I am very excited that I can do this blog post for you guys! It’s my first tutorial and I put a lot of work and heart into it. I am even more excited because today I am blogging about one of my favourite beauties – gel manicure! I absolutely love gel manicure, it has saved me a lot of time and keeps my nails in the best condition they have ever been! It doesn’t chip and stays shiny on my nails for over two weeks. But lets start from the beginning…
Our relationship started three years ago when I had enough of doing my ‘traditional’ manicure over and over again. I was very busy and I didn’t want to spend every single night doing my nails, and believe me I hate when they are not perfect! One day I went to my friend who runs her own beauty salon and asked her to do gel manicure for me. When I saw the result I was shocked! My nails were so beautiful, strong and shiny that I couldn’t believe they were mine. After a couple of months I got my first gel manicure kit! I started practising and trying different brands and products. All the time I have been doing gel manicure for myself and I can tell you – there is no better way of sorting out your always broken nails 🙂
The whole process takes me about an hour and a half, this is with removing the gel I had before. It flies as during the time I watch YouTube videos and read all my favourite blogs and magazines. It also pays off as after all I don’t need to do my nails every two days anymore. Let me highlight here that I’m not a manicurist, but I have been doing my gel nails for a long time, and I definitely know what works for me and what doesn’t. So if you are thinking about doing your gel manicure at home, just keep reading and then get all the necessary products and start practising! 🙂
You will need:
- UV or LED lamp – to cure your nails
- cotton pads – to wipe them
- a nail file, or anything you use to give your nails the shape you like
- manicure sticks – to fix your little mistakes and also to remove your gel when you want to reapply it
- base coat and top coat of your choice – I am currently using the Gelish Foundation and Top It Off, but I also recommend a set from Bluesky.
- your favourite gel polish colour – I like Semilac and Bluesky because they are cheaper (€8.00 each) and very good quality
- finishing wipe – must have! This will remove the sticky layer at the end
- acetone – to remove your gel when you want to reapply it
- dehydrating spray (optional)
- tin foil – to cover your nails while preparing them to remove the gel
If you want to get everything together from the same brand, there are some very good and affordable starter kits available online. I also recommend the base and top coat from Bluesky for around €14.00 for both, and a set Mylee Prep & Wipe with Remover for around €17.00 for both. I know it may seem to be a lot, but believe me it is worth it!
If you are not sure which lamp to get, UV or LED, I recommend LED! Why? I had been using a UV lamp before I bought my LED one, and I can tell you it takes much longer to cure your nails under a UV lamp plus they don’t last as long as the LED ones.
So before we start our tutorial lets do some maths here:
- LED lamp – €30.00/€40.00
- Base and Top Coat – €14.00
- Gel polish – €8.00
- Mylee Prep & Wipe with Remover – €17.00
I am not going to count for the cotton pads and the other small bits and pieces as I presume we all have them at home 😉
Total of €79.00 for your peace and quiet, worth it right? Don’t forget that this will last you for months! The average price for this treatment is €40.00. Two visits and you have the money for your own kit… I am only saying 😉 This is enough talking, lets move on to the main part.
Step 1 – PREPARING
Prepare your nails the way you always do it, make sure that the surface is nice and smooth so when you are applying your colour it looks perfect. This is important as all gel polish is very shiny and every single mistake will be visible at the end. Make sure your nails are dry before applying your base coat. If you have a dehydrating spray, now this is the time to use it. Don’t worry if you don’t have one, I use mine from time to time and it doesn’t really make any difference. I would say this is more important for people who have oily nails. I recently bought the new Scholl Velvet Smooth Nailcare Set (below) for preparing my nails. It works for me so far but I can’t tell you a lot about it just yet, as I only started using it. Any good nail file will do the job for you. The only ones I don’t like are the metal nail files. I think they aren’t good and I don’t like the feeling of using them (it always hurts my teeth).
Step 2 – APPLYING BASE COAT
Once you have your nails ready you can start applying your base coat. Cover your whole nail but apply only a thin layer of the gel. Use it as you would use every single nail polish. The only difference is the base coat, top coat and the lamp. Don’t run over your skin as your gel will fall off your nails when it’s dry. When my nails are covered with one layer of the base coat, I keep them under the LED lamp for 20sec, or UV lamp for 1min. This depends on the type of gel you use, but most of them require the same amount of time. From this moment remember not to touch your nails until the last step – this is when they are finished and your gel is hard. Otherwise to have it done perfectly you will need to start from scratch!!! I find it easier to do my nails in sections: 4x4x2, this is: four fingers on my left hand, four on my right hand and two thumbs at the end. I find it hard to cure my thumbs when I put them under the lamp with the rest of my fingers. The angle is just not good enough for me and the gel doesn’t last that long. When you have done one layer of the base coat and you have it cured, you can move on to the next step.
Step 3 – APPLYING COLOUR
This step is similar to the previous one. You pick your favourite colour, apply it on the base coat and cure in your lamp. This time you need to keep your nails there for 30sec under a LED lamp, or 2 mins under a UV one. If you accidentally applied some colour on your cuticles don’t worry! Grab a manicure stick and gently remove what you want to be gone and then cure. I always do this step twice to get a better coverage and a deeper colour. You can do it as many times as you want, but always cure your nails before applying another layer.
Step 4 – APPLYING TOP COAT
When you have your colour done and cured, it’s time for the top coat. This step is very important as you want to have your colour covered, but without the top coat touching your cuticles. Apply only one layer of the top coat and cure for 30secs under a LED lamp, or 2mins under a UV lamp. (Have you already counted the time difference in between using LED and UV lamp? 😉 ) Wait! Don’t touch your nails yet! Now it’s the time for your big test… Grab your finishing wipe, add some to a cotton pad and run through your nails. Is the colour still on your nails? That means you done a great job! If the colour is on your cotton pad instead, don’t worry just keep practising!
Step 5 – REMOVING GEL NAILS
So your gel manicure lasted so long that you got bored and you want to change your colour? Great! I will tell you now how to remove it. First get a tin foil and cut it into 10 squares (I do mine 6x6cm). Grab your cotton pad, soak it with the remover and put on your nail. Now cover it with the tin foil, just remember that tin foil has two sides – matte and shiny. To easily remove your gel, you need to cover your nails with the matte side on the outside (so you can see the matte side when you have the foil on your fingers). This way the tin foil absorbs the light and keeps your fingers nice and warm while helping the gel to come off. Keep your nails wrapped for 10-15minutes.
After the time, your gel should slightly start falling off your nails. Take a manicure stick and gently try pushing the gel downwards from your cuticle to the tip of your nail. Don’t do it upwards as this will damage the surface of your nail. If you find it hard to remove the gel, cover it with the remover for another 2 minutes. When the gel is removed, go back to step 1 🙂 I have heard opinions that it’s not good to do gel manicure all the time as this can damage your nails…Well I haven’t had a break from it for the last 3 years even for a day and my nails are in a great condition. You do what you think girl! 🙂 Just one more time – be really gentle while removing the gel!
My gel colour didn’t change from purple to red over the two weeks 🙂 The last picture is what I had before applying the beautiful purple colour we started from!
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Leave a comment if you have any questions and don’t forget to subscribe!
What do you think about gel manicure?