I have always been a person that struggles with keeping my nail polish on.
I do all of the things you’re supposed to – wash your hands before polishing, use a base coat, use a good top coat, use good nail polish, etc. I’ve even gone as far as to apply the top coat every day. Even with this method, it’s a max of 3 days before my nail polish chips.
I wash my hands frequently, wear lotion, and wear gloves in dental school, so I think this all decreases the staying power of my manicure.
I gave up on nail polish for awhile because I just couldn’t get it to stay on! Gel manicures were the only color that would stay on my nails, but I don’t have the time or money to dedicate to them.
I missed having painted nails, sometimes it’s the little things that just make you feel put together and ready to conquer the day.
My problems were solved when I discovered I could buy my own gel nail kit to use at home!
I bought a light and the Gelish kit on Amazon (because they have everything and 2-day Prime shipping, of course!) You can get 100% acetone from any drugstore, I got mine from Ross for 3$. I had previously gotten a Revlon manicure kit that had some extra tools in it that would be perfect for DIY manicures – a cuticle pusher & trimmer, nail files and buffers – the only other tool you need is a small paintbrush.
Ok, now that I’ve told you everything I got for these DIY manicures – I bet you’re thinking that’s expensive.
Well, compared to the cost of getting gel manicures every 2 weeks at a salon – it’s not!
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Let’s break down the costs of each and compare:
Estimated cost of a salon gel manicure: 25$ (add in 5$ tip… 30$!)
Estimated cost YEARLY: $30 x 26 weeks (aka every two weeks) = $780 !!!
Total = $134.90
Now let’s say you wanted to have a different color every two weeks because that’s what you got when you had salon gel manicures (this is being extreme, but just for comparison’s sake): 13$ x 26 = $390
Making the new total $459.89.
That’s STILL less than the cost of a salon gel manicure every 2 weeks!
I’ll keep doing the math here – that’s a yearly savings of $320.11 if you bought a new BOTTLE of gel polish for every single manicure!
You can buy the gel colors on Amazon or at your local Beauty Supply stores so they aren’t hard to get. There are other brands besides Gelish too, so you can shop around and see what is most cost-effective/produces the greatest result for you.
Here are the steps I use to produce a manicure that is just as good as a salon manicure:
DIY Gel Manicure: The Prep
First, you need to get the length of your nails to your liking (of course). I usually just file mine because I like to square them off too. For uniform looking nails, try to make sure each nail is the same shape.
I use the cuticle pusher/trimmer tool in this Revlon manicure kit to push back my cuticles and trim them off. It’s really easy with this tool and doesn’t hurt. Doing this step just ensures that you won’t paint your gel polish over your cuticles, as this could cause the polish to lift up and decrease the lifetime of your manicure.
DIY Gel Manicure: The Polish
This Gelish starter kit that you can buy off of Amazon is perfect for someone that is just trying this! It comes with: the pH bond, the foundation, and the top it off coat.
First, you’ll apply the pH bond to your nails. This is basically just a drying agent that will remove any oils from your nails so that the gel will stick better.
Next, you’ll apply a thin coat of the foundation and light cure for 30 seconds with your UV light.
Now you can apply your color of choice. I usually do 2 coats of color, light curing in between of course. Try to keep the color coats from being too thick.
Lastly, you apply the Top It Off coat and UV light cure. After this final coat you can put some acetone on a cotton pad and rub each nail to get off the tacky outer layer.
DIY Gel Manicure: The Tips & Tricks
Go slowly and pay attention to the bottom of your nail when you are painting the gel polish on. You don’t want to get the polish overlapped onto your skin or cuticle, otherwise the polish will easily lift off as it won’t be fully adhered to your nails. The goal is to have the polish only on your nails.
That’s where the paint brush comes in handy! Pour out some of the acetone into the bottle cap and dip in your little paint brush. Before you light cure each layer, clean up any areas you need with your paintbrush dipped in acetone!
This will make your manicure last so much longer.
Another tip – polish your thumbs and then cure. THEN polish the rest of your fingers and cure. Why do you ask? Lay your hand flat on a table and look at the orientation of your nails – your thumbs are facing out towards the side.
If you were to light cure your nails all at the same time, you would notice that the polish on your thumbs would drip to the sides creating un-eveness (yep, definitely made up that word). Polishing and light curing your thumb and then polishing and light curing the rest of your nails will prevent this!
These DIY at-home gel manicures last me 2 weeks! For me, it’s definitely cost effective and it just makes me feel put together with little effort. Would you try doing at-home gel manicures?