DIY Gel Manicure

Ladies!!! Who doesn’t love a beautiful manicure, but who actually loves to spend $30-$50 on one?! NO ONE!   About 4 years ago my sister gave me my first gel nail starter kit for my college graduation gift.  I was so excited because I have always loved having my nails painted, but hated spending so much on a manicure.

I have been painting my own nails with gel for years now and consider myself somewhat of an expert!  Below is a list of supplies I consider the best starter kit for a newbie!  It will only cost you the price of one manicure!

Supplies:  123 or 3.54567

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Step 1: Prep Nails

-First things first…turn on your favorite guilty pleasure show; Real Housewives, Hallmark Christmas Movies, whatever your heart desires, because this will take about 40 minutes.

-Remove your old nail polish and file your nails to the shape you want them.  I am really into the “almond” rounded shape right now!

-Soak your nails in warm water and soap for a while like they do at the salon.  This allows the cuticles to soften and makes you feel a little pampered 🙂

-After about 5-10mins of soaking, I push my cuticles back and cut off any hang-nails lurking around. I have a very old cuticle pusher that I still use, but this one would work perfectly too.  You can also use your thumbnails to push your cuticles back.

-File your entire nail to “rough” up the nail a little bit so that the polish has something to hold on to.  Buffing your nails with a nail buffer works great too.

Step 2: Base Coat

-I always start with my left hand.  The light will only fit one hand, so I paint one hand at a time.

-Grab the base coat and paint each nail with one coat. Try not to get any polish on your skin, if you do wipe it off.

-Set your painted hand under the light.  This light is motion sensitive which is really neat, but you can also choose to set the cure time for 30 seconds or for 60 seconds.  So I like to click the power button until the “60” seconds light is on.

-Let fingers cure for 60 seconds between every coat.

Step 3: Color Time!  

The colors I listed are very affordable and are a beautiful variety!  I was surprised how great the polish colors worked for the price I paid!  

Paint your first color (I am using Sexy Mix 1361 color) coat and try not to get any polish on your skin.  If you get polish on your skin just wipe it off with another nail.  Put your fingers under the light for the for 60 seconds.  I highly recommend three coats of the polish color.

Step 4: Top Coat and Finish

Apply one layer of top coat to the painted nails.  Cure for 60 seconds.  Squeeze rubbing alcohol (most people have this in their first aid kit) onto a cotton ball and wipe all painted nails with the cotton ball to shine them up and get rid of the tacky texture they may have!!

Repeat steps 2-4 for your right hand.

Ta Daaaa!!  You have beautifully manicured fingernails!  The more you use your gel nail polish the better you will get at painting with it.  I really like gel polish because the polish doesn’t dry unless you cure it with your lamp, so if you accidentally bump your nail while painting, you just use your paint and brush to fix the flaw!  Your DIY manicure will most likely last for 7-14 days!!

Painting my nails at home has saved me oodles of money!! I am not going to lie, I love going to a salon, but for me, doing it at home is almost just as fun!

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Emily (1)
Hi, I'm Emily

I’m an Interior designer, decorator and blogger.  I help overwhelmed homeowners and DIYers bring timeless design and function into their home so they can love their space and the life they are building within it!  Thank you for visiting 🙂


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