DIY GEL NAILS: HOW TO & REVIEW

By Anth Blogs - 16:04

I am the type of person who just loves to do things by myself. I have always suffered with anxiety and the thought of going to a nail salon, or a spa retreat, or anything where people will be touching me sends my heart rate through the roof. So I've watched videos, I've googled how to do things and I found a way to DIY my nails. 

If anyone is unsure of what I mean, gel polishes are a type of nail polish that need to be 'cured' under UV/LED light. They usually last much longer than normal nail polishes do without chipping. When I do my nails, I tend to get a good 2 weeks out of them before I need to re-do because of re-growth. If my nails didn't grow, I'm sure they would last for months and still be perfect! 

So if you're fed up of wasting £20 each time you want your nails done, then this is what you need to do.

SKIP TO THE END IF YOU JUST WANT TO KNOW THE PROCESS! 


I started off with this Nail Gel Polish Kit* from Amazon. It was a little lower in price when I bought it a few years ago, but it's definitely worth it if you want an easy start to this process. Also, everything will arrive at the same time, so you don't need to be waiting for everything to turn up before you can get started! I'll post links if you want to buy everything separately though! 

I still have most of the original products that came with this kit, except the lamp itself (I left that at my grans house and she kept it for herself!). 

You'll see that the kit I linked above comes with a different lamp, that's a UV one - this is one that I bought recently from BellaNails* on Amazon, it's an LED one so it's slightly better for you and means you're not exposed to any more UV light than you really need to be. It doesn't matter which one you get, I prefer the LED one because it cures my polish quicker than the UV one did. The Mylee UV lamp is great for beginners though! 

Next in the kit comes a Mylee Prep + Wipe Cleanser* and Mylee Gel Polish Remover*. Now I'm in two minds about these, I know you should have them, but I'm 99.9% sure you can get away with not having them. You can also buy these in a duo set to save money, here*.

The purpose of the Prep & Polish Cleanser is to 1. dry out your nails before you start painting, this is to help the gel stick better and there'll be less chance of it peeling off prematurely. 2. After you finish painting your nails, you'll notice that it'll feel tacky, so the prep & polish is used with a little cotton pad to wipe away the tackiness.

The Gel Remover is the soak off solution to remove the polish when you're bored of the colour or just want to take it off. Now, I don't use this... because I tend to pick/peel off my nail polish (AWFUL I know) but you should use it and you shouldn't peel off the polish alone because it will ruin/weaken your nails. *Do as I say, not as I do... right?*. But anyway, what you do with this is soak a cotton pad with the solution and then place on your nail. Wrap it in foil to keep it in place and wait for about 10 minutes, then you can just use a nail tool to scrape it off easily. This is such a process, you can see why I rarely use it now - but it's much better for your nails than the alternative!

If you're still reading this, thank you!! 

Okay so I wanted to show you this little kit that I got from a subscription box (can't remember which one!) a while ago, which comes in handy! I tend to prep my nails with these little tools, cuticle cutters etc. I might do a separate post for what tools do what and how to use them etc... I'm still sort of figuring it out myself!

Obviously you need cotton pads, but Lint Free Cotton Pads* are the best so you don't get fluff left on your nails and getting stuck in the polish.

Onto the polishes, the original ones that come in the kit linked up the top (Bluesky Top and Base Coat) are just as good, but mine ran out so I had to replace them with these ones! Harmony Gelish Top & Base Coat which are really good too. I found that these worked better than the Bluesky ones but that could be because I learnt how to use them properly and didn't really understand it before when I first started! 

Side note: You'll notice bite marks on the lids of the polishes, they are an absolute B I T C H to open, they're so sticky and if you close them too tightly, you cannot open them unless you attack them like a wolf. Don't let that put you off though! 


Let's move on to the fun part, the nail polishes themselves! Now I've used 3 different brands (excluding the Gelish Top & Base Coat) and I've noticed a lot of difference in quality between them. I'm quite a cheap person, so I tend to buy the cheapest ones I can find - which usually works out for me, but in some cases it's just a fail!

Bluesky was the first brand that I heard of and bought and they're really great quality and affordable prices too so you can easily build up a collection with these!

Elite 99 is a brand that I only recently just bought and I'm really disappointed with these. The colour payoff is virtually non-existent, you need at least 3 coats to give the opacity that you want in a polish so that's a bummer, but other than that their staying power is great!

Perfect Summer is a brand that I got from a set for Christmas, these ones are similar to Bluesky, their quality is great, the colours are beautiful and they last for as long as you want them to!

I highly recommend getting one of these Nail Display Fan*. Gel polishes usually come in black packaging and it can be an absolute nightmare to find the colour you want when you have so many that all look the same!

So now that you've got all the tools, you need to know what to do with them! The basic steps are... 


  1. Prep your nails, push back cuticles, cut cuticles, cut & file your nails, don't forget to use the prep & wipe cleanser when you're done! 
  2. Get everything ready and laid out - you don't want to stop halfway through and get dust/fluff stuck to your nails and trapped between layers! It's happened, trust me... 
  3. Using the base coat, paint a thin layer. This is so important, if the layers are too thick, they won't cure under the light properly! 
  4. Cure your polish after every layer. 
  5. 2 coats of polish is usually the best so apply your two coats and base coat. 
  6. After you've finished, you'll want to wipe off the tacky layer that's left behind with the Prep & Wipe cleanser and the lint free cotton pad! 
  7. Et voila! 

I'm so so sorry that this post was so bloody long, but there's a lot of information!! I really hope it was helpful and if you end up trying this then I'd love to see the results! 

*Disclaimer; Any links with a * are affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you if you decide to buy something using this link, it just means that I get a little sum'n sum'n!*

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