How to choose the right lamp to dry your semi-permanent varnish?
What lamp technologies exist on the market, how do they work and what is the best lamp for semi-permanent varnish?
There are three types of lamp to catalyze semi-permanent varnish (base coat, colors, and top coat), permanent varnish, capsules, or UV gel varnish: the UV lamp, the LED lamp or the CCFL lamp (combining UV and LED lamp).
They are all intended for the same action: to catalyze (dry) your semi-permanent varnish or gel.
So, how to choose your lamp, your machine for semi-permanent varnish?
There are several criteria to consider:
- Lamp technology
- Drying time
- The power of the lamp
- The timer
- The price
- Your use
1. What are the different lamp technologies? What are the differences between a UV lamp, an LED lamp, and a CCFL lamp (UV/LED)?
The UV lamp (ultraviolet rays) and the LED lamp work on the same principle. They emit radiation of light and heat . This is what will harden and dry the varnish on the nail.
This is the activation of the 'photo-initiator' molecules which, when heated, will allow the varnish to harden .
The molecules present in UV gels and those present in LED gels are not active at the same wavelength. The difference between the two lamps (UV and LED) is therefore in the wavelength of the light emitted. (This difference is important for gel users.)
In order to optimize drying and avoid any problems, you must use the lamp adapted to the type of gel . A UV gel must be catalyzed under a UV lamp and an LED gel under an LED lamp.
The disadvantage is that you always have to carefully look at the type of gel you buy, and adapt to the lamp you have.
To make life easier, and to avoid having to buy two lamps, the CCFL lamp (UV and LED at the same time) was created. It combines the two technologies.
This lamp significantly simplifies the lives of users of gel, semi-permanent and permanent varnish. It dries all gel polishes, semi-permanent and permanent.
Plus, there is no need to change the bulbs.
2. And the drying time for applying semi-permanent varnish?⏰ 2 minutes under a UV lamp,
⏰ 30 to 60 seconds under an LED lamp
⏰ 60 to 90 seconds under a CCFL (UV/LEDs) lamp.
Nail drying times are to be chosen according to the material (gel, semi-permanent, resin, neon varnish, glitter varnish, etc.).
3. What are the lamp powers, how to choose the best power?
You will find lamps from a few Watts to 75 Watt lamps for UV lamps, and from 6 to several dozen LEDs for LED lamps.
For the polymerization (drying) of the semi-permanent varnish it is necessary that an LED lamp has at least 24 LEDS and that a UV lamp has at least 48 Watts.
Below these powers, the varnish will not be able to catalyze correctly, or will not catalyze at all, so this is the essential element in choosing your lamp.
Conclusion, if you use semi-permanent gels and varnishes, be aware that they do not all catalyze at the same power. Example, your gel catalyzes at 45 W, a machine with 36 W power will be of no use to you.
4. The design
Choose a light and compact lamp, it will allow you to perform your manicures anywhere. At home, on weekends or on vacation, a space-saving lamp will be an asset for having a perfect manicure and pedicure at all times.
Also consider pedicures and make sure your device is tall enough to slide your toes into, preferably with a removable base.
Please note, an ergonomic shape must not be detrimental to the performance of the lamp. Make sure all your fingers can fit inside the device without touching each other or coming into contact with the bulbs. Very low lamps, close to the ground, are not always suitable in this case.
5. The timer
A lamp equipped with a timer with several second increments will allow you to control the catalysis time. A lamp that offers the choice between different times is therefore more practical, and you know how long your varnish remains on for each coat.
6. The price
The prices of these 3 UV/LED lamps are almost identical (within a few euros). It is therefore wise to opt for the CCFL (UV LED) lamp .
The price of an entry-level lamp is necessarily different from that of a high-end model. But if you can, the advantage of taking a quality, resistant and well-made lamp is that it will last for many years.
A lamp in a complete kit benefits from a real price advantage , and is less expensive than buying all the products separately.
7. What is your use, in conclusion which nail lamp used for my semi-permanent varnish?
With what we have just said, you can use the 3 types of lamps .
The catalysis of ALL semi-permanent varnishes works with LED lamps or UV lamps.
The quality is the same if you have a quality lamp, with the right power level, and only the curing time differs.
So, why choose a CCFL lamp rather than a UV lamp or an LED lamp?
If saving time is your priority, go for the LED lamp with 24 LEDs minimum.
If you want to use your lamp with all your gels and semi-permanent varnishes, without ever wondering if the varnish you love is compatible with your lamp, then immediately opt for the CCFL lamp.
Remember, only semi-permanent varnishes or permanent varnishes should be dried by the lamp.
A classic nail polish dries in the natural air, at room temperature. It does not dry under a lamp.
You have all the information to find the lamp that will meet your needs!