Skip to Content

How much does it cost to refill gel nails?

Getting your nails done can be an exciting and luxurious experience, but it can also get quite pricey over time. Gel manicures have become increasingly popular for their durability and long-lasting finish. However, the costs add up every time you need to get them refilled. So how much does it actually cost to refill gel nails?

The Cost of Gel Nail Refills

On average, a gel manicure refill costs between $25 and $50. The price can vary based on factors like:

  • Salon location – Major cities and upscale salons tend to charge more
  • Nail technician experience level – More experienced techs often charge higher prices
  • Extent of refill needed – Refills after 2 weeks tend to cost less than after 4
  • Extra services – Add-ons like nail art, paraffin dips, or massage can add to the cost

Many salons offer refill discounts compared to a full gel manicure, which can cost $35-$65 on average. Getting refills every 2-3 weeks is recommended to maintain the look and prevent lifting.

Cost Breakdown of a Gel Refill

A typical gel manicure refill may include the following services and costs:

Service Average Price Range
Nail shaping/filing $5-$10
Cuticle cleaning/treatment $5-$15
Gel polish application $15-$40
Hand massage $5-$15

As you can see, the gel polish application itself tends to account for the biggest portion of the total service cost. More elaborate nail shaping or additions like paraffin dips or French tips can also drive up the price.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Gel Refills

There are a several factors that can influence the cost of getting your gel manicure refilled:

1. Salon Location

Like most beauty services, location makes a difference when it comes to the price of a gel refill. In expensive big cities like New York City or San Francisco, a standard refill may cost $40 and up. The same refill in a small town could potentially cost $25 or less.

2. Type of Gel Polish

Basic gel polish options tend to be the least expensive. But salons also offer luxury gel brands like Gelish, OPI, or CND Shellac that can add a few dollars to the price. Opting for gel polish addons like glitter, confetti, or charms can also tack on additional costs.

3. Extent of Refill Needed

How much of the gel manicure needs to be re-done makes a difference in the refill price. For refills after just 2-3 weeks, technicians often do less filing and replacement of the gel. Refills after the full 4 weeks tend to require more work, and thus may cost more.

4. Extra Services

Many clients choose to complement their gel refill with add-on services like paraffin wax dips for moisture and softening. Others may opt for extras like nail art, airbrushing, nail jewels, or masssage. These services can each add $5-$20 to the total refill price.

Saving Money on Gel Refills

While gel refills will require a certain investment every few weeks, there are some ways to save on costs:

  • Go to an affordable salon in a nearby suburb vs. an upscale hot spot downtown
  • Pay attention to discounts or coupon days at your favorite salons
  • Join reward programs to earn points and sometimes free services
  • Ask about lower pricing for juniors/seniors, if applicable
  • Consider skipping extra services like add-ons or massage
  • Extend the time between refills by a few days if your schedule allows
  • Book on slower days/times to get lower demand pricing

With some savvy scheduling and researching of prices, you can keep your gel refill costs within a reasonable budget.

Is Refilling Gel Nails Worth the Cost?

While gel refills do come with recurring costs every few weeks, many still find them worthwhile for:

  • Durability – Gel polish lasts 2-4 weeks without chipping or smudging
  • Damage resistance – Gel helps protect and strengthen natural nails
  • Glossy finish – Gel has an ultra glossy, salon-perfect finish
  • Time savings – No need for regular polish touch-ups between refills
  • Customization – Gel offers endless color and art possibilities

The convenience of longer lasting nails with virtually no maintenance between appointments is the key allure. While traditional polish may seem cheaper up front, it requires far more frequent touch-ups and reapplication. In the long run, gel manicure refills often end up being less hassle and more cost effective.

Professional Gel Refills vs. At-Home Kits

As an alternative to salon gel refills, many drugstores now sell at-home gel manicure kits from brands like SensatioNail, Gelish, or Red Carpet Manicure. These provide the polish and UV or LED lamp needed to apply gel at home.

Home gel kits offer greater convenience and can cost less over time. The initial supply investment may be $40-$80 for the lamp and polish set. After that, replacement polish bottles can cost $10 or less. Doing your own gels at home does save trips to the salon and lets you work on your own schedule.

However, it takes practice to perfectly apply gel polish at home. And mistakes in the application or curing process can lead to premature peeling or chipping. Salon professionals have the expertise and tools to perfectly shape, clean, and cure your gel nails.

Many choose to maintain the look by doing gel refills at the salon every 2-3 weeks, with occasional at-home touch-ups in between.


Maintaining a beautiful, lasting gel manicure does come with recurring costs for refills every few weeks. But for many people, the extra expense is well worth it for gel’s durability and flawless extended wear. With typical gel refill prices ranging $25-$50, it is one of today’s most popular and convenient nail looks. Being smart about choosing affordable salons and taking advantage of discounts can help minimize the maintenance costs over time.