A beginners guide to gel nails

Shellac, gellish, opi, gel nails are big news and they are here to stay! With the average Gel Polish manicure costing around £30 its no surprise that many of us are investing in our own kits and having a go at DIY! DIY beauty is hot right now with finance being a huge contributing factor! Don’t get me wrong I love a good pampering but sometimes DIY beauty can be another option.

A bit of sparkle

A bit of sparkle

The 3 main treatments I like to do for myself and for my friends are: self tanning, Gel polish nails and eyelash extensions. In this post I’m going to talk about Gel manicures.

So what are Gel manicures? I’m not talking about extending your nails here, a gel polish is a coat of polish painted over your own nails, it does not add length.

Why bother then? Gel polish lasts a lot longer than normal polish, it is more chip resistant and it can also help stop nails breaking.

I’m interested what next? Decide which brand is for you, I chose Gelish as I liked the colour selection they had to offer. I’ve also heard very good things about Shellac and yes you can mix and match! Blue Sky is a cheaper version of the gel polishes I’ve heard of, I’ve never used it myself.

What do I need to get started? You will need a uv lamp, I got mine from eBay. You will need the Gelish foundation base and the top it off sealer. You will also need a gelish colour or several if you’re anything like me! You will need something to remove the tacky top coat- I recommend gelish nail surface cleanse which you will use as part of preparing your nails also however some people use rubbing alcohol and even hand sanitizer. I also like to use a dehydrator as part of the prep but you don’t need this! A cuticle oil is handy at the end of the mani. You will also need: orange sticks, a nail file, a buffer and lint free wipes or cotton wool (I use dried out baby wipes chopped up!) To remove the polish you will need: cotton wool, nail varnish remover (with acetone) and tin foil.

How exactly do you do a gel manicure? First remove any nail polish, next file nails into the desired shape. Use the buffer to take the shine off your nails, push back your cuticles using the orange stick. Then you can cleanse using the nail surface cleanser and finally I apply the dehydrator- good prep is essential with a gel manicure. Next apply one layer of the base coat (do one hand at a time). Cure the base coat under the lamp ( mine has a 3 minute timer and although the gelish states less time to cure I just stick to 3 mins per coat). Then apply 1 layer of colour and cure. Then another layer of colour and cure. You could add a glitter on top at this point- 1 or 2 layers but remember to cure in between each. Finally add the topcoat and cure. Then wipe your nails with the nail surface cleanser-yes wipe! This takes away the sticky layer and hardens the polish. It also makes it lovely and shiny. Finally use cuticle oil to nourish the nails. Then repeat for your second hand!

I Love Coral!

I Love Coral!

Good Luck, let me know how it goes and if you have any questions simply comment below. X


4 thoughts on “A beginners guide to gel nails

    • Hi there I looked through my gelish collection and couldn’t find it! Then I remembered it’s a normal polish and I’d just done a gelish top coat over it- it’s called flip flop fantasy by China glaze x


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