There's definitely a learning curve to applying gel at home so don't be disappointed or lose confidence if your first few DIY gel manicures don't look fantastic or last weeks on end — never fear, you'll become a pro in no time with some patience and practice!
- Be sure to file both the edge AND the surface of your nail. This allows the gel to stick better and therefore last longer. Then wipe your nails clean of dust, oil, and debris with acetone before applying gel.
- The first coat of gel must be VERY THIN. This is the most important tip! If it is too thick, it will not cure (dry) completely under the light and it may easily chip. Also, if is too thick, the gel can feel hot under the LED light.
- Be sure to wipe the brush against the rim the bottle to remove ALL the gel. The brush should have almost no gel polish on it when you apply the first layer. Gel polish is much thicker than regular nail polish so it needs to be applied very thinly at first.
- Don’t buff your nails after you file them. Filing creates a rough surface, allowing the gel to stick better. Buffing reverses this effect by making the surface smooth again (which will cause the manicure to not last as long).
- Don’t apply lotion or cuticle oil before or during the gel application process. The oiliness will cause the gel polish to not stick. You can apply these products after you are finished. Also, try to minimize use of cuticle oil when you have a gel manicure – some oils will reduce the shine of a gel manicure.
- Don’t apply the gel on or too close to the skin. If you get gel on your skin, use the cuticle stick to remove it before curing. Curing gel on your skin will affect the lasting and make it come off easier).
- Work finger by finger, completing each nail before moving on to the next one. It’s important to cure each nail immediately after painting (to reduce the amount of time the gel is in contact with air). This will lead to the best result.
- Close the bottle of gel polish when not in use, and while you are waiting for each curing cycle, if possible (or at least set the cap over the bottle while you are curing to minimize the amount of air and light that enters the bottle). This will prevent the gel from drying out, as gel reacts to both LED light and also natural light. Avoid having the LED lamp shine directly on an open bottle of gel, which will also dry out the gel.