Traditional nail polishes are prone to chipping within a few days, quite often due to more oil production on the nail bed which prevents the polish from adhering for a prolong duration. Doing your own gel nails can seem intimidating but it is SUPER easy and rewarding because of all the time and money you save. Gel polish is the latest trend for those struggling with long-wearing nail polish. Unlike regular nail polish, gel polish is a thinner formula and more flexible than standard acrylic enhancements so it will not chip easily from your nails. This gel nails guide includes instructions, tips and FAQs. Leave a comment if you still have questions.
Tools for Doing Gel Nails
- 99% Isopropyl Alcohol
- Cotton Pads or Lint Free Wipes
- UV Lamp or LED Lamp
- Gel/Shellac Base Coat
- Gel/Shellac Color Coat
- Gel/Shellac Top Coat
DIY Steps for Gel Nails
- Begin with clean and trimmed nails. Use a cuticle oil to remove any excess skin laying on the nail plate, you can also push the skin back with a orangewood stick for a smooth surface. A nail file will shape the nails to your desired length to get your nails ready for the gel polish. Excess oil and residue should be removed with a cotton ball dampened with acetone.
- Apply a cuticle remover on your cuticles and then push back each cuticle with a metal or wood cuticle pusher. If you have tough cuticles then you can soak them in warm water to soften them for one to two minutes before you push back your cuticles.
- Base coat is important to protect your natural nails from damage. Apply a very thin coat of the base gel to the nails, avoid applying the base gel polish close to your cuticle. Place your nails under a UV or LED lamp. LED lamp will cure the gel polish in just 30 seconds, or 2 minutes with a UV lamp.
- Apply a very thin coat of gel polish color. Remember to use the thinnest layers step by step to prevent the gel polish from lifting off the nail. Cure the nail under the UV or LED lamp.
- Apply one coat evenly and cure for the prescribed time (typically 90 seconds-2 minutes). I really like to layer on and cure a second coat to make the color bolder, especially if I’m working with a sheer polish.
- Finish with a thin layer of top coat for a glossy look and cure it under the UV or LED lamp. This coat is a critical step and is key in creating a long lasting manicure. Apply a thin and even layer, then cure for the prescribed time limit.
- Wipe with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol. Now your pretty gel nails will be dry, hardened, smooth and shiny.
How Do I Remove Gel Nail Polish?
- File and gently buff the top coat off your gel nails until the glossy finish is removed.
- Use 100 percent acetone and soak a small piece of cotton ball.
- Cut small square pieces of tin foil for each nail to wrap around your finger. Wrap the cotton ball on your nail and place a small piece of tin foil on top, wrapping it tightly.
- Allow the nails to soak in the acetone for 15 minutes, making sure the cotton is placed directly on your nail.
- Remove each wrapper one nail at a time, the gel polish should be softened and released from the nail. Use a orangewood stick to gently push the gel off your nail. If any small piece of polish is remaining, use a nail file to buff it off or repeat the removal process.
- If the polish is still hard, reapply the cotton soaked acetone with the tin foil and leave it on for a longer duration. Continue until all of the color is removed from your nails.
- Finish with CND nail oils, massage it all over your nails and cuticles to treat any dryness and replenish moisture leaving them looking silky and radiant.
Will Gel Nail Polish Ruin My Nails?
This is a common question we care about because the gel nails removal process is so different than normal nail polish. Typically people who have very sensitive/weak nails or who are addicted to gel manicures and get them non-stop back to back are the people who have problems with nail damage. In general, the most of us can do gel nails at home safely if we give our nails a break for at least one week in between nails manicures. Improper removal is another main cause for the damage. If you get impatient and scrape it off, this can leave white spots and damage your nails. Ultimately, if you give your nails a chance to breathe and remove gel properly and you’ll be good.
Is Gel Nail Polish Safe?
Many people are concerned about the affects of using a UV or LED Lamp to cure the gel nails. My opinion is that gel manicures are safe in moderation and are no where near as risky as laying out on the beach in the sun. There are conflicting reviews on the safety of UV Nail Lamps but most dermatologists seem to think it is perfectly safe. There are also safety precautions you can take at home by using Anti-UV gloves.
What is Shellac or Gel?
Many of you are wondering what is shellac? Is it different than Gel? Shellac is the brand name that the company CND chose for their gel product. So shellac and gel are essentially the same thing.