I love keeping my nails immaculate and used to spend a lot of money getting gel nails done by a beautician or at the salon. A couple of years ago I decided I should make the investment to buy a lamp and the gel nail kit and give it a go myself. Yes, it is a little tricky to master at first but you soon get the hang of the process its a breeze! I hope my simple guide will show you its not very daunting at all, and in the long run will save you money – whilst keeping your nails long and strong! Take a look at the difference above!
Some of the benefits of using gels (for those who haven’t before) include a lasting shine compared to regular nail polish, greater resistance to chipping and peeling (lasts up to 3 weeks), it helps your nails grow underneath with a thicker protective layer and they are instantly dry, no need to wait and worry about smudging! I am using the U-Spicy lamp, which I bought off Amazon for only £24.99. Buy it here.
Follow my simple steps and remember to be patient, especially for your first attempt.
1. Clean, buff and file your nails to your desired shape and length
I like to go for a slightly rounded square tip, classy and easy to do day to day activities without fear of breaking your nails. Remember to go a little bit shorter than you usually would as it lasts a couple of weeks, your nails will grow considerably in this time.
2. The base coat
Paint on your base coat carefully. I am using CND shellac top and base coat, but there are a number of good quality brands out there now readily available in larger Boots stores. If you make a mistake don’t worry, one of the benefits of using gels is they do not dry without the lamp so you can easily wipe away and slip ups (I like to use a cuticle stick to wipe off any excess on the skin around the nail).
Do one hand at a time, but keep them at the same stage so you don’t get mixed up. I tend to do four fingers at one time and leave the thumbs to go under the lamp separately. Place your hand flat under the UV lamp and wait until it automatically switches off. Ours is set to 120 seconds (2 minutes per nail).
Repeat with the next hand.
3. The colour coat
I am using OPI nude gel colour. The OPI brands are great, so we order our colours off Amazon. Repeat the steps you took for the base coat, once applied, you will repeat the procress. For most gel colours, you will need two coats to get a good solid colour and this also adds to the strength of the nail overall.
4. The top coat
I am using CND shellac top coat, and as before will carefully paint the top coat on and pop them under the lamp, doing one hand at a time, fingers and thumbs separately. As this is the final coat, I like to trace round the cuticles following application with your cuticle stick (before putting under the lamp), to create a final seal on the nail.
5. Finishing touches
Although it may look like you have finished, if you lightly touch the nail you will find they have a sticky top layer. So finally, apply some surgical spirit onto a cotton wool pad and use it to buff the residue off the nails surface, to reveal a shiny, tough and fully manicured nail!
And that is it! So have a go yourself, it costs upfront but definitely saves you money in the long run! Plus you have complete creative freedom, so go crazy with your colours!
If you want to find out how to remove gel manicures successfully without damaging the nail, let me know in the comments section below!