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What Do You Need To Do Gel Nails

Diy Gel Nails: What You Need

What you need to do gel nails for beginners
  • A lamp
  • Prep solution
  • A gel base and top coat
  • Lint free wipes
  • Cuticle nipper and manicure tool
  • 180 grit nail files/emery boards
  • Gel nail colours

If youre a total beginner I recommend this kit which has everything you need in it: Mylee Full Works or this more affordable version! Otherwise, pick and mix from the Mylee website

Hot Baths Or Showers Can Cause Gel Polish To Lift

“A gel manicures worst enemy is hot water, says Rita, hence why soaking them is the most effective way to get them off. “Long baths, showers, or time spent in a hot tub can cause lifting, so try your best to avoid these or keep them to a minimum and always wear rubber gloves when you do the dishes! Duly noted.

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.

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Gel Manicures: A Complete Guide To Gel Nails


Olive & June

Looking for a manicure that will last through vacation, busy work weeks, and days filled with hands-on projects? Its time to consider getting a gel manicure. But before you do, there are a few things you should know first. To help you polish up on all things gels, keep scrolling for some expert tips on getting and maintaining gel manis.

Meet the Expert

  • Sarah Gibson Tuttle, CEO, and founder of Olive & June
  • Evelyn Lim, Paintbox chief educator
  • Anastasia Totty, LeChat Nails educator and professional gel nail artist

How To Safely Remove A Gel Manicure

What do you need to do acrylic nails

Gel is a very general term, so you should always ask your tech what type of gel they are applying and how to remove it, Lim explains. For example, she shares that soft gels should be buffed and soaked off Japanese gels and SNS dip powder should be filed down with an electronic file hard gels should be filed off completely before soaking, and all other gels and traditional polishes can be soaked off without any buffing.

With products constantly coming into the market, no one procedure fits all, Lim says. As such, she reiterates how important it is to know whats on your nails, if not for your own sake, for the manicurist who removes it.

As a general rule of thumb, if soaking your nails in acetone isnt cutting it, its time to take a file to your nail plates. Ever so gently , file off the topmost shiny layer of nail polish. This is important to allow the acetone to penetrate to the deepest layer and speed up your removal process, Lim explains.

If you dont have an e-file on hand, Lim says the best tool for removing gel polish is a 100/180 grit filesomething you can find at most drugstores. You should only use the 180 side when removing the shine, but you may need to use the 100 side to break down multiple layers of topcoat, builder gel, or nail art, she instructs.

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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 as well as Walmart.

Can You Save Money By Doing A Gel Manicure At Home

Heres the shocker: The cost of all the professional-quality supplies for a gel manicure at home is actually less than the price of one gel manicure in a salonand youll get far more use out of these products than just one manicure. Even just a bottle of polish can last years depending on frequency of use. The other products you need will last even longer.

Prices for gel manicures vary depending on where you live and the salons you go to, but a quick review of local salons in NYC shows gel or shellac manis priced between $50 and $70. Gel pedicures go for between $50 and $80. Therefore, at least in NYC, youre dropping at least $100 every time you get your nails and toes tended to. Its a lovely treat. But maybe not so realistic for regular maintenance.

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Mistakes Youre Making When Wearing Gel Nail Polish

Chipping a perfectly good manicure is one of lifes most annoying frustrations. Since Im constantly opening packages and typing stories, wearing gel nail polish has been a saving grace when it comes to preserving my mani. While I love the flexibility a regular manicure provides, gel polish is so much more durablewhich is why I tend to stretch each manicure for as long as possible.

With gel polish, your manicure can last from two to three weeks, but with regular polish you’re lucky if it lasts five to seven days without chipping, Kristin Pulaski, owner of Paintbucket Nails in Brooklyn, tells SELF. According to Pulaski, in addition to staying power, another great benefit of gel is that it provides a harder layer of protection over the natural nail, which can result in increased nail growth.

Unfortunately, this durability and protection can be rough on your nails and make them weaker and prone to splitting. No one wants that, so there are a few things to keep in mind to maintain the health of your nails when youre getting gels. We asked Pulaski, celebrity manicurist Skyy Hadley, and Christy Harpring, co-owner of Sea Salt and Sugar Nail Bar in Savannah, Georgia, to clue us in on gel polish mistakes to avoid.

Give Your Skin Some Tlc After The Gel Manicure Is Removed

Gel Nails: How to do, what you need to know

“It’s very important that the surrounding skin and cuticle, as well as the nail plate itself, be rehydrated with a thick emollient such as Aquaphor or an overnight mask like Nails Inc.’s Overnight Detox Nail Mask post-removal in order to rehydrate and repair the surrounding skin, cuticle, and nails,” Dr. Adigun says.

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Selecting Is A Bad Concept

One thing thats rather usual among gel fans is the picking process. When the color begins to raise, you may be attracted to remove it, almost like you would a scab. As peeling and raising begin, water can seep right into the nail, says Jenna. This can nurture bacteria and also perhaps trigger fungi. Once the peeling phase begins, its hard not to choose at your gloss. If you rip it off, youre possibly taking some layers of your nail off with it. This kind of damage can take control of 6 months to fix. Dr. Adigun includes: In one research, nail plate density was determined both before and after just one gel manicure as well as thinning was observed. Its unclear precisely which component created the thinning, yet one or more factors in the gel procedure are to blame.

When used and gotten rid of appropriately, what do you need to do acrylic gel nails are secure to wear on an ongoing basis, adds Rita. Gels can certainly damage the nails if they are peeled off or pried off the nail, which can strip layers of the natural nail, or if the nail if over buffed before the gel application.

Gel Nails Need To Be Applied Properly

Its not just the UV light thats potentially damaging. While an experienced nail tech will always make sure the correct lamp is used with the proprietary gel polish for the recommended amount of time, its easy to mess up the steps. Any alteration in these variables can lead to polish that is over-cured to the nail plate that becomes very difficult to remove, explains Dr. Adigun. A properly applied gel should literally float off the nail with the acetone soak. However, when a gel is not properly cured, it will not come off, and needs to be manually chipped off, which is very traumatizing to the nail plate.

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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.

Tips For Applying Gel Polish At Home

DIY: At Home Gel Manicures {Part One  What You Need, Why ...
  • Shake, shake, shake your polish before application to make sure it mix well. A good shake make your application easier. Invest in a good nail polish shaker.
  • The purpose for applying nail bonder is to ensure optimal performance by increasing the bonding between natural nails and the gel polish. If you feel that your application doesn’t last as long as it should be, try using a nail bonder.
  • Get yourself a nice and handy cuticle oil, like CND Solar Oil or Gelish Nourish Oil, because you often need to keep the nails moisturized as using gel polish can be dehydrating.
  • Any brand of 36-watt UV Lamp or LED light works. The professional LED light that can cure 5 fingers at the same time is preferable. With UV Lamp you have to change the bulbs regularly and takes more time to cure. With LED lamp, you don’t need to change the bulbs, it last longer and cure in a shorter amount of time.
  • If you are concerned with UV Light exposure you can apply sunblock on hands or wear the UV Lamp fingerless gloves before application.
  • If you find out that your gel polish is thick, use gel polish thinner before application. This is a recommended product to save your gel polish life.

–Update : Since CND Shellac application is slightly different than Gel polish, we posted a simple, photo tutorial on how to do Shellac Nails at Home. Check it out!

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Each product has been independently selected by our editorial team. We may receive commissions from some links to products on this page. Promotions are subject to availability and retailer terms.

Lifestyle expert Amy Goodman has already taught us how to remove a gel manicure at home, so thankfully our nails are looking healthy .

You’re probably missing the feeling of being pampered at the nail salon right about now, though, so Amy has the next best thing. She’s showing you how to do your own gel-like manicure while you’re staying home like a pro.

Watch her demonstrate in the video above and get the step-by-step below.


  • Essential oil
  • Nail file
  • Cuticle pusher
  • Gel nail polish*

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Five: The Finishing Touches

Just because salons are closed, doesn’t mean we can’t do a little something special for ourselves at home. Try giving yourself a hand massage, for example.

Start off by placing a few drops of cuticle oil in the palm of your hand, and mixing it with your favorite lotion. Afterwards, “press down on the pressure points of your hand, such as in between the thumb and index finger,” Lin suggests. “This can help reduce stress.” The salon founder also recommends dipping a towel in warm water, or placing a wet towel in the microwave for 30 seconds and wrapping it around your hands once you’re done.

Gel Manicures May Weaken Your Nails

What You’ll Need For Gel Nails At Home!

There is evidence to suggest that the gel manicure process can lead to dehydration and thinning of the nail plate. In one study, nail plate thickness was measured both before and after a gel manicure, and thinning of the nail was observed, notes Dr. Adigun. She says that acetone is known to thin the nail plate but the gel polish may contribute to the thinning as well. People guilty of these everyday habits are also wrecking their nails.

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How Do You Remove A Gel Manicure

Taking off gel polish requires time, patience, and no picking. Whether you’re getting gel taken off at the salon or DIY-ing it at home, here’s how to remove a gel manicure: first, cover each nail with an acetone-soaked cotton ball, wrap some aluminum foil around each finger to hold the cotton in place, then let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. The polish should slide off the nails without any filing or scraping. For any stubborn spots, a wooden stick can be used to gently ease it off.

How Are Gel Extensions Applied

  • Step 1: Prep the nails. The nail tech will file the clients nails, push cuticles back, trim dead cuticles, and buff nails. The nails must be clean before application.
  • Step 2: Find the right size. Take each finger and find the correct size tip that fits. All the nails in the kit have numbers to compare.
  • Step 3: Depending on your nail techs skill level, file the inside of the nail tips or apply a layer of acetone.
  • Step 4: Apply bonder liquid to natural nails. Bonder is a dehydrator and you want to make sure your natural nails are as dry as possible with no oils or debris.
  • Step 5: Apply primer liquid to natural nails. Primer makes your nails sticky so that its easier for the gel to attach.
  • Step 6: Apply a thin layer of extend gel to the natural nails.
  • Step 7: Put your hand in the UV/LED lamp for 60 seconds.
  • Step 8: Apply some gel to the tips. Make sure the clients hand is straight. Apply the gel tip to the natural nail, and press down. As one hand is holding the tip on the client’s hand, take your other hand holding a handheld LED light shine it directly on the nail for 30 seconds. Then have the client place her hand inside the UV/LED lamp for 60 seconds.
  • Step 9: Repeat on all fingers
  • Step 10: All done!

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