What you need to do a gel manicure at home.
At home Gel manicures have exploded all over the place. You know it made it big as a trend when Sally Hansen makes a Gel kit.
You want to start doing your own gel manicures at home but don’t know where to start. I suggest buying a Gel starter kit. It comes with everything you need. There are two starter kits I’d suggest picking up either the Sally Hansen starter kit, or the Gelish Starter kit, except in the Gelish starter kit you have to buy the lamp to cure separately.
If you want to build a kit yourself these are the items you will need to buy:
*The LED or UV lamp drier (which ever you prefer LED has shorter cure times of 30seconds. While UV has 2 minute cure times).
* The gel base coat. The base coat is what seals the color to your nail bed.
* Gel color polish. I like Gelish, and Sally hansen gel polish the best. Finger Paints also makes a gel polish line.
* Gel top coat. To seal the color to your nail bed, and also to give it the famous gel manicure shine.
* 99% Isopropsyl Alcohol. I couldn’t find the 99% in the store, so I had to buy it off amazon. Or you could buy pre-soaked squares from Sally Hansen, you can get 20 in a box for $5. The 99% Isopropsyl Alcohol is just more cost efficient.
* An orange stick to push back your cuticles. As well as to wipe the excess polish on the skin BEFORE you cure.
* Lint-free cotton squares
* 100% acetone nail polish remover.
What in the world does “Curing” mean?!?
I know I wondered what curing meant in the beginning. It’s a term thrown around so much we all just assume everyone knows what it means. The reason Gel manicures are special is because the polish does not air dry, but needs to be dried through lamps.
What happens when you cure your gel polish is that the polish hardens to your nails. That’s why a gel base coat is important it bonds it to your nail.
No matter what you do, you must ALWAYS, ALWAYS cure your nails after each coat of gel polish. Cure time depends on what type of lamp you use. UV lamps are 2 minutes cure time. LED lamps are 30 seconds. If you do not cure your gel polish under a desginated gel light lamp, your gel polish will never harden.
How to paint your nails with gel polish:
Okay so we went over supplies needed, and what curing meant. Now its time to get to the meat and potatos of this gel polish lesson.
You have to Prep your nails. This includes, removing old polish. Filing your nails. Pushing back your cuticles.
After you prep your nails you apply a thin layer of base coat to your nail bed, including the tip/’free edge’ of your nail. Cure this for required time depending on lamp.
Apply 2 to 3 coats of your desired color gel polish. Don’t forget to paint the tip/’free edge’ once. Use thin coats. Between each coat cure this for required time depending on lamp. Also always wipe off the excess polish that gets on skin BEFORE you cure, so it doesn’t harden to your skin.
Apply gel top coat. Include the tip/’free edge’ one last time. Cure for rquired time depending on the lamp.
Use your pre soaked after gel polish wipes. Or a lint free cotton pad soaked in 99% Isopropyl Alcohol to gently wipe off the sticky residue on the nails.
Boom! You’re done and now have a shiny new gel manicure!!
Tips and Questions for Gel manicures
Question: Why are my nails sticky?
~~From curing your gel polish it leaves a sticky resiude, no matter what you do, do not touch, or smudge the gel polish when it’s sticky. When that happens it will not set right meaning it might not be as shiney. Don’t touch the nails until you do the final step of wiping down the nail.
Question: Do I have to use Gel polish for the whole manicure?
I don’t want to confuse any beginners so, yes you do. Regular polish does not dry in the same manner as gel polish so it won’t cure under your gel lamps.
Question: What’s the ‘free edge’ of your nail?
It’s the tip of your nail, the edge. It’s important to pant on that because it’s what wears away in nail wear first. It’s your first defense on chipping.
Question: Why do I HAVE to get 99% Isopropyl Alcohol? I can find 77% Isopropyl Alcohol in my local drugstore, why can’t I use that?
I tried the lower Isopropyl Alcohol before and I feel like it doesn’t get the tackiness off the nail. I also feel that my manicure doesn’t set right when I used a lower Isopropyl Alcohol.
Tip: Always apply thin coats of gel polish. Most gel polishes are on the watery side. When you apply thick coats of polish they could settle in the edges of your nails when it’s thickly applied. Which means it could peel away.
I hope this clears up and questions or concerns you have about gel polish. Please leave any questions or comments in the comment suggestion below. I would be happy to answer any lingering questions on at home gel polish.
All statements above is how I personally do gel manicures and I have learned from experince. I am no way a professional.