21 Dec 2014

How to do gel nails at home

Firstly, this is a dislaimer - I am not a trained nail technician.

Back in October I blogged about the research I had done into doing your own gel nails at home. After this I invested in a UV lamp, some polishes and all the kit and thought I would share with you how I've been getting on and importantly, how to do a gel manicure at home! I buy everything from eBay so it's accessable to all of us and fairly cheap - the whole lot cost the same as three professional manicures.

Firstly, here are the manicures I have done so far...

Christmas nails using gold glitter and OPI gel nail polish

Nude and polka dot nails with bluesky polishes

Plain old red nails with Gel Lovers from eBay (wouldn't recommend this brand, chipped easily)


How to do a gel manicure at home with a UV lamp (LED ones are soooo expensive I couldn't afford one)

  1. Remove all nailvarnish from your nails, make sure they are squeaky clean
  2. File and shape your nails how you wish, push back your cuticles, then take the shine off the top by using a 100/120 grit file to lightly buff the nail surface
  3. Using a nail sanitiser, remove any dirt from the nails. I like to use Gellux Profile Prep + Wipe because it sanitises the nails, and also cleans them afterwards. It seems to contain alcohol which is what's needed to prepare the nails for the basecoat too. 
  4. Really slowly, apply a very thin layer of base coat. The polish will glide on much better than regular nailvarnish so it's fairly easy to do this. Make sure it doesn't go on your skin as it will cause the polish to last less well
  5. Cure for 120 seconds under the lamp
  6. Apply a thin layer of the colour, again ensuring you don't go over the skin. If you do, wipe it off before you cure, and then cure for another 120 seconds. 
  7. Repeat step 6 until you have the colour intensity you want. 
  8. At this point you can add nail art if you wish such as polka dots. If you make a mistake, it will just wipe off without disturbing the colour underneath as it is cured. Ensure you remember to cure the nail art for 120 seconds under UV.
  9. Put a layer of topcoat over when you are finished, again a thin layer ensuring it's all on the nail and cure for 120 seconds
  10. Wipe over with prep and wipe again to remove all the stick residue from the nail and you have your own gel manicure! 

How to do a glitter gel manicure (buy cosmetic/manicure grade glitter)
   Steps 1-5 are the same
   6.  Using a small brush, buff some glitter onto the sticky residue left from curing the base coat.   
   7.  Brush off any excess glitter
   8. Apply a layer of topcoat (I have 2 topcoats, one for glitter manicures, one for normal manicures, because glitter will get caught in the brush) and cure for 120 seconds
   9. Repeat steps 6-8 again 


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