- Unbox and unwrap everything from the kit and set it up within easy reach. With some of the steps, you will have to work quickly, and you don’t want to have to fumble around for the right products. Then, make sure to read the instructions for your gel nail kit all the way through before starting the process.
- Don’t plan to do your manicure right after you’ve showered. It can take hours for your nails to fully dry after bathing, and the residual water can make it more difficult for the gel to adhere.
- Before beginning, swipe each nail with rubbing alcohol to remove any dust or oils. (Some kits come with alcohol or some kind of nail cleanser, but others don’t.)
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- Opt for a light or sheer color for your first at-home gel manicure — mistakes will be less obvious, as will chips if they happen.
- Clean up excess polish around your cuticles after each coat, before you put your fingers under the light to cure it. You can use a cuticle pusher or orangewood stick (often included in kits). Once the gel hardens under the light, it will be more difficult to remove, but you can do so with a nail file if necessary.
- Use very thin coats. The gel has a thicker consistency than regular nail polish, so you don’t want to glop it on. If your nails feel very hot under the light, you’ve applied it too thickly.
- Don’t try to make the first coat perfect — a second coat (or even a third if necessary) plus the top coat is likely to even out any mistakes.
- Use three strokes when applying the polish: One down the center, then one on each side.
- Take your time! The polish will be thoroughly set by the time you’re finished so you don’t need to rush through the process to allow for a long drying time.
- Gel manicures are far more indestructible than regular polish jobs, but they can chip, so you should still try to avoid using your nails as tools.
This article was originally published as At-Home Gel Manicure Tips on SpryLiving.com.