I bought the tools to do my own gel nails a few years ago because I figured when I can do something myself – why pay someone else to do it? Especially when it’s super expensive to get them done all the time, and I’m not rolling in the dough just yet. Also, I don’t have to go anywhere or talk to anyone, and I can only be mad at myself if they don’t turn out well. It’s a win/win.
I did these nails the other day to cheer myself up a bit, and they turned out pretty well! I’m happy with them, and I think you might like them too. So, I figured I’d tell you how to do it yourself!
The tools you’ll need:
• 1 UV LED light
• Gel Nail polish in your chosen colors (I used: Red, Pink, Turquoise, Black, Yellow, and White)
• Top Coat Gel Nail Polish
• Base Coat Gel Nail Polish
• Nail File
• UV protective gloves
• 91-99% rubbing alcohol (I used 91%)
• Nail art dotting tools
• Palette (for flower colors that you’ll be dipping into)
Step 1: Push back your cuticles and trim and file your nails into the size/shape you want. I usually keep my rounded and short. If you have any bumps or dips in your nail, lightly file the tops so that they are even, but don’t overdo it. Then lightly buff your nails from edge to edge. You want your nail to be lightly textured so that the polish adheres better. At least, this is what I’ve read and always done. Just don’t go too hard cause you don’t want to damage your nails!
Step 2: I like to wash my nails after step 1 with soap/water and then dry, but you don’t have to. The moisture from the water may make it harder for your polish to adhere. I’m just a huge germaphobe so I can’t not do this. You could just do the next step and swipe your nails with the rubbing alcohol to dehydrate and clean them. Let them dry (approx. 30-60 seconds). Put on your UV protective gloves. You could even put sunscreen on any exposed skin.
Step 3: Apply your base coat. The trick to doing gel nails is doing a thin coat and not touching the edges of your nails. You want to leave a tiny bit of space between your cuticle and sides of your nail so that no skin is touching the gel polish. If you have gel polish too close to the edge of your nails they’ll peel and chip a lot easier. Also, if you have any gel polish on your skin make sure you wipe it off before you put your hands under the UV LED light. After applying the base coat, I put my nails under the UV LED light to set them for 30-60 seconds. I also only do one hand at a time. So, I just do my right hand until its entirely done, and then start on my left hand.
Step 4: Apply your base color coats. I usually do 2 layers of each color, but you could even do 3. It’s better to do 3 thin layers than 2 thick ones. Just remember to put your nails under the UV LED light for 30-60 seconds to set each layer separately.
Step 5: Use your nail art dotting tools to dot on your flowers in your chosen colors. I just place a dab of each color I’m going to use on my palette. Gel polish is great ’cause it doesn’t dry out when it’s just chillin’ out in the open, so you won’t have to worry about that while you’re taking your time to do your intricate dots. Also, if you screw anything up this means that you can just wipe it off and try again! Do all the flower dots at once. Then, set them for 30-60 seconds under the UV LED light.
Step 6: Dot the centers of the flowers in your chosen colors. Do them all at once. Set them for 30-60 seconds under your UV LED light.
Step 7: Swipe your nails again with your rubbing alcohol and let it dry (approx. 30-60 seconds) before you apply your top coat. I find this stops the different colors from bleeding when you put your top coat on.
Step 8: Apply your top coat. Set them for 60 seconds twice under your UV LED light. I do it twice just to make sure it’s totally cured. I’m probably overdoing it but… whatever.
Step 9: Swipe your nails with your rubbing alcohol again to get rid of any gel polish residue.
Step 10: Show those beautiful babies off!
Easy peasy! AND your gel manicure should last you 2-3 weeks!
If you’re curious about what colors I used I’ve listed them here from left to right:
1. Turquoise Base (OPI Gel in “Gelato on my Mind”), Black flower (OPI Gel in “Black Onyx”), Pink Center (OPI Gel in “Suzi Nails New Orleans”)
2. Yellow Base (OPI Gel in “Exotic Birds Do Not Tweet”), Pink Flower (OPI Gel in “Suzi Nails New Orleans”), White Center (OPI Gel in “Funny Bunny”)
3. Black Base (OPI Gel in “Black Onyx”), Turquoise flower (OPI Gel in “Gelato on my Mind”), Pink Center (OPI Gel in “Suzi Nails New Orleans”), Pink Flower (OPI Gel in “Suzi Nails New Orleans”), Yellow Center (OPI Gel in “Exotic Birds Do Not Tweet”)
4. Pink Base (OPI Gel in “Suzi Nails New Orleans”), Black flower (OPI Gel in “Black Onyx”), Turquoise Center (OPI Gel in “Gelato on my Mind”)
5. Red Base (OPI Gel in “OPI Red”), Pink Flower (OPI Gel in “Suzi Nails New Orleans”), White Center (OPI Gel in “Funny Bunny”).
PS – when you want to remove your gel polish, just grab some cotton pads and cut them in half or quarters. Basically you just need them to cover each nail. And grab some tinfoil. Make 10 cotton pads to cover the nails, and 10 tin foil squares big enough to wrap around each nail securely. Soak each cotton pad (not too much or it’ll drip everywhere) with some nail polish remover, apply to nails and wrap them in tinfoil. Leave them to soak in the tinfoil wraps for approx 10-15 mins. You’ll know when its time to take them off when your nail polish starts peeling off. Then just swipe your nails with nail polish remover and wash your hands. Then you’re good to go!
Let me know if you try these out! Tag me on instagram @_hey_kristina or leave a comment below!