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.