How to Do Gel Nails at Home
When you’re feeling a little bored with your nail polish routine, or just want to do something a bit different, gel nails are a good option. Not only are they long-lasting (up to two weeks, in some cases), but they’re also easy to remove if you need a break from regular polish.
Doing your own gel manicure isn’t as difficult as you might think, but it does require some patience and a little practice. If you’re a total beginner, however, it might be best to leave the gel nail application to the pros.
First things first, you’ll need to prep your nails before you can apply any polish. That means you’ll need a nail buffer and a cuticle remover.
The buffer is important for making sure your nail plate isn’t too smooth so that the gel won’t peel off. The cuticle remover is essential to removing any dead skin around your nails before you paint, which will ensure your gel stays on for the longest possible time.
Once your nails are prepped and ready to go, it’s time to choose a color and get started! Sams recommends choosing a nail polish with a thicker, more gel-like consistency. These types of gels aren’t as brittle as standard polishes, which can cause chips.
You’ll also need a nail base coat and a top coat, though if you want to avoid the extra steps, you can use a normal nail polish for the base. You can buy a gel top coat or try one of the ones you’ll find in most drugstores.
Aside from making your gel manicure last longer, these products will help keep your nails healthy. They contain antioxidants that protect your nail from free radical damage and help to prevent thinning, says Dr. Adigun, who is the director of clinical research and development at the American Association of Dermatology.
Before applying your gel polish, be sure to wipe away any oil residue from your hands (any oils that are still on the nails will lift your polish). To do this, swipe your nails with acetone before you wash them.
Next, be sure to prepare your nail plates by using a cuticle file or wooden cuticle pusher stick. This is the most important step, and it will make your manicure much more durable by preventing any paint from coming in contact with your cuticles.
Finally, when applying your gel polish, make sure to give yourself enough time between coats. It can be tempting to rush the process, but if you skip this step, it’ll result in your mani chipping before it even has a chance to set!
When you’re ready to take off the gel, be sure to soak your hands in 100% acetone for about 10 minutes before you pull them apart. This should help to remove the gel, but it’s not a substitute for professional nail removal, so if you have any issues, see a nail tech or a dermatologist.