Any beauty or nail art fan worth her salt follows at least several hundred nail artists on Instagram. That is just the way of things. But while we mope and sigh over the latest beautiful gel mani we’ve liked and RG’d, the sad reality is that our budgets often won’t stretch to a trip to the salon to replicate said mani on our own nails. Yes, we’d love a pristine gel mani 24/7 but no, we just can’t afford one.
Or can we?
Salon trips might be costly but learning how to do your own gel nails at home is decidedly not. And the good news is it’s not even as hard as it looks! Get beautiful talons and save yourself some pennies with our guide to at-home gel nails.
Step 1 – Get Preppy!
Unlike acrylic nails, gel nails are designed to sit on top of your own nail so you’ll want your nail shape to be as perfect as possible (time to grab a nail file and get shaping!). Once you’ve perfected your shape, you can prep the surface of your nail. You want it to be completely clean, smooth and free from anything that will affect the evenness of your mani so start with a cuticle remover to get rid of any dead skin around the nail base (this Naillux Erase Cuticle Remover will do this gently and while moisturising and conditioning your nails and skin). When that’s done, remove any remaining dirt or natural oils with a quick swipe of an acetone nail polish remover.
Step 2 – Touch Base
A base coat is crucial to your mani because it’s the foundation that will ensure smoothness and protect your nails from any staining. Think of it like a primer for your nails. Before applying your gel, pop on one thin layer of base coat and then cure it under your Gel Lamp until it’s completely dry (very important!)
Step 3 – Layering and Curing
Now for your colour gel polish! Remember that you only need to paint on very thin layers each time, unlike normal polish. This is because you’re going to be layering up the colour over and over so it will look good eventually! To make sure each layer holds, paint right up and over the tip of your nail (to prevent peeling) and cure each layer under your lamp for at least two minutes. This bit takes patience so it can be a good idea to get your favourite box set lined up on Netflix first…
Step 4 – Shine On
Once you’ve done two or three layers, or you’re happy with the colour, pop on your shiny top coat and finish with another few minutes under the lamp. Et voila! One shiny, professional-looking gel mani that should last you up to 15 days!