What Is Shellac / Gel
Gel is a type of nail polish that is extremely long lasting and will go with out chipping for as long as 2 weeks. Different brands chip sooner than others so the timeframe really depends. You will need a UV lamp or LED lamp if you want to do DIY gel nails at home. The only downside is that gel is more difficult to remove then normal nail polish, but its totally worth it because you would have to take off normal polish twice in the time frame one gel manicure lasts!! Plus, I will show you how you can remove gel nail polish easily.
Many of you are wondering what is shellac? Is it different than Gel? Shellac is the brand name that the company CND chose for their gel product. So shellac and gel are essentially the same thing. Still have questions on Gel? Check out this guide to learn more.
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Apply The Gel Base Coat
Typically, most gel brands sell a gel base coat, but this can vary depending on the brand. Shake the bottle to blend, then apply the base polish on your nails without getting it all over your cuticles or fingers. Then immediately put your hands under the UV/LED lamp to cure for the prescribed time by the manufacturer of the gel product you are using. Some brands require curing for 1 minute while others require more time. Check the box or bottle for directions or go online to the manufacturers website to find out how long you should cure your nails.
How Do You Safely Remove A Gel Mani
Your nail beds and cuticles are what’s most important â they’re made of living tissue, which is why you need to be careful during the application and removal process. DON’T rip them off. You can either gels removed at a salon safely or remove them yourself at home with acetone, tin foil, cotton balls, and a nail file.
If you go the salon, make sure your technician is removing your gels carefully. “No one should be scraping your nail bed aggressively. The product should just crumble off,” says Miss Pop.
If you want to save money and a trip to the salon, just be extra careful. Here’s how Duguay-Gordon recommends removing your gels safely at home:
Ask your salon for that option. If you love your UV lamp for drying, put sunscreen on your hands before â just in case.
How To Remove A Gel Manicure
Its super easy! So dont pick at them.
My Favorite Gel Nail Polish Colors
When it comes to polish, I typically prefer OPI Gelcolor. Its what Im used to from my salon. I love the range of colors, and the soak off process is easy without harming my nails. I also love that their gel polish offerings mirror their regular polish. So if youve always loved cult-favorite colors like Bubble Bath, youll have the option to wear it in gel polish, too.
There are countless kinds of gel nail products available, and theyre not all the same quality. Some are harsher, require filing off, etc. So be certain to read packaging and do your research on their recommended removal techniques.
As far as colors, my favorite deep burgundy red polish that I wear on my toes essentially year-round is OPI GelColor in Got The Blues For Red, which I order via Walmart. My favorite color to wear on my hands in the summertime is Lisbon Wants Moor, which is a beautiful opaque light blush, and in the winter I actually use Got The Blues For Red on both my hands and feet most often. When shopping for gel polish, Ive found great OPI GelColor options on Overstock.com as well as Walmart.
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What Do I Need For Gel Nails At Home
I brought all my items separately as it worked out cheaper with faster delivery. Some items came together such as 1+2 and 3+4. I have linked all the items I purchased, but please bear in mind that I have Amazon Prime when it comes to delivery dates.
Get the whole gel nail kit.
These items are all linked above. I have put together a complete list on amazon here.
Does It Have A Good Color Offering
Finally, Aaron recommends looking for a kit that comes with colors youll actually want to wear. Some kits will only come with one or two shades, while pricier ones may contain an entire set. Theres no need to invest in a larger kit if you wont wear most of the shades, so look for one that contains a variety of colors you love.
Meet the Expert
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Is It Worth Doing Gel Nails At Home
Well, that depends on what you’re looking to get out of the process. One of the best things about doing your own gel nails at home is that it’s cheaper than going to the salonespecially if you get them regularly. Professional gel manicures usually start at $35 , whereas DIY kits start can cost anywhere from $30 to $80 and can be used as frequently as you like.
That said, if you’re a total newb when it comes to painting and filing your nails, you might want to leave your gel manis to the pros, since the process does require a steady hand and a decent amount of patience.
One: Filing Down The Polish
Once we were ready to get started, the nail expert instructed me to take the file from the kit and swipe it across the nail bed where the polish was still present excluding the grow out areas making sure to only go in one direction, rather than back and forth. The goal here is only to break down the top layer of polish, without hitting the natural nail.
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Removing Gel Nail Polish
Removing gel polish, however, is a different story altogether, and youll find a separate post about that here . Suffice to say, though, that its a lot more time-consuming than removing regular polish, and can be a bit of a pain. The fact that you only need to do it every few weeks, of course, helps balance that out, although if youre the type of person who likes to change your nail colour every few days, Id guess this system probably isnt for you!
In my case, Im not particularly adventurous with my nails, and tend to stick to the same colours all the time, so Im unlikely to get bored, or to find the removal process too much of an issue. With that said, Im finding it such a novelty to have painted nails which dont chip constantly that Ive become much more interested in nail polish all of a sudden, and have bought a few different colours which Im looking forward to trying out. Im unlikely to become obsessed with nail art or anything like that, because I just dont have the skill/patience to do it well, but Im loving this little DIY gel nail kit, and am so pleased Terry got it for me, so I can highly recommend trying it out if youre a fan of a long-lasting polish!
The Infill For Your Gel Nails
Now that we have prepped the nails, its time for the infill. Take your dehydrator and apply it on your natural part of your nail. Then do the same with the primer. This will help with the bonding of your gel to the natural nail.
Doing the infill with gel. Take your gel. Depending on your gel system you have to apply a base gel first and then a builder gel. I can put my builder gel straight on my natural nail. This time I went with a nude builder gel. Starting at the cuticle area I place my gel carefully on the nail. Then I drag it up to the tip of my nail. Once the whole nail is covered I go in with some more gel. I place it in the middle of my nail and let it float. This will give a nice curve to the nail and help with the structure as you wanna enforce the stress point of your nail extra.
Do this to all of your other three or four nails. I am doing the thumb separately as it wouldnt fit in my LED Lamp. Once you applyed all your gel, cure them under a UV or LED lamp for however long the instructions on your gel bottle says. I have to cure mine 60 seconds under a LED lamp.
All thats left to do is go over it with a gel topcoat . Cure it, clean it and you are done. Some gels nowadays dont even need top coating so do whatever you usually do. Repeat those steps on your thumb and your other hand and your nails look and feel shiny new.
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How I Remove Gel Nail Polish At Home
There are a few different ways you can do this, and they all take a little while. I havent found any sort of magic that will pop off your old nails in 3 minutes.
The easiest way takes me about 20 minutes. I started using these plastic nail clips after I saw all the reviews on Amazon. There is a liner inside you soak with acetone, then wrap up your nail and snap on the clips. Put on some Netflix because it takes about 15-20 minutes for the polish to soften. When you take it off, the polish will be soft and you can use the included scraper to remove the gel nail polish.
If its not coming off easily, just add more acetone and soak again. The stronger the acetone the better- if its weak acetone expect it to take longer.
Another option my girl friend Val gives herself a DIY gel manicure with NO lamps ! I was surprised this could even be done- but shes has lots of good hacks up her sleeve. You can read her DIY gel nails tutorial here.
If you like this post, you may also like the fabulous Jen of Paisley + Sparrows 6 Easy Tips For Dry Shampoo.
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Gel Nail Polish Removers To Consider
Here are some of the most recommended gel nail polish removal methods you can use to successfully remove gel from your nails.
Keep in mind that before trying any of these methods, you should use your nail file to file the top coat lightly or a buffer to buff the top layer of gel polish off before soaking it in acetone.
1. Soaking Your Nails in Acetone
Due to the high-solvent nature of acetone, it remains as one of the best nail polish removers. However, using acetone frequently removes lots of natural oils and pales your skin, so keep your nails soaked in acetone for 15-20 minutes.
Nonetheless, it’s still a good gel polish remover. You have to settle for one of the two options to use it: file your nails and soak them in acetone, or soak cotton in acetone, and wrap your nails with cotton and foils. Either way, the polish will be out in minutes.
2. Use a Gel Removal Steamer
A gel removal steamer does just what the cold one cannot do-it steams the whole process giving a warmer environment for faster effective results.
To use it, first make sure you have filed and buffed your gel polish. Then pour the acetone remover into the base, switch on the steamer, then stick your fingers into the 5 finger holes.
Typically, most gel removal steamers will beep you, indicating its done. When youre told its complete, use an orange wood stick or a nail scrapper to scrape off the gel polish.
Repeat the process until the gel nail polish is scraped off of each nail.
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How Much Do Gel Manis Cost
How much you’re going to pay for a gel mani really depends on where you live, but also what kind of look you want. Basic one-color gel manis start around $35 to $40, according to Duguay-Gordon. But if you want crazy celeb-level nail art, it could end up costing up to $100 or more â and that’s not including the 20% tip.
How To Do Gel Nails With Tips
This article was co-authored by Lindsay Yoshitomi. Lindsay Yoshitomi is the nail artist behind the blog, Lacquered Lawyer. She was featured as one of Nail It! magazines Bloggers You Should Know, and has been on the cover of Nail Art Gallery Magazine. She has been practicing nail art for over 15 years.There are 17 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 54,850 times.
Stylish and sturdy, gel nails take quite a bit of work to apply. With the right tools and techniques, youll be able to create a professional-looking gel manicure. To add length and drama, glue on a set of nail tips before applying the gel. Youll need to use a buffing block to roughen up the shiny surface from both your natural nails and the tips, but once you do this you can apply all of the gel layers from your cuticle to the free edge of the fake nail tip. Cure the gel under a UV or LED nail lamp and dont forget to fix up the edges with a nail file before finishing off your manicure.
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The Supplies Youll Need For Gel Nails At Home:
Preparing The Gel Nails For The Infill
As you can see in the picture below, these are my nails 2 weeks old after my last infill. They have grown quite a bit, I usually leave them until week three but I got some new nail goodies and wanted to try them out. The part just above my cuticle, which is a bit darker is my outgrown nail.
The first step is to file the nail. Starting with a corse file you remove all the shine from the gel. You can use an electric nail file if you want to. I usually start off with the electric nail file and then move on to my hand file one. Make sure you only file the gel and not your natural nail. You dont have to remove all the product just the top coat and some of the bulk. Thats it for now.
Shaping the nail. As you removed the topcoat and some of the gel, you move on to a softer file. Gently go over your natural nail to remove the shine and remove any product that is lifting. The lifting often occurs right at the bottom of the nail where the gel meets the new natural nail. I cant show you how it looks here as I didnt have any lifting. When I go over my nail with the soft file, I usually make sure that there is a seemingness transition from natural nail to gel. And I will make sure, that I have a nice C curve. Often I shorten my nails too in this process, as I just wanna keep the length but dont want it to be any longer. If youre just starting out, you might not wanna shorten the nails at all and thats fine too.
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Wipe Your Nails With Rubbing Alcohol
Buffing leaves behind a lot of dust that can interfere with the gelling process. Thankfully, you can clear the nail of the traces of dust with rubbing alcohol.
While anything 70% or higher can work well, using rubbing alcohol with 91% alcohol content is best for this work.
Applying the rubbing alcohol is easy but should be thorough. After washing your hand with warm water and hand soap, dry them gently using a soft cloth.
Then put the alcohol on a cotton pad and wipe each finger nail gently. Make sure no strands of cotton get attached to the nail bed. If they do, simply remove them.
Alcohol dries naturally fast, so you dont have to wait long for each finger nail to dry. Redo the same process for the other fingers to achieve dry and clean nails free from oils ready for base coating.