If you love getting your nails done but don’t want to spend too much, you may be wondering about the cost of a gel nail fill in. Gel manicures are popular for their durable, glossy polish and long-lasting color, but can be pricey for upkeep.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The average cost of a gel nail fill in ranges from $25 to $45. The price depends on factors like your location, the salon’s prices, and any extra nail art or designs.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the typical gel fill in costs and what impacts the price so you know what to expect for your next appointment.
What Is a Gel Nail Fill In?
A gel nail fill in is when you get your existing gel manicure filled in with new gel polish instead of removing the gel and starting over with a full new set. It allows you to maintain the gel nails you already have in place while refreshing the color and shape.
More specifically, a gel fill in involves these steps:
- Filing and shaping the existing gel nails to neaten them up and remove any lifted edges or growth at the cuticle area
- Buffing the surface of the existing gel lightly to roughen it up so the new gel will adhere properly
- Applying new layers of gel polish for color and shine
- Curing each layer under an LED or UV nail lamp
Gel fills allow you to go 2-3 weeks between appointments rather than removing and redoing a full set each time. Going longer starts to look overgrown. Doing timely fill ins every 2 weeks helps maintain a tidy, professional look.
Benefits of Gel Nail Fill Ins
There are several advantages to getting gel nail fill ins instead of removing your gel manicure and starting over:
- Preserves your natural nails underneath: Removing gel polish requires filing off the top layer of your nail plates to break the gel’s bond. Fill ins avoid this, keeping nails strong.
- Saves time: Filling in gel is much faster than a full removal and new set.
- Less damage to nails: The thinning and drying effect of repeated gel removal is minimized.
- Retains length: You don’t have to trim your nail length back to nothing when getting a fill in.
- More cost effective: Gel fills can be up to 50% cheaper than a full set.
As long as your natural nails are still in good condition under the gel, fill ins help maintain their integrity and health while allowing you to enjoy the convenience and appearance of a gel manicure.
Average Cost of a Gel Nail Fill In
Getting a gel nail fill in is a great way to maintain your manicure between full sets. But how much should you expect to pay for this nail salon service? The price can vary depending on where you go and what options you choose. Let’s break down the average costs.
At most nail salons, a basic gel fill in costs between $25-$35. This includes filing off the grown out portion, lightly buffing the natural nail, applying new gel polish, and curing it under the LED or UV lamp. Here are some typical salon gel fill in prices:
- Basic gel fill in: $25-$35
- Gel fill in with polish change: $30-$40
- Gel fill in with art or extras: $35-$50+
Salons in high-end areas like Los Angeles or New York City may charge even more, with fill ins starting at $40. But in small towns and rural areas, prices could be as low as $20 per fill.
DIY Gel Fill Ins
Doing your own gel fill in at home saves the most money. You’ll just need to purchase gel polish, a UV or LED lamp, nail files, and other gel manicure supplies. The startup costs run about $50-$100. After that, you’ll just be paying for new polish.
With practice, DIY gel fill ins can look almost as neat and last just as long as professional ones. But there is more chance of mistakes that damage the nails. Take precautions against overfiling and use thin gel top coats to avoid excessive thickness buildup.
Factors Affecting the Price
Several things impact the price you’ll pay for a gel fill in:
- Salon location – Major cities charge more than rural areas
- Extra services – Art, gems, or glitter add $5-$15+
- Nail length/shape – Longer nails take more product and time
- Reputation and skill – Top nail techs can charge more
- Discounts – Check for new client specials or loyalty programs
With some shopping around, you can likely find gel fill ins starting around $25 near you. Simple DIY fill ins at home cost just a few dollars after the initial supply investment. Either way, fills let you stretch your manicure and show off cute nails for weeks at a time!
Tips for Saving on Gel Fill Ins
Avoid Extra Designs
Getting simple gel polish colors instead of intricate designs or art can help you save money on gel fill ins. Most salons charge extra for nail art, glitter, or french tips. Sticking to a solid color or subtle ombre will cost less.
You can also do your own nail art at home if you want to accessorize a basic gel manicure.
Time Fill Ins with Other Services
Many nail salons offer discounted rates when you book multiple services together. For example, getting a gel fill in along with a pedicure or waxing service may be cheaper than getting each service separately. Look for salon deals and packages to maximize your savings.
Scheduling your fill in appointment right before a special event when you were already planning on getting other beauty services can be an easy way to take advantage of these offers.
Look for Discounts and Deals
There are plenty of ways to save on the cost of a gel fill in:
- Sign up for loyalty programs at your favorite salons to earn points and rewards.
- Check salon social media for promotions and coupons.
- Ask about first-time customer discounts if you’re trying a new place.
- Inquire about student or senior citizen discounts.
- Look for group packages if booking with friends.
- Search sites like Groupon for gel manicure deals.
With a little effort, you can easily find special offers that make gel fill ins more budget-friendly. Taking advantage of discounts can reduce your manicure costs by 20% or more.
Fill In Timing and Frequency
When it comes to gel nail fill ins, timing and frequency are important factors to consider for maintaining beautiful nails. Here’s a closer look at some general guidelines around fill in schedules:
Every 2-3 Weeks
Getting a fill in every 2-3 weeks is recommended for most people. This allows the new gel polish to adhere properly while avoiding excessive growth and lifting at the nail bed. Many salons actually suggest fill ins every 2 weeks as the ideal timeline.
Getting fills this often helps the nails stay strong and protected.
Every 3-4 Weeks
Every 3-4 weeks is still an acceptable timeline between fill ins for some. People with slower nail growth may be able to stretch it to 4 weeks. However, leaving it longer than this often allows too much growth and increases the chances of cracking or damage to the nail bed.
It also makes the filling process more complicated for the technician.
Schedule Based on Nail Growth
Some people schedule fill ins based specifically on their individual nail growth patterns. For example, if your nails typically grow out significantly after 18 days, you would schedule your next fill in on day 18.
Pay attention to your growth rate and how long you can go before growth or lifting occurs.
During Major Life Events
It’s a good idea to get a fill in before major life events when you’ll want your nails to look their best, such as:
- Class reunions
- Parties and special events
This helps ensure your nails stay fresh and chip-free to complement your outfit and look.
Some people get gel nail fill ins more frequently during certain seasons. For example, in summer when nails grow faster you may get fills every 2 weeks. In winter they may stretch to every 3 weeks when growth is slower. Adjusting based on seasonal growth is an option.
Pay attention to your own unique nail growth patterns and lifestyle needs. Every 2-3 weeks is best for most people, but assess whether you can stretch longer between fill ins without excessive growth occurring.
A gel nail fill in every 2-3 weeks can help you maintain the look without having to get a full gel manicure each time. Knowing what to expect for pricing based on your location and salon can help you budget for upkeep.
With a few tips to save, you can keep enjoying the benefits of gel polish without breaking the bank.