Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Ever since nail salons have closed I've tried a few different things with my nails. I tried an at-home acrylic kit, press-on, and just painting them with normal polish. I felt that nothing stayed without chipping or the press-ons fell off too easily.
I finally tried gels at home and I'm loving it
The first thing you will need is an LED Lamp. There's a bunch out there but not all of them work that great. I found this one is really nice quality so if I were to recommend one I'd go with this or any of the Diozo brand. It's sturdy, and very well made.
Then you will also want to get a gel base, gel top coat, and pick out some gel colors. The first color set I got was nudes, pale pinks, and grays from Gellen.
Then I decided I wanted the basics with red, black, white, and a variety of colors and glitters so I found this 20 piece color kit by Beetles. This actually came with a base coat, top coat, and matte top coat in the kit.
I like that it's a natural product and a major bonus, it's odor free! My husband loathes the smell of nail products and is quite sensitive to the fumes. I am guilty of doing my nails sitting in front of the tv in the living room, stinking it up with my nail products.
I took some old nail tips and painted them with the gels, glued them to this board, and numbered them accordingly so it would be easier to find the color I want in the box. The lids are numbered but no color on the bottles to decipher what's what. This will also be nice for guests that stay over and want to try it out. Once I start collecting a bunch of gels I plan to get one of those nail swatches you can paint yourself.
So how does it work?
The steps are really easy! First, you paint a thin layer of base coat and hit the 60-second button in the middle. I do this twice. Use low heat mode if you have sensitive nailbeds.
Then I paint the color on with a thin layer. Depending on how opaque the polish is you may only need to do one coat. Keeping the layers thin allows for each coat to cure under the lamp. If it's too thick it won't set as well and peels faster down the road.
I do three 60 second rounds with the chosen gel color.
Then I finish it with one thin layer of topcoat and set for three 60 second rounds.
I spray a little rubbing alcohol on them and wipe them off when done curing to shine them up. They should be completely hardened and chip-resistant by now. It's truly fool proof in messing them up unless you bump the lamp before they cure. Just be careful placing your hand under the light. When I'm doing my toes, I usually put my foot down on the ground and gently place the light over top.
I find the polish typically lasts about a week to a week and a half depending on how tough I am on them. I do a lot of dishes and lately tons of gardening which can put them to the test. They never chip and stay shiny!
I'm a converted fan of gels.
To take them off it's recommended (the safe way) to soak them in polish remover. I'm naughty and just wear them until they start to grow out then I peel them off. I rather enjoy picking them off, it's satisfying but not the recommended removal so take them off at your discretion.
This service at the salon can cost up to $40 with tip. With a little investment in equipment, you will get your money's worth and then some. You can even have mani-pedi parties with friends! Grab some champagne, pop on a movie and have fun.
Let me know if you try at home gels too!