DIY BEAUTY: At Home Gel Nails

I’m not gonna lie, I would love to be able to label myself as “natural”, but after years of nail, hair, brow and lash appointments, Natural just won’t cut it much longer. No word of a lie, I have been getting my nails done since about 13 years old, I used to hack the school system by getting short, natural-looking acrylics so that none of the teachers would notice (bless my dad’s heart for giving up £30 a month to fuel his high maintenance daughters addiction).

Once I was in college, I only got around £200 a month from working my weekend job. So after deep consideration- I decided that using £30 of that each month on nails wasn’t a wise investment. Instead, after watching a couple of tutorials on youtube I headed straight to amazon and ordered myself an at-home gel nail kit. It was crucial that I was either to learn gel or acrylic as polish on my natural nails chipped within a day or two, and my natural nails are so weak.

I ordered everything on a whim as I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but the products I ordered are mainly the same ones I still use 4 years later. I started with knackered acrylics that had been on for about a month and a half, but skip the first part if you are starting with bare nails.

*some of the items I purchased are no longer stocked, so I have linked similar items below.

To Take Off

What you’ll need:

100% acetone

scraper tool

hard nail file

electric file

a small bowl

a slightly larger bowl

hot water

a thick piece of kitchen roll

How to:

  1. Take the larger bowl and fill halfway with hot water (you want this to be as hot as you can handle as your fingers will be in it).
  2. Fill the smaller bowl with acetone and place bowl into the hot water.
  3. Use the electric file to file as much of the gel/acrylic off without touching your natural nail. You can do this without the electric file, but it will take quite a while longer. This should take you around 5-10 minutes
  4. Place nails into the acetone, and leave there for 5 minutes.
  5. Take nails out and place onto the kitchen roll, take the scraper and gently scrape as much of the acrylic off as you can. The acrylic should go gooey and scrape off easily.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the acrylic is fully off.
  7. Use the buffer attachment of the electric file to buff out the nail bed and make sure there is no product left over.
  8. Use the brush that comes in the electric file pack to dust off your nails.
  9. File the nails gently into the desired shape and push back cuticles.
  10. You can either follow up with a clear topcoat and a bit of oil on your cuticles, or follow the next steps if you want to add colour.

For the Gel

What you’ll need:

How to:

  1. Apply the base coat evenly starting from the bottom of the middle of the nail, and then filling the two sides. Ensure that there is no gel around the nail bed and if there is, use the scraper tool to scrape off any excess gel.
  2. Place your nails under the UV lamp for 2 minutes.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 using your desired gel colour. If you’re using a light colour, apply once or twice more until opaque.
  4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 using your top coat.
  5. Using the kitchen roll, apply a dab of the gel wipe off solution and wipe over nails until the sticky residue has gone.
  6. Finish up with a bit of oil- coconut oil is the best, but I didn’t have any so I used olive oil.

This is super easy to do and is cheaper than attending nail appointments every month. I am so happy with the outcome!