Easy guide on how to do your own gel manicure at home

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Quarantine has us adapting to a new norm…

…and a new self-care routine. We can’t get just book an appointment and get our nails done or haircut at the salon on a whim nowadays. However, there’s good news – we can teach ourselves to do these at home!

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Been wondering when is the next time you’ll be able to go get your nails done at a salon? Given the state of current events, it still may be a while before you can due to social distancing measures. That doesn’t mean you have to go months on end without a salon-style manicure though because guess what ladies (and gents) – you can do do your own manicure and pedicure right at home!

Before the pandemic, I was getting my mani and pedi done once a month (in San Francisco expect to spend anywhere between $50-$120). I opted for acrylic nails with gel polish and an occasional design. Manicures gave my fingers that little pizazz and I love how you can express yourself and your personal sense of style with nails.

However, after lockdown started nail salons all around the world had to close their doors in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, forcing us to evaluate our budget and adapt to a new way of life. It was difficult at first; I had become so accustomed to booking the service of others to do things for me that I could certainly do for myself but I always made myself believe that I “didn’t have the time”. Now, I’ve got more free time than I could ever ask for.

That is when I decided to do some research on how to give myself a gel manicure and create a little mini salon for myself at home. It takes me about two hours to do either a gel manicure or pedicure (which is half an hour longer than it would take at a salon). The items needed for doing a home gel manicure were all available on Amazon and once ordered were delivered promptly.

Before and after at home manicure

Items you’ll need:

Acetone
Sally Hansen
Murara
Gel nail polish remover
SUNUV
UV LED lamp

Onwon
Buffing block
Terresa
Nail clippers
Nitidus Stylish
Cuticle cutter

Sally Hansen
Instant cuticle remover
AIMEILI
Nail bond primer
MORGLES
Nail polish remover soak off clips
CND
Cuticle nail oil
Swan
Rubbing alcohol
Yesorno
3D nail studs
Pine Nail
Pastel Nail Polish
Gellen
Nail Polish Kit

Prep your nails.

First step is to prepare your nails before applying your new gel polish! If you have any old gel polish on, make sure to remove it completely. I love using Murara’s Magic Nail Polish Gel Remover but last I checked, Amazon is currently out of stock – a great alternative is Aliver’s Magic Gel Nail Polish Remover. Versus the traditional way of removing nail polish by soaking nails in acetone, these revolutionary gel polish removers remove polish within two minutes of application. After applying, take a cuticle pusher to remove degraded polish.

This next step should only be done if necessary…

Apply instant cuticle remover to nail bed and push back cuticles with cuticle pusher. Trim cuticles with cuticle cutter if desired but keep in mind that there’s no benefit to trimming cuticles – its for cosmetic purposes only and can actually make your cuticle beds susceptible to infection and germs. Its better to just trim loose skin and hangnails.

Instant cuticle remover

Next, cut nails to desired length using fingernail clippers and shape as desired using nail file. Different nail shapes include: round, almond, coffin, square, stiletto, arrowhead and squoval.

Afterwards, buff entire nail and using a handle grip nail brush remove any debris.

Apply sunscreen.

Don’t forget to use sunscreen on your hands!

Since you will be using a UV lamp, make sure protect your skin with a sunscreen containing least SPF 15. My favorite one to use is Supergoop! Handscreen which contains SPF 40.

Paint nails and cure.

First, apply nail bond primer. Wait for 30-60 seconds for nails to completely dry.

Next, apply base coat. Most gel polish nail kits already come with base coat and top coat polishes but if not, Gellen has a great base and top coat duo that I highly recommend. Cure under UV LED light for 60 seconds.

Apply two layers of desired nail gel polish color and cure for 60 seconds after each layer is applied.

Then apply top coat and cure for 60 seconds. Repeat two more times.

Add nail art.

TEOYALL
Dotting kit
Saviland
Spider Gel
Nail Angel
Nail sticker sheets

If you want to give your nails a little pizazz, there are so many ways to design your newly colored nails. One is nail art, tiny decorative stickers. After curing the top coat, use tweezers to lay down stickers on nail. Make sure there are no air bubbles and seal edges with top coat. Cure for 60 seconds.

Another way to design your nails is to use a dotting pen and draw anything you desire. Polka dots, zigzag lines, the moon and flowers are the most popular. Make sure to apply a layer of top coat and cure for 60 seconds after you decorate.

Polish off.

Soak a piece of gauze in rubbing alcohol clean every nail. If there is any nail polish on the skin, use a toothpick dipped in acetone and remove excess polish. Be careful not to touch your nail.

Rubbing alcohol

Add cuticle oil to each nail bed and massage into cuticle.

CND Solar Oil

Doing your own nails is definitely one of those “practice makes perfect” activities; the more you do it, the easier it becomes – and with every session you’ll be refining your own technique and style (not to mention doing your own nails is great for someone on a budget because it will be saving you a pretty penny)!

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