How to master gel nail polish at home

January 29, 2015

No-dry UV gel polishes are the quickest way to get a fabulous manicure that lasts up to two weeks. Before dropping hundreds of dollars a year at the salon for the perfect mani, read these tips to find out how to master the art of gel nail polish at home.

Prep your nails

Before even touching that hot pink gel polish, you need to get your nails ready for application. Start by gently pushing back your cuticles and filing your nails into the desired shape, whether it be square or round. Once that’s done, you’ll need to gently file off a layer of the surface of the entire nail. A smooth surface isn’t ideal for applying gel polish since it won't provide enough traction for the polish to stick. It's likely to pop right off after a few days, whereas a rough surface will allow the product to adhere for longer-lasting results. Then, wash your hands to remove the excess dust, dry them well and get ready to apply your bonder (always great for better adhesion), followed by a base coat.

Apply one thin layer of polish at a time

It may seem much quicker to opt for one ultra-thick layer of polish rather than several thin layers, but thinner is definitely better. If you apply the gel polish too thick, it can form bubbles, slide off and clump up in one area while curing under the UV light, or even burn your nails during the curing process. Apply a thin layer instead and add as many coats as necessary to achieve the opacity you’re looking for, finishing off with a layer of shiny topcoat. This will ensure a salon-worthy finish every time.

Cure each layer for two minutes

Don’t cut corners and start applying the next layer of polish before curing the previous one for a full two minutes. If the gel isn’t cured all the way through, your manicure may pop off after a few days.

File the edges

While you should be leaving at least 1-2mm of space between the polish and the edge of your nail during application, some polish will inevitably make its way too far over the line, causing your manicure to look uneven. When you’re done curing the final layer, you will notice a stickiness to your nails. Soak a cotton pad in acetone-free nail polish remover, alcohol, or gel polish cleaner and rub each nail to remove the sticky outer layer. Then grab your nail file, and gently file all around the edges. This will help you shape straight edges (and prevent sticking to your cuticle line) for a flawless-looking manicure.

How to master gel nail polish at home
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