DIY Gel Nails at Home

Gel nails have become increasingly popular over recent years. Not only do they look amazing and last longer than simply painting your nails, they keep your nails strong and allow them to grow! Of course, you can use gel nail colours and techniques on your natural nails, as well as false nails or extensions. While a trip to the nail salon is a great way to unwind and self-indulge, it can be a costly game. If you’re looking to save money or if you can’t see a professional nail technician right now, why not try doing your own DIY gel nails at home? It’s easier than you think, not to mention more convenient for those who don’t always have time for nail appointments.

DIY Gel Nails at Home

How I Use a UV Lamp for Gel Nails at Home

I recently purchased a new UV nail lamp for gel nails and nail extensions but this is actually the second lamp I’ve owned. The first time I purchased a UV gel nail lamp was about 15 years ago when acrylic and gel nail extensions were the favoured choice of manicure. I remember purchasing a UV lamp set that came complete with everything needed to do your own false nail extensions at home. The kit worked great and I enjoyed wearing false nail extensions whenever I fancied. The only downside was that replacement items were not so easy to come by back then and they could be quite pricey too.

Eventually, I stopped using the set after I’d used up the pieces that came in the original kit. A couple of months ago I decided to purchase a new UV lamp so that I could recreate gel nail colours at home. Gel nails used to be for special occasions or for those who were used to wearing false nails. Now you can enjoy pretty, long-lasting nail colour on your natural nails too thanks to specially formulated gel nail polish. This new beauty technology makes investing in a UV lamp more worthwhile and something you’re likely to use on a regular basis.

DIY Gel Nails at Home

The Products I Use for DIY Gel Nails at Home

This is the full list of products that I use for applying both nail extensions and for painting my natural nails with gel colours. You don’t need all of these products. A UV lamp or LED lamp is essential, but the other products depend on whether you want to use false nails or not. There is no significant difference between the two lamps. Both will work on natural and false nails.

I’ve been using the Silver Crest Nail Studio Kit. Although, any good nail lamp will suffice. This kit is just like the original UV lamp set I purchased years ago. It comes complete with everything you need to create professional level gel nail extensions at home. I have since added to it by purchasing special gel nail polishes that can be worn on false or natural nails. To save confusion, there is no need to purchase separate lamps. Both lamps can be used for the gel used on false nails, as well as gel nail paints on natural nails.

Compared to when I purchased my very first nail lamp, there is a much bigger choice available on the market. UV lamps vary in size, from tiny portable lamps for taking with you on the go, to bigger, sturdier lamps designed for commercial use. I’d recommend purchasing a bigger lamp in order to save time by being able to dry your entire hand (including your thumb) in one go. It will also mean that you can use your lamp for gel nails on your toes as well. Another new feature that I think is a brilliant addition is that most modern lamps also include timers. Timer options are typically 90 seconds, 120 seconds, or 240 seconds on UV lamps. This little tool is helpful because it means that you don’t have to manually count the drying time; it does it for you.

DIY Gel Nails at Home

DIY Gel Nails at Home Tutorial

These steps will teach you how to do your own DIY gel nails at home on your natural nails. You can use either a UV lamp or an LED lamp. An LED lamp will cure the nails faster, as the timer settings are usually 15, 30, or 60 seconds.

  • Using an emery board, file down and shape your natural nails. If needed, cut them.
  • Apply a little cuticle oil and push back your cuticles with a cuticle hoof.
  • Apply your base coat and wait a few seconds for it to dry.
  • Now apply your chosen gel nail polish. It is better to build up your colour with thin coats rather than applying one very thick layer.
  • Place your nails under your LED lamp for 30 seconds. Or if you’re using a UV lamp select 120 seconds.
  • After the first layer has cured, apply another thin, even coat to your nails.
  • Once again, place your hand under your lamp for another 30 seconds (LED lamps) or 120 seconds (UV lamps).
  • Apply your top coat, leave to dry and then wipe with a finishing wipe to remove tackiness.
  • Now repeat on your other hand.

 

How to Do Gel Nail Extensions at Home

Gel nail extensions require builder gel, which is completely different to gel nail colours you’d use on your natural nails. Again, you will need either a UV lamp or an LED lamp.

  • Using an emery board, file down and shape your natural nails. If needed, cut them.
  • Apply a little cuticle oil and push back your cuticles with a cuticle hoof stick.
  • Select the right size nail extensions for each of your nails. They shouldn’t be too wide and should slot on to the tips of your natural nails comfortably.
  • Now buff your natural nails using the white buffer sanding block. This is to roughen your natural nails so that the glue and false nail will stick better.
  • Start applying your false nail extensions using nail glue.
  • Once you’re done, cut down the false nails to your desired length using false nail cutters.
  • Carefully file your nails with a false nail file to shape and smooth the edges.
  • Load your brush will a little gel and apply over your natural nails. The reason it is called building gel or bridging gel is because it is designed to bridge the gap between your natural nail and the false nail extension. The majority of the gel should be applied to your natural nail and using the remainder of what’s on the brush, cover the false nail tips. The idea is that you create a natural-looking smooth surface, instead of your nail extension being a noticeable bump at the end of your nail.
  • Once you’ve applied your gel to your nails, place your hand under your lamp for 120 seconds.
  • Apply another layer of gel using the same technique and then cure under your UV or LED lamp for another 120 seconds.
  • Now, wipe with a finishing wipe to remove tackiness.
  • Now repeat on your other hand.

And that’s it! I hope you enjoy doing your own DIY gel nails at home as much as I do! Don’t forget to follow and tag me on Instagram with pictures of your beautiful nails!

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