Gel nails offer the same look as acrylic nails, but they do not emit the same strong odour. Their application lasts longer and does not suffer the usual damage and chips. Many people that would like to try gel nails shy away them because of the expensive application in salons. As an affordable alternative, it is possible to buy DIY gel nail kits that include everything required to achieve a salon-style manicure, from the nail polish to the UV lamp. When applying gel nails at home, it is necessary to prepare well to create a clean base that enables the gel to adhere to the fingernails.
To prepare the nails, either visit a professional salon for a basic manicure to ensure a clean base or perform the process at home. Gather the required products, including nail polish remover, cotton wool, and orange sticks.
Soak a piece of cotton wool in nail polish remover. Place it on the nail and hold it for a moment before rubbing gently to remove all residues of nail polish. If there are acrylic or gel nails already in place, use acetone to remove the nail colour.
Clip the nails to the desired length, if necessary, and then use a nail file to smooth the edges and create a curved shape. Next, soak the fingers in some warm water for at least 10 minutes to soften the cuticles, which are the clear, thin layers at the base of the nail plates. Push the cuticles back using orange wood sticks. If the cuticles do not move easily or do not leave a clean plate, soak them for a little bit longer. When both hands are groomed, wash and dry them.
Fingernails contain natural moisturisers that provide a healthy shine. However, this shiny layer makes it easy for nail applications to lift away, even after they are dry. Use a soft nail buffer to provide a rough surface that helps the gel nails to adhere. A primer removes any remaining shine, while making the top of the nails more even. The gel nail kit should include a primer with a brush applicator, but if not, it is easy to buy a generic nail primer. Apply a thin coat of nail primer from the cuticle to the tip of each nail. Leave the primer to dry completely.
Before applying the nail gel, ensure that the UV lamp is plugged in, as it is required to dry the gel. Gather the desired colours of nail gel and brushes. Soak a cotton bud in acetone and place it close by to clean up any overspill quickly from stray brush strokes. Use long even strokes to apply the gel, starting at the cuticle and sweeping towards the nail tip. When the nail is covered, clean any excess gel from the fingers or nail bed using the cotton bud. When the nails on one hand are complete, put the hand under the UV lamp for the duration of time specified on the gel nail polish; this can vary from 45 seconds to 3 minutes according to the brand.
It is often necessary to apply a second coat of gel, and sometimes a third. Each coat defines the colour more strongly, as well as providing an opportunity to fill in thin spots and smooth out uneven sections. Place the hand under the UV lamp after every subsequent coat. Each additional coat may need more time to dry than the first coat, but no more than 4 minutes. Repeat the application process on the other hand.
When both hands are complete, apply a top coat designed for gel nails. Leave this to air dry or place the hands under the UV lamp.