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DIY Gel Nails at Home

We love breaking down topics in the world of beauty and style to make them less intimidating for you. Today's blog post is no different as we recently tackled learning to do Gel Manicures at home and now we're laying out all the details so you can do it too!

You may be wondering, "What's the point of doing them myself when I can get them done at the salon?"

And although there are definitely perks to showing up somewhere to have service finished for you, doing gel nails at home can be great for the gal wanting to save time, needing more flexibility than having a scheduled appointment, wanting to save some money by DIYing, ready to learn a new skill, etc. OR, if you're like me and your time out and about without a kiddo is limited, you'd rather not spend it sitting in a salon chair for hours if you can help it! That's what sparked my desire to learn to do nails during naptime. Plus, learning to do it myself means I get the same finished, long lasting look I love without the block in my calendar. Say goodbye to salon appointments and hello to the convenience of pampering yourself in the comfort of your own space.

Before we get started, I'll share the disclaimer that I'm a newbie at DIYing Gel but have been impressed at how easy it is to pickup. Especially if you're a minimal nail gal like me and a single color is all you're looking for, it can be a simple and fast process you'll get better at with time. Read on to learn the process from start to finish, including some beginner tips to keep in mind for longer lasting nails!

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

To start your at-home gel nail adventure, you'll need a few key items. I purchased nearly everything I use from Amazon (linked below). One benefit of DIYing is that by your second manicure, you'll have paid yourself back in savings from salon visits!

Make sure you have:

Step 2: Prep Your Nails

Before diving into painting with gel, it's crucial to prep your natural nails. Begin by removing any existing nail polish and soaking your fingers in warm water. This step helps soften the nails for shaping them to your desired length and shape. Here's a little guide for different nail shapes to go off of!

After shaping them, apply the Cuticle softener and rub in. Gently push back your cuticles using a cuticle pusher and remove them using your cuticle clippers.

Step 3: File and Buff

Next, use a nail file to rough up the top of your nails to give the polish more texture to adhere to. This step is essential for longer lasting application. Rinse them under warm water (without soap) to create a clean canvas for the gel application.

Random tip: From here on I recommend doing one hand from start to finish first with the polish before moving to next so that it will be totally dry before you start the other hand.

Step 4: Apply the Base Coat

Now it's time to apply the base coat. This layer not only helps the gel polish adhere better but also protects your natural nails. Ensure you apply the base coat evenly, and don't forget to seal the edges to prevent chipping. Keep every layer of polish as thin as possible and avoid getting polish anywhere on your skin or cuticle as this will cause it to be an area that lifts faster.

Step 5: Cure Under the Nail Lamp

Place your nails under a UV or LED nail lamp to cure the base coat. Follow the lamp's instructions for the recommended curing time, usually around 30 seconds to one minute. This process hardens the gel, providing a sturdy foundation for the color.

Step 6: Apply the Gel Color

Once the base coat is cured, it's time to apply the gel color of your choice. Be precise and apply thin, even layers to avoid clumps and unevenness. Cure each layer under the nail lamp before moving on to the next. Two or three coats should suffice for vibrant, opaque color.

Step 7: Seal the Look with Top Coat

Apply a thin layer of gel top coat to seal in the color and add a brilliant shine to your nails. Cure the top coat under the nail lamp, and voilà – you're one step closer to achieving that salon-worthy finish.

Step 8: Clean Up

Use a cotton ball soaked in isopropyl alcohol to clean any excess gel polish around your nails. This step ensures a neat and polished look, leaving you with perfectly manicured nails!

Congratulations! You're on your way to mastering the art of gel nails at home. Give yourself grace in the process and know that you'll get better every time. Before long, you'll be able to enjoy a salon-quality manicure anytime without leaving your space!


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