DIY Manicure At Home: 4 Tips To Make Gel Nails Beautiful

Having a gel manicure can make you feel far more put together. But who has time to go to the nail salon for two hours? If you want to give yourself a fabulous DIY manicure at home, it is easier than you may think! Self-care is important. So, take time for yourself and give yourself a DIY manicure at home and enjoy gel nails for two to three weeks. 

Products For A Gel Manicure at Home

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While purchasing the necessary items to complete a DIY manicure at home has an upfront cost, if you are paying around $40 at the salon for gel nails, this will quickly pay for itself in two to three DIY manicures. Not only will you save money, but you may also find you prefer a DIY manicure! You will have more consistent results and being at home on your own schedule is more relaxing than in a salon with an appointment.

After much research, reading reviews, and watching YouTube videos, here is a detailed guide on how to do your own DIY manicure at home and the products you will need: 

READ MORE: 26 Of The Best Wellness Products For The Ultimate In Self-Care 

Old DIY Manicure Removal

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First, take off any old nail polish or gel. You want to start with naked, clean nails. To remove this gel application in the future, you will begin with buffing your entire nail with an acrylic/nail file until you fully remove the shiny top coat of polish. This will help the color polish break down easier and will cause less damage to your nails during the removal process. This removal kit is fabulous and honestly seems to do less damage during your DIY manicure than whatever they use in the salon.

Once your nails are no longer shiny from your buffing, cut the cotton pads provided in the removal kit in half to get more bang for your buck. Apply gel remover to the cotton pad and use these adorable pink clamps to cover your entire nails. They seem to work much faster than the aluminum foil used at salons. You may need to recruit a friend, husband, or child if you want to do all ten digits at once.

After applying the clamps, wait about five minutes and check your nails. The polish should appear to be flaking off. If this is not the case, reapply the clamp and wait five more minutes. The kit comes with a metal pusher tool — use this to scrape off the remaining polish. This should very easily slide off. If not, you may need to buff more, then repeat the gel removal and clamp steps. 

READ MORE: 10 Most Asked Questions About Chemical Peels

Cut, Shape, And Clean Nails

Cut your nails to your desired length and file them in the shape you prefer — square, oval, round, etc. An important, yet sometimes overlooked, step in a DIY manicure is caring for your cuticles. Apply your cuticle remover: this one is fabulous; it is the same one many salons use and lasts forever.

Soak your nails in a bowl of warm water and Dawn dishwashing soap while your cuticle remover penetrates your tough cuticles. Push your cuticles back and trim off any excess skin. Take your time to make sure you are happy with the shape and cuticles. This step is critical to the end result.

Next, buff out your entire natural nails with a buffing block. This really helps the gel to adhere to your nail. Wash your hands, but do NOT use hand soap. Once dry, apply the Pre & Post Cleaner on your nails with a lint-free cotton pad. Even more so than regular polish, the gel will show any amount of lint. 

READ MORE: The Ultimate Skincare Guide

Application Of Gel Nails At Home

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Apply a layer of Prep Max Adhesion Nail Primer to each nail bed. This is magical! This bonder cleanses and dehydrates the nail surface before applying your base coat to create an extra sticky surface on the natural nail and is suitable for acting like a gel, polish, and acrylic anchor. Then, apply a thin layer of base coat, which assures lasting adhesion of the color to eliminate chipping or peeling from the nail. Cure your nails for 60 seconds, twice.

This works best in three phases: Do your two thumbs, then the four other nails of your right hand, and then your left hand. Do not touch your nails after they come out of the light, as they will be slightly tacky. You can buy a generic UV lamp that comes in most kits, however, an LED light cures polish much faster. 

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Now for the fun part: Apply two or three thin coats of your gel polish and cure in between each layer for 60 seconds. Depending on your confidence in painting, start with a deep, dark color first until you get the hang of it. Lighter, chalky colors are more difficult to apply without streaks. Gel polishes tend to get goopy and thick fast, so buying large bottles of polish can be wasteful. 

Finish your DIY manicure by applying a thin coat of topcoat and then cure for 60 seconds, twice. This is going to set the entire nail and give it that hard, shiny finish one loves from a gel manicure. Lastly swipe your nails with a lint-free wipe soaked in the Pre & Post Cleaner then apply cuticle oil and lotion.

The great part is you are now done, there is no additional drying time. You can immediately get back to doing whatever it is you were doing: going to bed, cleaning, doing dishes, caring for your kids, etc.

READ MORE: Skip The Spa: Give Yourself A Facial At Home

This process is amazing and really does last two or more weeks. DIY manicures take time, but you can do it from the comfort of your own home, with Netflix playing, on your own schedule, and it saves so much money in the long run. If you want to keep your DIY manicure looking good, be sure to keep your cuticles hydrated. Apply cuticle cream and thick hand lotion every day before bed. 

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Photo Credits: Unsplash, Pixabay

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Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter and fur baby. Kaitlyn tries to find beauty and joy in the simplicity of daily life while embracing the new mom lifestyle. Her favorite things are small towns, rosé, the beach, and homemade ice cream.

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