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What Are Light Concept Nails?

Niki Acker
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Light Concept Nails (LCN) are a cosmetic fingernail product manufactured by German company Wilde Cosmetics. An alternative to acrylics, they are made of a gel-like, light cured resin. They are safer, more natural in appearance, and more durable than acrylic nail products, and they are non-porous, so they protect the natural nail and do not discolor over time.

The resin used to make Light Concept Nails originated as a dental product created by Wilde Dental, founded in 1915. In 1985, LCN hit the cosmetics market. The product is currently only available in salons, as experienced technicians are required to apply it. It is first applied as a gel to the fingernails, then the nails are placed in a light unit for two minutes to cure, or harden. Unlike acrylics, there are no harsh chemicals or unpleasant odors involved in the application.

Part of the durability of Light Concept Nails comes from their flexibility, which prevents cracking and breakage. They are best for people who wish to keep their natural nails, as other products, particularly acrylic, can damage the natural nail over time. LCN gel is available in a variety of colors. A clear coat provides a natural look, but the customer can also choose to have permanently colored nails, such as a permanent French manicure. Maintenance applications are required every three to four weeks at least.

Many consumers believe that Light Concept Nails are the best cosmetic nail product on the market, although there are other gel nail products. However, they are very expensive, especially when compared to regular nail polish. It can also be difficult to find salons that provide the product, and it can take years for technicians to master the application process. This can be a particular problem for people who need a reapplication if they are not near the salon where they originally had their nails applied.

People who are considering using this nail product should make sure that they are getting their money's worth. The salon should have an experienced technician, and the LCN product should be visible. If the technician uses gel out of unmarked pots, chances are he or she is using a different, cheaper gel product. Many consumers feel that this particular brand is well worth the extra expense if applied well.

How Long Do Light Concept Nails Last

Light concept nails are quite durable and therefore can last up to three full months. At this point in time, the natural nail has grown out significantly, exposing a gap between the gel nail and the cuticle. It is perfectly safe to continue wearing your nails in this fashion, although they won’t be very attractive in this state. To make them beautiful again, this gap can be filled in at the salon using the same LCN gel as was used before. If the natural nail has grown significantly enough so that the gel nail is attached to only a small portion of the nail bed, the light concept gel nail may separate from the nail bed and fall off, which will require a new light concept gel nail application.

How to Preserve Your Light Concept Nails

Your light concept nails are highly durable and should last quite some time with normal use. However, you can preserve your light concept gel nails by practicing extra care such as:

  • Wearing rubber gloves when washing dishes
  • Avoiding sustained scratching or picking - use a coin instead of your nail to scratch your lottery tickets!
  • Avoiding using hand sanitizer (it can strip the topcoat)
  • Reapplying top coat routinely
  • Wearing gloves when gardening or working with fine materials that can get under the light concept nail material

How to Remove LCN Gel Nails at Home

Because light concept nails are so strong, they are somewhat difficult to remove. For best results, visit your salon for light concept nail removal. However, if you are feeling confident – or desperate – you can remove them yourself at home.

To do so, start by washing your hands with antibacterial soap in order to prevent any infections should you cut your skin during the removal process. Next, apply some cuticle oil to soften cuticles. Gently push your cuticles back using an orange stick in order to expose the natural nail. Using a nail file, buff away the light concept nail material from the natural nail. Be extremely careful not to buff into your natural nail! Remove as much of the light concept nail as you can reasonably do, but leave the small pieces and traces of light concept nail material – it’s not worth risking damaging your natural nails in removing every last piece. Over the coming days, the remaining bits of light concept nail material will wear off through normal activity.

How Are LCN Nails Applied

Light concept nails are applied in a multi-step process. To begin, the hands are prepared in a similar fashion to other nail product applications by washing them to remove oils and lotions and soaking them in warm water to soften the cuticles. The technician will apply cuticle oil to further soften the cuticles and then use an orange stick to push the cuticles back. Depending on how long you would like your nails to be, the technician may attach a form to your finger in order to build up the light concept nail material into a nail extension. Next, the technician will apply a nail bonder to your nails so the light concept nail material will attach firmly to your natural nails. The technician will then apply the gel on top of the bonder. If desired, the technician will extend the layer of gel onto the nail form to create the nail extension. Then, the technician will place your hands in a light concept nail light unit. This unit delivers ultraviolet radiation which cures the light concept nail material in about two minutes. The technician will then apply additional layers of gel to build up the desired nail shape and style, curing after each application. The technician will then file and shape the nails as desired, and your nails are set!

Benefits of Light Concept Nails Over Acrylics

There are many reasons to choose light concept nails over acrylic. To begin, not only do light concept nails last much longer than acrylics, but they also tend to stay shinier and more vibrant over time. Another huge benefit that light concept nails has over acrylics is that there is no harsh chemical smell during the application process, so they are preferable for people with smell sensitivity or who are pregnant, or who like to breathe well in general. Similarly, the removal of acrylic nails requires soaking them in acetone, which gives off noxious fumes and can also make the natural nails dry and brittle. Light concept nails do not require acetone for the removal process. There are benefits to acrylic nails over light concept nails, but the lack of toxic chemical fumes during the application and removal processes are noteworthy.

What's the Difference Between LCN and Gel Nails?

LCN nails are actually a type of gel nail. The abbreviation is short for light concept gel nails. LCN nails are a cosmetic extension of your natural nail and are considered better quality than acrylics. They are lightweight, flexible, and durable, meaning they look quite natural and last longer than many other types of fake nails. The reality is, though, that LCN nails are not necessarily better than other types of gel nails. Like LCN nails, other gel types use cutting-edge curing technology, are durable, are flexible, and can last for weeks when properly taken care of.

What Are the Benefits of LCN Nails?

There are several benefits to LCN nails when compared to acrylic nails. First and foremost, LCN products are safer not only for you and your nails but for the nail technician who works on your hands. This is because they do not use any harsh chemicals that can be harmful when touched or inhaled. LCN nails are also more durable than acrylic nails and can last indefinitely with proper care and regular touch-ups. This type of gel nail is non-porous as well, which means it will not damage your natural nail or cause unsightly discoloration over time. The lack of harsh chemicals even means that gel nails smell better than acrylic nails.

How Are LCN Nails Applied?

LCN nails are created using a resin that is high in protein but free of acids or other harmful chemicals that can damage your natural nails. The resin becomes hard when dried under ultraviolet light, making your new nails strong but flexible.

When you head to the salon to have your LCN nails applied, the nail technician will first clean and buff your natural nails and nail bed. This makes the LCN nails go on more smoothly and look more natural. Next, the technician will apply a clear, flexible gel that protects your natural nail. It is sculpted onto your nail and dried with UV light. Next, your nail technician will apply your chosen nail polish color or colors, again using ultraviolet light to set and harden the nails. The time it takes to complete the process depends on how long you want your nails to be and how complicated the designs or colors of your choosing are to apply.

How Long Do LCN Nails Last?

When properly taken care of, LCN nails can last indefinitely. However, nail technicians do recommend that people who wear LCN nails come in every 2-3 weeks for a fill-in and touch-up. This ensures that any nail growth you've had will match the rest of your nails as well as helps to ensure that your nails remain a comfortable length for the type of work you do with your hands. After all, it can be hard to type, sew, or do a range of other activities if your nails become too long.

How Do You Take Off LCN Nails?

The best idea is to go to your professional nail technician to have your LCN nails removed. However, if you must do them at home, there are a few steps that you will need to follow. First, you'll need to use a cuticle stick to gently press back your cuticles. Next, grab a nail file and apply light pressure to begin buffing away the LCN nails. Be careful not to buff or file your natural nail under the LCN polish. If you are having trouble with the cuticles or the buffing, it helps to first wash your hands with antibacterial soap and then to soak them in a manicure bowl filled with cuticle softener.

After you buff the nails, you'll likely need to use an acetone-based nail polish remover. Soak a cotton ball in the nail polish remover and place it on top of your nail. Use a small square of foil to hold the cotton ball in place on your nail. Do this for every nail on both hands and allow them to sit for a while. Eventually, they will come off and expose your natural nail underneath. Use lotion and nail strengtheners to help your natural nails go back to their usual shine.

Can You Cut LCN Manicures?

You should never try to cut LCN or any other type of gel nails. If you cut a gel-based manicure, you cut the seal they've made with your natural nail. When that happens, water can get between the gel polish and your natural nail, causing them to separate from each other and letting the gel lift from your natural nail, ruining your manicure in the process. If you decide your nails are too long, head to your nail technician to find a solution.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a BeautyAnswered editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "
Discussion Comments
By anon349873 — On Sep 30, 2013

Someone mentioned toe application with LCN. Yes they have products just for toes. Call LCN and they can tell you the salons in your area that have recently ordered from them. Good luck. I am a NJ tech who uses it and I love the product!

By anon343274 — On Jul 28, 2013

In Naples, FL --- Irene at Roberto of Italy -- she is great!

By anon244702 — On Feb 02, 2012

Does anyone know where to get LCN nails in Toronto or even better Oakville? I just moved there from the UK and would love to have my LCN nails back.

By anon228868 — On Nov 10, 2011

I know of two nail salons I go to during the (I live in Philly) only that does good LCN correctly.

One is For Your Nails and the other is Alpha Nails. They do really good LCN either freehand or with a cutter, depending on if it's a pink or pink and white fill. Apparently, they are the same owners! Found out after I overheard a customer talking about their other shop a couple blocks down towards seaside!

One that does horrible nails is JK nails that's in between the two nail salons above. They used a fake LCN product in a real LCN jar that was real old and beat up! I only found out after the shading of the pink was slightly different shades of pink!

Avoid the JK nails like the plague!

By anon209608 — On Aug 27, 2011

after reading that, I think I am going to get LCN nails done knowing that they are better than gel nails, that I have been using for the past three years.

By anon186968 — On Jun 16, 2011

Does anyone know a salon that does LCN nails in NYC? It seems impossible to find anyone!

By anon167889 — On Apr 14, 2011

I live in the Palm Springs, CA area and was told by a salon in the area that they don't carry LCN products here. I have had them done in NJ, but now have to revert to acrylic under Light Elegance, which are the products they carry in this area. I'd rather use just gel nails, but the LE aren't as durable as LCN. Please advise as to where I can find an LCN salon close by.

By anon148216 — On Jan 31, 2011

Dear S.E.: I am also looking for an LCN salon/manicurist in Naples Fl. Did you receive any responses?

By anon145604 — On Jan 24, 2011

I'm looking for a salon that use Light Concept Nails in Hamburg, NJ. I have been to many of the salons in the area all claiming they use LCN product but it's not!

Ginny - Hamburg, NJ

By anon144672 — On Jan 20, 2011

I have my LCN gel nails done in New Jersey. Can you give me the name of a salon in Palm Beach Florida that does gel maintenance using LCN products? Thanks.

By anon123613 — On Nov 02, 2010

I got LCN's last week and I have to say that I love them. They are a little thick at the tip and I would like a curve, but otherwise they are great. I don't even know that they are there.

By anon107116 — On Aug 28, 2010

I live in the Philadelphia area and am willing to travel to Nj to try this system. I know one of the posters was from Nj. Can somebody give me a list of salons for my area. It's hard to find them online. Thanks in advanced!

By anon104833 — On Aug 18, 2010

I am looking for a salon in the Baltimore area that does LCN. Can anyone help with this request?

By anon102824 — On Aug 09, 2010

My mom is visiting me from ca and we need to find someone who can properly apply to her nails. She is allergic to everything else. Help, help, help. I live in cedar rapids iowa. Thanks, sf

By anon84791 — On May 17, 2010

LCN is the only product I will use, I have been in the business for over 20 yrs and have tried every gel product available to date.

No matter how much I try to save money (LCN is a very expensive product) I always resort right back to my LCN after the trials of others, you do get what you pay for and I have yet to see a product with the same application and over all quality of LCN. I will continue to use them.

Tammy, NJ

By anon75027 — On Apr 05, 2010

Is LCN an option for use when toenails have been surgically removed as well as the nail bed?

By anon70171 — On Mar 12, 2010

What distributor in the Charlotte market carries Light Concepts?

By anon53446 — On Nov 21, 2009

I have had gel nails for 17 years and I get compliments often telling me that my nails are beautiful. People think they are my own (which they are) only with the gel on top. I love them.

By anon52496 — On Nov 14, 2009

My mom gets LCN's all the time! She is really happy with them!

By anon48078 — On Oct 09, 2009

I also moved to Hilton Head and am looking for a salon in the savannah area.

By anon44118 — On Sep 04, 2009

I love LCN's. I just had them done the other day. I love them. No drilling, no dangerous chemicals!!

By anon44117 — On Sep 04, 2009

The Nail School in Charlotte, has LCN's. And students need practice. So try that place. The Mango Tree Salon in Cornelius, also has LCN's.

By anon43501 — On Aug 29, 2009

I had LCNs when I lived in New Jersey. I moved to Charlotte, NC, and I cannot find a LCN Salon. Any ideas? Thanks so much!

By anon43054 — On Aug 25, 2009

I had my nails done in NYC and want to find salons in Charleston or Savannah area. Thanks.

By anon38218 — On Jul 24, 2009

LCN is a great product I have been using it for a long time in ohio. I have great luck with it and everyone loves it!!

By anon34046 — On Jun 16, 2009

Where can I find a LCN salon in Southern Cal, specifically in the Pasadena area?

By anon29091 — On Mar 26, 2009

Please let me know what nail salons in Naples, Florida and Toronto, Canada use the LCN product.

Thank you. S.E.

Niki Acker
Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a BeautyAnswered editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range...
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