I’m sure most of you reading this post have sat in the nail salon chair for an hour (or more) just to walk away with mediocre nails and disappointment. Getting your nails done at the salon is relaxing, but, if you’re a protectionist like me, you know that sometimes it’s tough to get exactly what you want at the salon. Not to mention, manicures (especially gel manicures) can get expensive and they add up fast when you start going regularly! Whenever I have a chance to conquer a beauty ritual myself, I jump at the opportunity. Like I mentioned before, I can be a bit of a perfectionist, so a DIY gel manicure is right up my alley. It gives me the freedom to do my nails exactly the way I want them, and it saves major cash. When I discovered this LED lamp at Target, I didn’t have to think twice before it was in my cart. I rushed home, opened it up, and instantly fell in love with the results it gave. Now, I want to share my tips for at home gel nails with you! Read through to the end to enter a giveaway to win your own LED lamp to up your DIY manicure game.
This light by Sensationail is amazing. For only about $20, you get unlimited gel manicures at home! The light stays on for 30 second intervals and turns on automatically when you slide your hand in, keeping it super easy to not mess up your mani. The best part of this light? ZERO dry time. Say what?! I still can’t get over it. Waiting for my nails to dry was what I dreaded each time I went to paint my nails… until now.
The gel polish by Sensationail is also great. It drys so shiny, even without a top coat. It’s thick, but not too thick, and glides on smoothly. I love it!
So, before you start your own gel manicure, let’s go over a few things that are musts and must nots when fixing your own gel nails.
Soak your nails in warm water. Soaking your nails softens your cuticles, making them easy to trim and maintain. I push my cuticles back with this tool and then trim them with this tool. I love having those tools at home to use! They make for much better results, making your nails a smooth, clean, cuticle free canvas for the polish.
Clean your nails. Cleaning your nails is so important! Just simply soak a cotton ball or piece of paper towel with rubbing alcohol and rub it over each nail. This cleans away any residue that could create a barrier between your nails and the polish, causing the gels to peel early/ not stick as well.
Do NOT add cuticle oil before polish. I learned this the hard way. After trimming my cuticles, naturally I wanted to nourish them and make them look as pretty as possible before adding polish. This was a mistake. The oil left a reside on the nails and caused the gel’s to peel up the next day. No bueno.
Shape your nails with an emory board. This is nothing new, but shaping your nails with an emory board keeps them pretty, manicured, and all the same shape and size. My favorite nail shape is square round… flat top but rounded corners.
Buff the tops of your nails. Buffing your nails is definitely a must do when doing your own gel nails. Buffing the nail creates a rough surface for the gel polish to adhere to. But, be sure not to buff them too much. The LED lamp heats the gel polish a bit as it dries, and with thin nails… you’ll definitely feel the heat more, and it burns (trust me).
Use a gel primer. A gel primer is sticky, and helps adhere the gel polish for an even stronger, longer lasting manicure. It’s an easy extra step that makes a huge difference! You can shop the primer here, but I found mine at Target sold by itself for a few bucks. Don’t cure the primer under the LED light, just simply let it air dry for 30 seconds before applying the gel polish.
Trace the tops of your nails with polish. When applying my coats of gel polish (I usually do 2-3 coats) I like to brush the nail polish along the tops of my nails to secure the application in place and keep it from peeling from the tips of my nails. The tips of your nails are probably the most used parts of your nails, so having an extra layer that really locks in your polish helps a lot!
Finally, apply top coat and clean your nails with the gel cleanser. I wouldn’t consider these final steps must dos but they definitely don’t hurt! Honestly, I don’t own the top coat or gel wipes… but my sister does and likes using them. The top coat adds a bit more shine and strength. You can also brush the top coat over the tips of your nails for an even longer lasting manicure. The gel cleanser removes the “moisture layer” your gel polish may excrete during the drying process. For more tips on at home manicures, read this post.
Now… let’s get to the fun part, a GIVEAWAY!! I’m so excited to gift one of my readers a Sensational LED light and gel polish! Click here to see exactly what you’ll be gifted if you are chosen as the winner. You’ll receive an LED light and a gel polish in the color “Made Him Blush” – a pretty blush pink color – along with an emory board and a wooden cuticle pusher.
RULES TO ENTER:
- Follow me on Instagram @poisedavenue
- Comment why you want to win this gel manicure kit on this photo.
- Tag a friend on this photo.
Good luck!! The winner will be announced May 30th. Must be a U.S. resident and over 18 years of age or have parent consent.