Introduction: Video- DIY Gel Manicure & How to Make Them Last

About: Hi, I'm Shari! I'm a busy wife and mom with two tween/teen daughters, and I work full-time. You'll find that the recipes and products in my blog have become huge time-savers for my family.


(link to original post on Root Family Review, link to YouTube video)

I’ve been painting my own nails with Gelish polish for about five years and I have learned some tricks to make gel manicured nails last longer. I used to have acrylic nails done at the salon and it always seemed hard to find the time (and the money) to get them done. I can do my own gel nails when I have free time. I often prep one day and then paint the next. It costs about $120 to get started, which is about what I would have paid for a few trips to the salon.

I do my nails about every 2 weeks. A pedicure easily lasts over a month.

Step 1: Materials

Go to my website to see the full list of products I use.

Prep your nails using a nail clipper, cuticle pusher, emery board, etc.

Keeping your nails relatively short is one of my TIPS TO MAKE GELISH LAST LONGER.

Step 2: Brush Gelish PH Bond Onto Nails and Allow to Air Dry

Step 3: Brush Primer Bond (brown Bottle) Onto Nails and Allow to Air Dry

This is one of my SECRET TIPS TO MAKE GELISH LAST LONGER. This bonding agent makes the foundation adhere well to the nail.

Step 4: Apply Foundation to Nails, Cure 30 Seconds in LED Light

Buying the right lamp is another one of my SECRET TIPS TO MAKE GELISH LAST LONGER. This is the third lamp I bought and I love it. The first two were UV lights and took two to three minutes to cure each layer.

Note that your nails will feel sticky after every step from here forward. Don't worry, if you are using a light like mine, the time under the lamp will be enough to cure each layer. Read the instructions you received with your light to be sure you're curing for the correct amount of time.

IMPORTANT! All layers of polish from this point on should be thin. If it is too thick, the polish will basically slide off the nail and be reminiscent of a Salvador Dali painting. I guarantee that's not the beautifully painted look you were going for!

ALSO IMPORTANT! Don't go pet the dog or do anything else that will get something stuck in your layers of nail polish. Remember that the layers are sticky from this step on.

Step 5: Use Eye Shadow Brush to Dab Foundation Layer - See Video

This is another one of my SECRET TIPS TO MAKE GELISH LAST LONGER - Use eye shadow brush, dabbing down at 90 degree angle to disrupt base coat surface, making sure to thin out edges/sides of each nail's base coat. I dab about 4 to 6 times per nail, fewer times on pinkies. This is one of those steps that is easier to understand if you watch the video. My theory is that it's slightly disrupting the foundation layer so the next layers adhere better AND that it feathers the edge. The thinner edge makes it less likely to lift and peel up over time.

Step 6: Apply 2 Layers of Color, Curing Each Layer for 30 Seconds

If desired, you can apply a third layer. I'll often do the last cure on a third color layer for 60 seconds.

Step 7: Apply Top Coat and Cure 60 Seconds

Step 8: Wipe With 90% or Higher Isopropyl Alcohol, Run Hands Under Cold Water

I mentioned above that your nails will feel sticky between each layer. In this last step, you wipe that stickiness away. You'll want to rinse your hands when you're done anyway, so I put my freshly manicured nails under a stream of cold water. I feel that helps them to set up and harden a little bit more. The great thing about gel nails is that now you can go do just about anything and you won't mess up your nails!