A gel manicure can cost anywhere from $25 to $65 depending on your location and the design you want. They’re similar in appearance to regular manicures, but don’t let looks fool you — they’re way more durable than your average mani! Gel manicures are growing in popularity because they’re more resistant to chips and generally last longer.

Whether your nails are long or short, you can enjoy the benefits of this type of manicure. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the cost of a gel manicure from maintenance to removal and help you decide if this is the right service for you.

How much are gel manicures in the U.S.?

South Dakota is home to the most affordable gel manicures, at $17 for an average appointment. The most expensive manicures in the U.S. are found in Nevada, at $54 on average. Prices can vary in different locations due to differences in local competition and cost of living.

StateAverage appointment cost
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Why are gel manicures so expensive?

If you’re used to the price of regular manicures, you’re probably wondering why switching to gel polish is so expensive. There are a few reasons why you can expect to pay more for a gel manicure:

  • Materials: Gel polish is more expensive than regular polish.
  • Application: Gel manicures must be cured under a UV or LED light.
  • Longevity: When compared to regular manicures, gel is more durable and lasts longer.
  • Location: Salons located in areas with a high cost of living are typically more expensive.
  • Gratuity: It’s recommended to tip 20 percent of the total cost of service if you’re happy with your results.

While the process of applying the polish is similar for both a regular and gel manicure, gel polish needs to be cured with UV light after each layer is applied, including the base and top coat. It’s a lengthier process and, as a result, the cost of service is higher at most salons.

How much does it cost to maintain a gel manicure? 

You can expect to pay between $70 and $170 per month to maintain a gel manicure. This includes the cost of removal and reapplication for each appointment. Since a gel manicure typically lasts between two to three weeks, you’ll likely need to visit the salon twice a month to keep your gel manicure maintained.

nail artist wearing blue latex gloves painting client’s nails on top of a white pillow and towel in a nail salon

How much does it cost to remove a gel manicure?

Removing a gel manicure usually costs between $10 and $20. Because gel is designed to be long-lasting, it’s recommended that you go to a salon for removal. A professional nail tech is less likely to damage your natural nails during the process.

However, if you’re looking for a way to reduce costs, you can remove a gel manicure at home. Just remember that patience is key! You want to avoid picking or ripping off the polish because this could damage your natural nails underneath.

How long do gel manicures last?

Gel manicures typically last between two and three weeks when applied by a professional. The gel is cured with a UV or LED light, forming a hard layer that lasts longer than regular polish.

Since gel polish lasts longer and is more durable than a regular manicure, it doesn’t require as many trips to the salon to maintain — making it a more cost-effective option in the long run.

Are gel nails cheaper than acrylics?

A basic gel manicure is generally cheaper than getting a full set of acrylic nails. Acrylics involve extending the nail length, while a gel manicure is just adding gel polish to your natural nails. Because of this, acrylics can cost anywhere from $25 to $120, as they’re more time-consuming to apply.

Gel extensions are also more expensive than your typical gel manicure. This is a type of gel enhancement that extends the length of your nails, and is less damaging than acrylics.

illustrations of gel, acrylic, and gel extensions with bulleted lists explaining unique qualities of each

Are gel manicures worth it?

Gel manicures are worth it if you want long-lasting nails but want to avoid harsh treatments like acrylics or gel extensions. Since gel manicures use a polish on your natural nail, they’re less damaging to your nail beds over time.

If you frequently get regular manicures, consider switching to gel nails to get the most bang for your buck. Since gel is less prone to chipping, you can avoid taking weekly trips to the salon to maintain them.

While gel manicures are much safer than many other enhancements, they can still weaken your nails over time. If this is a concern for you, sticking to regular manicures might be the best option. Gel polish is also more difficult to remove, so if you’re someone who likes to switch up your nails a lot, regular polish is a better choice.

How can I get the most out of my appointment and gel manicure?

You can make the most of your appointment by deciding on the color and design you want ahead of time and finding an experienced professional. To choose a nail technician, read reviews and look at the quality of results previous clients have received.

When you arrive at your appointment, be sure to discuss the look you want before starting the application process. For more intricate designs, it’s a good idea to bring a reference photo so your tech has a visual guide to follow.

To make the most out of your gel manicure, apply cuticle oil to your nail beds daily to keep them moisturized. Wear gloves when using any household chemical cleaners or while participating in activities that can be rough on your hands. This will ensure your manicure lasts as long as possible.

close-up of person applying cuticle oil to nails with text box in the upper-right hand corner saying “Tip: Apply cuticle oil to your nail beds daily to help your gel manicure last longer.”

If you’re on a budget, it’s possible to give yourself a gel manicure at home. However, you’ll need to purchase a UV or LED lamp to cure the gel. Also keep in mind that the final result might not be as nice as what you would receive from a professional.

A gel manicure is a great option if you want something natural but also long-lasting. Before booking an appointment, it’s important to understand how the cost compares to other manicure types. Now that you know how much you can expect to pay, check out our community of nail techs who specialize in gel nails to find one near you.