Aloha, bestie! So you want to do your own gel manicures? Or maybe you already do but are looking for some nail recommendations, well, you’re in the right place. Below I’ve linked some of my favorite products and tools!
Kits + Lamps:
For my newbies!!! If you’re starting from scratch & looking for an affordable way to test out your gel skills before making a big investment, this little kit is great. It comes with everything you need for a few manicures and the quality is pretty good! Most importantly, it comes with a small UV lamp so if you end up being a fan of at home manis you can just replenish your gel polish/supplies when they run out.
For my committed babes. This is a great UV lamp that’s large enough for your entire hand to fit inside comfortably. It has a few timer settings and it’s the lamp I’d recommend if you’re already sold on doing your nails at home.
First we prep:
*Prepping nails will make or break your mani so set yourself up for success before you even get started*
You may think all nail files are created equally but, I promise, they’re not. This is a great pack because you get several different grits for taking down length, smoothing, shaping and even buffing. Nail prep is KEY for longevity so you want to make sure your nail files are creating the perfect smooth base for your gel.
You want to make sure all cuticle is pushed off your nailbed because If you paint gel over cuticle it will inevitable cause lifting. I personally love a metal one because I find that it’s the one tool that will really remove everything. Wooden orange sticks work but sometimes just glide over really thin cuticle. This can be used by anyone for any manicure, gel, traditional polish or even naked nails.
I know this is a controversial topic but I trim my cuticles. *Gasp* I’m not encouraging you to do so if you’re not comfortable with it but if you do make sure your nippers are SHARP. You don’t want to have dull nippers that will pull or tear your cuticles. Also, be careful, your cuticles are very delicate. I try to just use these to remove hangnails or really stubborn dry skin.
Now we paint:
My all time favorite base and top coat. The staying power, when applied correctly, with this base coat is so good. The top coat has a really great jelly finish and is super shiny.
The polish I get the most questions about. The perfect barely pink, pretty much white color that makes you look tan and give all the summer vibes.
The other color I’ve worn for literally 10+ years (Jesus, Rachael) but it’s the ultimate clean girl, wash of pink effortless shade. It does no wrong and a great base for French tips as well.
These jumbo kits of fun colored gel polishes are my favorite for nail art. They’re a great price and you get so much variety. I will say the only cons are that the bottles are quite small and the quality of the gel isn’t my favorite as base color. Definitely doable to use for a full mani just keep in mind the quality is a little hit or miss *as most things on Amazon are*.
Cotton rounds may seem like an afterthought and fair, I get it. However, I learned in the salon that pro cotton rounds are so necessary. You want to have as little lint as possible in your workspace while doing gel because a single rouge piece of cotton fun can fuck up your mani in an instant if you cure the polish before you catch it. So just trust your bestie and grab a pack of the lint free rounds. You won’t regret.
Just get it. You’re not removing traditional nail polish so you need its potency that makes everything you do with gel quicker and more efficient. Here are some of the ways I use 100% acetone:
+ Nail cleanser & dehydrator before you begin your mani
+ Clean your nail art tools
+ Remove sticky layer on top coat
+ Remove gel polish by saturating cotton rounds & soaking the manicure off
Last but not least and VERY important. Hydrate and moisturize your cuticles! I’m never without this, I keep one in my nail kit & one in my purse. I think hydrated cuticles can make even a week old mani or pedi look super fresh.
*Just don’t apply before your mani as the oil may cause the gel to lift*
DO NOT RIP YOUR NAILS OFF.
*I’m watching you*
When the time comes and your mani looks like you’ve been rock climbing 5 days a week, this is a great product. Use one of your new nail files to buff off the shiny top coat, paint this on (avoid skin) wait a minute or so and scrape off with cuticle pusher once you see it looking all crumbly.
Nails need some TLC & a break?
If your natural nails “need to breathe” and maybe look a little sad/peely. This is the best nail treatment. The reviews don’t lie.
Nail Envy is infused with biotin, calcium, vitamins A, C, and E, this formula strengthens & protects against chipping, peeling, and splitting, resulting in healthy-looking, beautiful nails.
Apply 2 coats to bare nails followed by an additional coat daily. You can keep on for a week or so and it has a nice shiny finish.