0 comments / Posted on by Courtney Crosbie

Can I paint my nails outside?


The sun is shining, and summer days are upon us. You are probably going to be tempted to sit in your garden and paint your nails while enjoying the brief summer weather.  So, can you use gel polish outside? The short answer is no. 

Using gel polish outside | cover photo



What happens to gel polish outside?

The beauty of gel polish is that it hardens almost instantly when exposed to the UV rays that are emitted by our nail lamps.  Sadly, the same thing happens when the gel is exposed to the UV rays of the sun.  The science behind what makes the polish go hard isn't very forgiving.  A "little bit" of UV is going to affect the gel polish just as much as a lot. Just a second or two of sunlight exposure will create clumps of semi-cured gel within the polish, and if you're using a clear top or base coat  your brush will cure as stiff as a rock almost instantly!  Imagine trying to paint a wall with clumpy pancake mix using a stick. That's similar to what it will be like if you sit outside to paint your nails with gel polish. There are no exceptions to the rule.  But let's look at some of the suggestions we have received from our home users. 


Cloud Cover

It's not a sunny day, can I sit outside and paint my nails when there is cloud cover?

Heavy cloud cover can block most of the UV radiation.  Most... Not all. As I said before, it only takes a fraction of UV to ruin your gel.  Thin or broken clouds allow most UV rays through. In short, there is no amount of cloud cover that is blocking 100%of UV. As a matter of fact, puffy fair-weather clouds deflect rays and can increase UV radiation. You read that right... They INCREASE UV radiation. 

Using gel polish outside | fluffy clouds

Grass, soil and water may reflect as much as 10% of UV. Sand 15 %, and snow will almost double the UV exposure. This means that even when there is no direct path from the sun to your gel polish - if any of these things are near you, they will be reflecting the UV with ease. While it's not enough to burn or even tan your skin, it is enough to cure your gel polish brush rock hard right before your eyes. 


 Shaded Areas 

Can I sit under my garden umbrella or in the shade ...

Well, yes.. you can sit in the shade and paint your nails with POLISH.  But unfortunately not if you're using gel!

Using gel polish outside | gazebo shade

The scientists who study the effects of UV have done many experiments on the subject of UV exposure in the shade.  The effects of UV rays on gel polish is undeniably important in its functionality, and so the same science applies. 

During one experiment sensors were placed in different areas of shade to have the UV levels measured.  The sensors located in tree shade indicated that over 5% of UV radiation was detected. The sensors located under the sun-umbrella shade showed that greater than 17% of UV radiation reached the shade!  So even if you're super shaded and can barely see the nails you're painting, you run the risk of ruining your gel products. 


 Stay home, stay safe, paint your Nails inside. 

To sum up ladies and gents, it's not a good decision to paint your nails with gel polish outside.  It's also worth mentioning, to not sit in front of a window or door when you are inside.  Those pesky UV rays will come through the glass like it's not even there.  Keep your gel polish in the dark, well away from any UV producing light.  

Using gel polish outside | inspirational quote


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