DIY Gel Manicure Not Turning Out Well? 2 Important Tips For Gel Nail Polish Success

While gel manicures have been offered in salons since the 80s, they didn't become popular until around 2010 when gel nail polish formulations were greatly improved. The reason gel manicures became so popular, and remain popular today, is due to not only their super high-gloss shine, but also their amazing ability to last for weeks without chipping. Now that can find gel nail kits for sale in beauty supply stores, drug stores, and online, you can reap all of the benefits of a gel manicure without having to visit the salon. 

Have you tried doing your own DIY gel manicure on yourself, but just aren't getting the results you hear others have, such as polish that lasts for weeks without chipping? Don't worry, because you can get the hang of the process by following these two important tips for DIY gel manicure success:

1. Prep Your Nails Properly

When applying standard nail polish, not only can you apply it to clean, dry nails without prepping them, but you can even layer it over old polish, although, fresh polish layered over old, chipped polish doesn't look nice up close!

However, you cannot apply gel nail polish over shellac polish and ideally you should prep your nails properly before you apply your gel polish base coat for the best results. While you can skip prepping your nails as long as they are clean and dry, the right nail prep can help your gel manicure stay shiny and chip-free for much longer.

To prep your nails for your gel polish base coat, first, remove old polish with any basic nail polish remover, and then allow your nails to dry thoroughly. If you are not removing old nail polish, then swiping each nail with a little polish remover can help remove any natural oil that remains on your nails after washing your hands; the natural oils in your nails can keep the gel polish base coat from adhering properly. 

Next, simply massage each nail gently with a nail buffer. A nail buffer is similar to a nail file but is much softer and very gentle. Only buff each bare fingernail until its natural shine is gone. This provides your base coat a slightly rough surface to adhere to, which makes the bond it forms with your natural nail much stronger. 

2. Layer All Three Polishes

Did you buy one bottle of gel nail polish and apply it to your nails just like typical nail polish? If so, then it likely looked nice at first and lasted a few days but did not stay shiny and chip-free for weeks, as a full gel manicure can. 

You may know that when applying typical nail polish, you can apply a base coat before you apply the polish and a top coat after, but you don't necessarily have to when applying standard polish. However, when giving yourself a DIY gel manicure, you must apply the base coat first, then your gel polish color, then the top coat.

Of course, you need to allow your polish to "set" between each step, but you don't just allow the polishes to air dry like you do traditional nail polish -- after applying each coat of polish, place your nails inside the UV light device that comes with your gel nail kit for about three minutes. This "cures," or hardens, each layer.  

It is important to purchase a base coat, gel polish color, and a top coat that are made by the same gel polish brand; formulas vary depending on the manufacturer, and if you mix-and-match gel polishes, they may not be compatible with each other. To make sure your polishes are all compatible, it is best to purchase a gel nail kit.

If you fell in love with the idea of giving yourself a DIY gel manicure but didn't experience great results when you tried it, then remember these two tips for gel nail polish success. When you prep your nails for your gel manicure properly and layer all three types of polish, you will have a great gel manicure that stays shiny and chip-free for weeks. 


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