Your Step-by-Step Guide to Gel Nails at Home

There’s nothing like a fresh manicure to brighten up your week, but going into the salon can be such a hassle. A good gel manicure can be upwards of 30 dollars and can take hours to do, plus there’s always the possibility of leaving dissatisfied with the service. What if I told you there was a way to get an insta-worthy manicure that will save you both time and money?

I recently received a complete gel manicure set as a gift (mostly a bribe from my mom to do her nails for her) and I can confidently say it is more than worth the investment. But don’t take my word for it, follow the steps below and try it out for yourself.

Step 1: Prepare Nails 

Remove all polish from nails; trim cuticles and push them back; cut and file nails to the desired length and shape. Using an emery board nail file to buff nails until the shiny surface has been removed. Rinse hands with water and dry thoroughly, NO SOAP.

Step 2: Apply Base Coat 

Coat the nail brushing from the base to the tip with a clear base coat. Remove excess polish from edges and cuticles. Place each hand under LED UV lamp for two 60 second rotations.  

(proceed to step 3 for a traditional manicure, if choosing a glitter manicure continue scrolling to the second set of steps.)

Step 3: Apply 1st Color Coat

After removing hand from nail lamp apply color of choice to the whole nail, refer to step 2 application process. Place each hand under LED UV lamp for two 60 second rotations.  

Step 4: Apply 2nd Color Coat

2nd coat and 3rd coat are dependent on how dark you want the color to be. After 1st color coat is completed and dried apply a 2nd coat of the same color. Place each hand under LED UV lamp for two 60 second rotations.

Step 5: Apply Top Coat

Cover the polish with a clear top coat. Remove excess polish from edges and cuticles. Place each hand under LED UV lamp for two 60 second rotations. Use rubbing alcohol and a paper towel to wipe each nail, after drying is complete, to remove any stickiness.

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Glitter Manicure

Step 3: Apply 1st Color Coat

After removing hand from nail lamp apply color of choice to the whole nail, refer to step 2 application process. Place each hand under LED UV lamp for one 30 second rotation.  

Step 4: Glitter Glitter Glitter

Dip brush into glitter of choice and apply to nail in desired thickness. Nails should not be dried completely to allow the glitter to adhere. Brush tip to base for ombre or base to tip for full nail. Once finished go over each nail again with the brush to remove any excess glitter.

Step 5: Apply 1st Top Coat

Cover the polish with a clear top coat. Remove excess polish from edges and cuticles. Place each hand under LED UV lamp for one 60 second rotation.

Step 6: Apply 2nd Top Coat

Repeat step 5 with a 2nd layer of top coat so the nail is smooth and the glitter is covered thoroughly. Place each hand under LED UV lamp for two 60 second rotations. Use rubbing alcohol and a paper towel to wipe each nail, after drying is complete, to remove any stickiness.

And voilá, beautiful, professional-looking nails for a fraction of the price and time. Imagine the look on everyone’s faces when they ask who did your nails and you say, “Oh I did them myself!” ;)

 

All photos provided by author. All equipment purchased on Amazon.