How To Do Gel Nails AT HOME – Spring Mani Inspiration!
Happy Tuesday, fam! I hope you are having a fabulous May so far. I am always shocked at how fast this year is going…2020 is going to be here before we know it. I am not ready. Today, we are going to be talking about DIY gel manicures and showcasing some of my favorite spring mani inspiration! I am obsessed with having my nails done – I HATE bare nails and I love having at least a light pink polish on my fingers. It just helps me look put more together, and I absolutely HATE shooting pictures and filming videos with bare nails. It is a pet peeve of mine and I can’t get over it. #sorrynotsorry. I decided a few weeks ago to bite the bullet and figure out how to do them myself because I’ve always wanted to learn how to do pretty nail art, and also I was spending MASS amounts of money getting my nails done every 2 weeks. So here we are. I’ve talked to nail techs, watched countless youtube videos, read many a article on how to do gel nails myself and I’m here to tell you how to do it, too. Let’s jump into this.
How To Do Gel Nails AT HOME – Spring Mani Inspiration!
STEP ONE: Purchase your UV or LED light & Gel nail polishes.
I went with a generic UV light from Sally Beauty. It cost about $68. I did not realize at the time of purchase that an LED light actually cures polish faster than UV lights, so I did spend a little bit longer than if I had purchased an LED but the end result is the same and I don’t mind putting on a movie and doing my nails. I also purchased my first round of nail colors from Sally Beauty as well, since they were all right there. They didn’t have as large of a color selection as I would have liked, but I realized you can order a bunch from Amazon, too, so I will be doing that to get some more pretty colors for summer!! At Sally Beauty, nail colors run between $9-$12 a bottle but they are significantly cheaper on Amazon for the same brands. I purchased Finger Paints Gel Polish for my base coat, top coat and white polish color and I purchased Gelish for the light pink shade, and Gelaze for my shimmery gold shade. I feel like they all worked well for me, but I liked the formula of the Gelaze best (it was thin, easy to apply and wasn’t too sheer).
STEP TWO: Buff out your natural nails with a nail cube and file them to your desired shape. Trim any cuticle edges or hang nails. Wash hands.
I LOVE my nail cube!!! It’s really similar to ones they use in the salon, and it’s very easy to use. Mine has 4 different sides: buff, smooth, ridge removal and shine. I start by taking my time on each nail to get them as smooth and shiny as possible so that I have a really slick canvas for the polish. I then file them to the shape I want (I prefer a really natural curve and nails that aren’t too long). After than, I apply a little bit of cuticle cream and trim my cuticles/hang nails so that they are nice and even prior to polish application.
STEP THREE: Apply a thin coat of Base Adhesive. Cure.
This is a very important step. The polish needs the base adhesive to really stick to your nails so they last the full two weeks. If you have an LED light, you only need to cure for 30 seconds. If you have a UV light, you need to cure for 120 seconds. Don’t touch the nails after they come out of the light, because they will be slightly tacky. That is OK – you’ll address that at the end. Leave it for now.
STEP FOUR: Apply two thin coats of your polish color. Cure.
Try to make your coats as thin as possible so that your polish doesn’t get too thick during application. Do two thin coats of your polish color and cure (using the same timing method for UV vs LED as above). If you are doing nail art on one or more nails, you can choose to do that now or during step five. I did the white flowers at the same time I did this step and cured at the same time.
READ NEXT: DIY Acrylic Nails – SUPER Easy Tutorial!
STEP FIVE: Apply another two thin coats of polish color. Cure.
Repeat the step above with your polish color. If you are doing another layer of nail art, do it here! I did my second polish coats and the gold center of the flowers during this step and cured them together in the light. You could do them all separately, but it saves time if you can do some of them together!
STEP SIX: Apply a thin coat of Top Coat. Cure.
This is, of course, the most important part! This sets the entire nail and gives that hard, shiny finish that we’ve come to know and love with gel nails. Don’t get too thick on this because it will significantly thicken the nail layers and it will look chunky (I hate that work). Some people will do two coats of the clear, but I just did one and it worked out fine for me. Cure for 120 seconds.
STEP SEVEN: Swipe a cotton ball covered in rubbing alcohol over all nails to get rid of the sticky residue.
So, once you pull your nails out of the light, you may be tempted to touch them. If you do this, you may panic – thinking OH NO THEY ARE STILL STICKY. But as long as you’ve left them in the light for the right amount of time, this is normal. Once you apply your top coat and cure it for the right amount of time, take a cotton ball or cotton pad covered in rubbing alcohol (70-99% works best) and vigorously rub it over each nail. This kind of completes the “setting” of the nail and gets rid of that sticky residue that you may be stressed about. I panicked the first time I did my nails and tried to use the rubbing alcohol in between each layer, but you don’t have to do that. It’s super unnecessary. Just wait until the end!
STEP EIGHT: Wash hands and enjoy your beautiful new nails!
I know I have a long way to go before I am some master nail art wiz BUT I feel like for the first time, this isn’t all that bad. The polish lasted a long time (almost the full two weeks) before I removed it and wanted to do something new! Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after you finish painting them and then go rock those pretty new fingernails!
PIN THIS FOR LATER:
I hope this helps you achieve the nail look of your dreams! It definitely takes practice – and it won’t completely replace going to the nail salon for me. It’s an experience for sure, and I love doing it with my mom and sister. Especially pedicures. BUT – since I do like my nails done so often, it’s a cost effective way to make sure that happens and doesn’t break the bank. It’s a bit of an investment upfront, but within the first three times of doing my nails, it’s made it’s money back.
Do you do your own gel nails at home? Any tips for beginnings? Let me know in the comments below!