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Five Necessities for At-Home Gel Extensions

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USF chapter.

A small, but reassuring constant in my life has been my purple bin of nail polishes. Containing close to 30 nail polishes. This light purple opaque bin, which was probably from a toy set I had as a kid, has been with me through two houses, five schools, and countless years. Whenever I felt in one of my moods, the bin would be pulled out and my hands would have a pop of color for at least a week. Even though I would always keep my nails short for piano, that would never stop me from having my nails painted a bright color. 

I went through multiple phases over the years. I distinctly remember a period when my nails were always painted blue, then a period when messy polka dots adorned my fingers, and now when my nails will always be various shades of red or pink. As the years went on, my obsession with nail length also began. The end of piano lessons meant the start of growing my fingernails to whatever length I desired. Yet, I quickly realized how truly difficult it was to be able to grow my nails. Maybe it was due to the little water I drank, maybe it was due to my nervous nail biting, or maybe it was due to a vitamin deficiency, but my nails cannot grow properly. Even if they grew to the perfect length, they would eventually break, meaning I would have to start from the beginning. 

Naturally, this led me to a fascination with acrylic nails. While I have had acrylic nails only twice, there are a few impracticalities with always going to the salon/ nail tech. First, the price, being able to drop $60+ every week is often not feasible for most. Second, the health concerns, with the negative effects of UV, the usage of illegal MMA material, and the brutal removal of cuticle skin, a lot of trust must be placed in the nail tech. 

This leads to the introduction of the alternative: gel-x nails at home. By doing your own nails at home, you can control the manicure process more, making it safer for you. In the beginning, it can be slightly daunting to know everything you need to be able to do your nails at home, and for this exact reason, I have outlined some favorites to make it easier for you. 

Beetles Gel Nail Kit

A kit consisting of a file, nail clipper, UV lamp, nail glue, and nail extensions contains essentially 75% of the tools needed to do your nails at home. Regardless of the design or shape you want to do, a basic kit such as this will aid you in doing so. In comparison to its competitors, “Beetles”, the nail brand, tends to offer such bundles at competitive prices, giving you room to experiment with the application of the nails, without large consequences.

Glass Nail File

Even though the Beetles kit contains a nail file, it is better to use a glass file on your natural nail. The glass file is often more gentle and does not promote breakage, making it easier to slowly grow your natural nail, and decrease your dependence on the artificial nail.

Nail Primer & Nail Dehydrator

An important part of the process of applying an artificial nail is the prep. Before applying the gel glue or the nail, you must ensure your nail is as dehydrated as possible. With a dehydrated nail, the glue is most likely to better stick to your nail, ensuring that the artificial extension stays attached as long as possible. The primer and dehydrator aid in this process, while the top coat aids in sealing the nail polish, and the cuticle oil aids in the rehydration of your nail to keep it healthy.

Modelones Gel Nail Polish

Offering a variety of color schemes, making a one-time purchase of six nail polishes opens up a world of possibilities. Unlike most of the other items on this list, gel nail polish is versatile as you can use it regardless of whether or not you are also applying for an artificial nail extension. By using gel nail polish, the polish is less likely to chip, meaning that your manicure is more likely to last longer.

Nail Art Brush

While it might have been acceptable to paint your nails a single color a few years ago, it is now more common to have some design or pattern made using nail polishes or gems. This kit offers various gems and brushes, making it possible to apply various designs. Nonetheless, this kit should not limit you as through further exploration, and understanding of your preferred nail designs, you can order other various gems and stones.

While it might seem like a large sum at first, it is fair to consider this an investment. By making a large one-time purchase, you avoid having to make smaller multiple purchases over the year. With summer rapidly approaching, mastering the art of applying your gel extensions ensure you will have a fresh and trendy manicure every other week.

Tanmayee Kanagala is a first-year majoring in biomedical sciences and minoring in political science. With aspirations to one day enter the medical field, she enjoys having creative outlets that differ from her future career path.