10 Tips For A Perfect At-Home Gel Manicure
Today, I’m going to show you how to do magic! Well, maybe not magic magic…but it’s MAGIC none-the-less. If you are unfamiliar with gel manis, then you are going to be even more thrilled than most to learn just how long your nail polish can last when using a gel system! Why? Well because gel polish, once correctly applied, lasts well over TWO WEEKS…and I’ve personally road tested this giving my nails everything I could throw at them! You know: dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, floorwashing…you get the idea…and they still DIDN’T CHIP for over two weeks! But even more magical…as soon as you finish curing the polish under the special UV light, your nails are hard and dry…IMMEDIATELY! No more waiting an hour for them to dry only to have them ding…enough said!
Now, I’ve been playing with gel sets and polish since summer and based on this experience and my
Pinterest extensive research, I’ve come up with 10 tips to help you achieve a salon-perfect gel manicure right in the comfort of your own home.
10 Tips to the Perfect At-Home Gel Manicure
- Start with clean nails filed in your preferred shape (I love short nails with a squared tip). I simply remove any old polish using an acetone-based polish remover, then I use an old fashioned nail brush with soap and water to give them a good scrub so I’m prepared to begin. But before you try this, here is the tip that is going to exponentially increase your odds of success in achieving perfection: Finish one hand entirely to completion before you paint the other hand. Remember, once the last curing under the lights takes place that hand will be completely dry, leaving you to polish the other hand without worrying about smudging it! You’re welcome…it took me many many times of trying to do both hands at once before I had this ah-ha moment!
- MY SECOND SECRET: Apply Aquaphor (it’s like vaseline, but lighter) to the cuticles and skin on the sides of your nails (I’ll tell you why in a minute) and VERY gently push them back just a little with a cuticle pusher. (If your cuticles are in really bad shape to start, this is where it may be worthwhile to spend some money on a basic manicure without the polish to get you headed on the right track. After that, you can maintain as I suggest above).
- Using an acetone-based polish remover on a Q-tip, carefully remove any of the Aquaphor that sits on you nail bed, but don’t remove it from your cuticles and skin. Why? Well this is very
Pinteresting! This will allow you to be a little messy if you’re not a pro with the polish! If you end up with some on your cuticles or skin around your nails, the Aquafor allows it to be wiped off in an instant! I know, I know, I have really good Pinterest research skills am a genius!
- I use the Red Carpet Manicure (RCM) system. I’ve experimented with about 3 different gel systems, but I always come back to this one because I like the quality of their polish and that their curing time under their light only takes 45 seconds for each round. The directions I use may be for RCM; however, they all rely on the same principles. Step one of RCM is to use their “Purify” step (which is basically like a nail polish remover to dissolve any residue on your nail). I use a Q-tip for this step too, to ensure I Purify only my nail bed and not the surrounding cuticle and skin.
- Purify is followed by the application of “Prep“. Prep has an almost alcohol-like consistency so when you apply it, it evaporates very quickly. The trick here is to make sure you cover the entire nail bed. You won’t be able to see it because it dries so quickly, but just make sure you touch all areas of the bed or your overall polish will not adhere as well as it should. Note: this step does not need to be light cured.
- Make sure your light is plugged in and close to you, then apply a coat of “Structure” to your four fingers first, if you get any on the cuticle or sides of the nail, NOW is the time to remove it. Just gently use your thumb nail from your unfinished/other hand to wipe it away, then place your fingers under the light (if you wait until after light curing, it is MUCH more difficult to remove).Don’t worry because you can remove this excess polish from your thumb nail with the purify cleaner when you have completely finished this hand (and when you do your other hand, the purify won’t hurt your finished product so you can use this trick on both hands!). Place your fingers under the light and press the self-timed button on top. Keep your fingers in there for 45 seconds, when the light turns itself out. They warn you to be careful not to look at the light. Then do your thumb and repeat the light curing with just your thumb under the light (the light is too small to cure both your fingers and your thumb at the same time…but it’s so tiny that it’s easy to pack or store)
- Next, apply one coat of your coloured polish. This coat will likely be a little streaky, but don’t worry because the next one will fix that. I use less polish on the brush in this step, and pay more attention to the edges being perfect than I do the overall effect (that’s for the next coat). Again, just paint the four fingers, cure, then do your thumb and cure. Repeat with a second coat. This is the one where I make sure to get the color even. Note that with some colors, you may even have to do three coats to achieve this, but each coat uses less polish and I don’t push the second or third coats all the way out to the edges that I spent so much time on during the first coat.
- The last coat is called “brilliance”. It’s just a shiny top coat that is applied and cured just like your colored polish. Only one coat is required.
- Once your first hand is fully cured, take a cotton pad soaked with “Purify” and pretend you are removing your polish. DON’T WORRY you are not removing it, just any excess as well as the Aquafor. Then repeat all the steps with your other hand.
- The last step in the RCM system is a cuticle oil called “Revitalize”. I do this after both hands are complete and I have thoroughly washed them to take any potential chemical residue away. Apply hand cream and cuticle oil and your nails should be salon perfect!
I hope this helps complete novice’s feel confident enough to try an at-home gel manicure system, or if you’re a pro I sincerely hope there was a tip or two in there for you too. While the initial investment in an at-home gel system is about double what one salon appointment costs, the overall savings when you own one quickly allow you to start saving $$ over going to the salon.
If you’ve used an at-home gel manicure system and have any other tips, I’d love it if you’d share them with us. Just leave a comment in the section below!
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you, if you liked this post please share it with your friends using one of the sharing buttons below. AND If you love the blog and the tips we provide, look in the top right corner for the subscribe button and sign on up to be an UrbanCountryClub member! You’ll be the first to know when we create new posts…and that is the only reason we will ever email you!
Last: I am so blessed to have readers such as those who stop by here! Your comments, tweets, and facebook posts were so completely inspiring and encouraging regarding my journey toward health and wellness. I was completely overwhelmed by the love and support each and every one of you displayed. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
Have a great day Y’all!