites like Yelp to gauge quality. Look for consistent 5 star ratings.
  • View past work – Look at photos on the salon’s website or social media to assess skill level.
  • Ask about training – Choose nail techs with expertise from brand-specific gel training programs.
  • Notice sanitation – Make sure the manicure and pedicure salon and technician follow cleanliness and disinfection protocols.

Getting Gel Nails Done Cheaply

While gel manicures come at a higher cost than regular polish, there are ways to save money and getquality gels on a budget:

  • Look for salon deals and discounts. Many salons offer first-time gel discounts or loyalty programs. Sign up for email lists to receive promos.
  • Ask about gel manicure specials or express services. Some salons offer quicker gel options at a lower cost.
  • Stick to solid gel colors and minimal extra designs. Nail art and embellishments drive up the price.
  • Extend the time between fills. If your nails grow slowly, you may be able to go 3 weeks instead of 2 weeks between appointments.
  • Learn DIY removal and prep. Remove gels safely at home, then get a fresh set at your next salon visit.
  • Try an express nail bar instead of a full-service salon. These offer quick gel manicures at discounted prices.
  • Opt for off-peak appointment times. Early morning and weekdays tend to have lower demand so you can avoid weekend premium pricing.

Final Words

With some proper scheduling and service choices, you can enjoy the benefits of gel nails without going over budget. A little effort goes a long way towards beautiful, affordable gel manicures.

Frequently Asked Questios

Is Gel Nails Cheaper Than Acrylic?

Gel nail services are generally cheaper than acrylics. On average, a gel manicure costs $35-$50 while acrylics range from $50-$80 for a full set.

There are a few reasons gel nails have lower costs:

  • Gels don’t require sculpting forms or tips since they are applied directly to your natural nails. Acrylics involve building out the nail bed with powder and liquid acrylic.
  • Gel polish is applied in very thin coats that don’t add much thickness or weight. Acrylics are applied thicker to extend and reinforce the nails.
  • Gel manicure appointments don’t take as long. Gels take 30-50 minutes compared to 60-90 minutes for a full set of acrylics.
  • Gel polish itself has a lower material cost for salons compared to acrylic powders and primers.

While gel manicures need more frequent fills as the nail grows out, they still end up costing less overall than acrylics for most people. Gels provide a lighter, less damaging option for extended wear.

Are Gel Nails Worth the Money?

For most people who want an enhanced, polished look with their manicure, gel nails are absolutely worth the money. The key benefits that make the extra costs worthwhile include:

  • Long lasting results – Gel polish lasts for 2-4 weeks without chipping or scratching. Regular manicures last just 4-7 days. You get more value from each salon visit.
  • Damage resistance – Gel nails are flexible and durable. They resist breaks and splits better than regular polish or acrylics.
  • Quick drying – Gels cure in a lamp in seconds. No wait time means you can get back to normal activity quickly.
  • Customizable looks – Gel allows endless color options. You can safely try bold colors and even nail art since gels don’t stain or damage the nails.
  • Convenience – With fewer trips to the salon needed, gel manicures offer convenience and time savings.

For the quality, durability, and flexibility a gel nails mani offers, the investment pays off through weeks of perfect polish wear.

What is the Healthiest Nail Option?

When it comes to nail health, keeping your natural nails in the best condition possible is ideal. But if you choose enhancements, gel manicures are one of the healthiest options available. Here’s why:

  • Thin application – Gel polish layers are 80% thinner than acrylic or dip powders. This reduces stress on the nails.
  • Flexibility – Gels are more flexible than acrylics. They move with the natural nails instead of cracking.
  • Breathability – Gel polish allows air and moisture to pass through. This prevents bacterial infections under the nails.
  • No damage – Properly applied gels don’t require harsh filing or damage to the nail bed. Acrylics and dips do require more filing.
  • Easy removal – Gels can be soaked off gently with no pulling or strain on the nails.

While any type of enhancement carries some risk, gels offer a safer option than acrylics or dips with lower likelihood of resulting in nail damage or infections. Proper application and removal techniques also reduce the risks. Overall, gel manicures are one of the healthiest choices for extended wear polish.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *