Gel manicures are awesome, they look cute and continue to look brand new even after a week! The only downside is nice things come at a cost. Going to the nail salon to keep up with your gel manicure can rack up a lot of money in just a short time. This tutorial is for beginners looking to try a gel manicure on their own. Once you perfect this you will find yourself saving a lot of money and time!
Step 1: Gathering the Right Materials
For getting a successful Gel Manicure to work you have to use the proper materials. The most basic materials you will need for completing a gel manicure is a uv hand lamp, alcohol wipes, nail clippers, nail filer, and the proper nail polish. For a gel manicure to work properly you will need nail polish that reacts with the uv light. Not only does the uv light help to dry the nails faster but it is also an important part of the gel process. It is called curing which is basically the uv light reacting with the nail polish. It doesn't matter what color you pick, in this tutorial I have picked white, it just matters that the nail polish works with uv light. You can usually tell if this is the case by the label on the nail polish. If it has the word gel in it, or if the label on the back of the nail polish discusses uv light, then this is the right nail polish to use. You will need a base and top coat for this manicure to work and last long. The color is up to you!
Step 2: Prepping Nails
Before we start putting polish on the nails, we want the physical nails themselves to look the way we want them. Once we put polish on we would ruin the manicure if we try to change our nail shape. First start with trimming your nails with a nail clipper. I personally like to trim them short because these gel manicures last quiet a while and my nails grow fast so if they are left long, they will be impossibly long before the manicure is even ready to come off. Once you cut your nails to the desired length, you should use a nail filer to soften the edges and give your nail desired shape. My personal preference is rounded nails but some people like pointed tips, or flat edges. File your nails into your desired shape because once again, it will be a lot harder to change them once the nail polish goes on.
Step 3: Base Coat
The first step in polishing your nails is to start with a base coat. The base coat is important because it is the foundation of your manicure. When applying the polish I like to start in the middle going up and then working my way to the base of my nail and the edges. When I was younger I used to try and get all the way to the sides of my nails and base of my nails but this will actually make your manicure messy looking. You want to stop just short of all edges. Not a big enough gap that it is extremely noticeable but also not all the way to the edge. What is most important in this step is to not let this base coat touch any of your skin. Try to keep it in the lines of your nail as much as possible. If it extends to your skin, use your nail from your other hand to wipe it away quickly before it dries. If the base coat has extended to your skin it is a lot easier for the whole base coat to peel off later, peeling your whole manicure off in one go because the polish will not stick to your skin as well as your nails. You should also use a little polish to cap off the ends of your nails. This is sometimes neglected but it can make your manicure last much longer. Once done, place your hand in the uv lamp for the recomended time depending on the polish you're using (it should say on the bottle) or for a minute which is what I normally do. Repeat this step twice giving yourself two base coat layers.
Step 4: Color
Once you have your base coat on, pick your nail polish color. This is what you will be seeing for the whole time your manicure lasts. Apply the color coat the same way as the base coat, starting from the middle and working your ways to the side. Again, try not to go all the way to the corners of your nails. For the color coat you will usually need multiple coats. For the first coat you just want a simple thin layer, then place your hand in the uv lamp for a minute or the suggested time. After this initial layer, keep repeating this process and adding layers until your color is no longer streaky or is the right shade you want. The more layers the darker the color gets. For lighter colors you will probably need to do more coats than the darker colors because they are thinner. Keep putting on coats and remember to cure the nails in the uv lamp after each coat. The color is up to you so you decided when there are enough coats of color polish.
Step 5: Top Coat
The last polish step is the top coat. The top coat will seal the whole nail polish together. It is the finishing touch to your manicure. Apply this top coat the same as the previous two steps, starting from middle and working your ways to the sides. I like to be generous when applying the coat of top coat because I imagine it as a big glossy finishing layer. It is good to cap the tips of your nails just like you would with the base coat, because it helps seal the manicure together better allowing the manicure to last longer. After applying this top coat place your nails in the uv lamp for the suggested time. I tend to spend a little extra time curing the top coat because it is the final layer of your manicure. So you can leave a little extra time for you nails to cure and dry in the uv lamp for maximum hold.
Step 6: Finishing Up
Finally the last step is to take your alcohol wipe and wipe the residual layer off your nail. Rub lightly a couple time until your nail is no longer sticky. You will find that if you skip this step, you will have sticky nails that could get ruined if they got stuck to something or bumped into something so this is an important finishing step. Once have completed this your nails are done! No need to wait for anymore drying or being careful about touching things like you would with a regular manicure. What is nice about a gel manicure is that once you wipe that last residual layer off you are good to go, and can work on on daily task or go about your day like you normally would! This new manicure will also last you much longer than a normal manicure and will not chip during your wear. Enjoy your new nails and try it again with different colors and designs!