Hey y’all! Today I am sharing with y’all how to do gel nails at home! Everyone loves a good ‘ole DIY, right? I have been meaning to write this post for SUCH a long time, so sorry for the delay! For my 21st birthday, my sweet cousins got me a Gel LED light because I knew that I wanted to learn how to do my own gel nails. I figured that if I could get them done at the nail salon, surely I could do them myself, right?
Therefore, I bought the polishes, the base coat, top coat, and all of the other materials to do my own. I was SO determined to do my own gel nails at home… and to have them last a few weeks! The first time I did my gel nails on my own, they only lasted about 4 days. I would think to myself, What in the world?! How is this not lasting?
Over time, I changed my technique and tweaked my methods. Now, ever since August 2017, I have been painting my own nails (gel!) and I can get them to last me three weeks without chipping. The only reason I end up taking the polish off is because my nails grow out too long! How awesome is that?
Let’s go ahead and get into how to do your own gel nails!
If needed, push back your nail beds/cuticles. Since I don’t go to the nail salon anymore to get my nails done, I don’t even trim my cuticles anymore (I find that when I trim them, they grow back crazier!) and if anything, I’ll push my cuticles back with a little tool. Next step, apply rubbing alcohol on your nails and nail bed. I am pretty liberal with this, and I apply it with a paper towel to reduce the possible fuzz that could get on my nail- a little piece of fuzz will ruin your manicure!
Next, I apply this special PH bond. At first, I didn’t use this product, but when I started to use it, I could tell a MAJOR difference. My nails are naturally oily, so my gels would always peel up because my nails weren’t dry enough when I started out painting my nails. This basically dries out your nails to provide a good base for the polish.
Next up- the polish! Well, actually the base coat comes first, but yeah you get what I’m saying. My favorite brand of gel polish is definitely OPI’s line of gel products. You can’t buy OPI gel in stores, but I either get my nail technician to buy some for me, or I order it off of eBay! So first, apply your base coat. It kind of takes a while to get used to how thick you need to apply it, but try a thin coat to start off! I always make sure to “seal” the edge of my nail, too. You can do this by taking the edge of your nail polish brush and dusting the edge of your nail. Now, put your nails in your LED or UV lamp– mine automatically goes off at 120 seconds. Also, I forgot to mention that I do one hand at a time- that’s what I find is easiest for me!
Next, go ahead and apply your color! Apply it in thin coats and make sure to seal the edge if you can. Sometimes, I find it easier to seal the nail before I paint the actual nail- if I do it in the other order, the polish pools at the edge of my nail. So go ahead and apply your color (1 coat) and put it under the lamp. After your 1 coat, apply one more coat of polish and stick it in the light again!
I typically change my nail polish color every time I paint my nails, but it honestly just depends what my mood is! My go-to colors are “Just Lanai-ing Around,” “Lincoln Park After Dark,” “Big Apple Red,” and “Let Me Bayou a Drink.” The color that you see in the pictures that’s actually on my nails is, “Pompeii Purple.”
Once you have applied both (2!) coats of polish, go ahead and apply your top coat! Again, make sure to seal your nail at the edge- do this before you paint the nail with the top coat. Warning: the top coat is thicker, so be wary of this when applying it! I don’t necessarily paint it super thin, but just a normal amount. I like to have a good amount of top coat to give that great “gel” shine. Then, stick your nails into the machine for 120 seconds!
Once you have applied your top coat and you have “cured” it, take your rubbing alcohol again on your paper towel and rub your nails with it. It seems weird at first, but it gets off the tacky top layer and it helps your nails shine! If you don’t do this step, your nails will feel tacky and kind of gross.
If you make any mistakes with your polish while painting your nails, make sure that you clean it up BEFORE you cure your nails, even if it’s on your skin and you think you’ll get it off at the end. You won’t be able to get it off because it’s cured on your skin.
Once you have painted both hands, you’re good to go!
To remove your polish, you have to take the buffing block and buff your polish to get all of the shine off of your nails. Then, take cotton balls, soak them in acetone (I know, it’s gross), and wrap your nail in aluminum foil. I let them sit for about 10-15 minutes (I watch some Grey’s Anatomy) and then take them off! If all of the polish doesn’t come off, I can usually pick it off or use a nail scraper to get the rest off! Once I take the polish off, I immediately paint my nails right after!
Let me know if y’all try gel nails at home! I L O V E it and I’m seriously never getting my nails done ever again! At first, my painting was very subpar, but with practice, I have mastered painting my nails!