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Cheryl Bergman



"There are no ugly women. Just lazy ones" ~ Helena Rubinstein

01 Jan 1977

I'm a beauty and makeup junkie! It's always interesting to discover new products and share the results with others. Sites like this are great, since we all have new things to learn from each other. Currently I work for a vitamin company in their marketing department – a great job and access to all sMore saduisahduiash dsau

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Published on: 30 Sep 2011 by crissy78

How to Apply UV Gel Nail Polish at Home (Gelish, Shellac): Step by Step Instructions

A manicure that can last for 2-3 weeks? Seriously?YES!! Welcome to the world of UV Gel Manicures.


Unlike traditional nail polish that dries on its own, Gel Nail Polish is cured with a UV lamp.  This allows the polish to look shinier and last three times longer than regular polish. Salons charge around $40 for a Gel Manicure and around $50 for a Gel Pedicure.  If you don’t mind doing the work yourself at home, you can save big bucks and have gorgeous nails year round. Here are step-by-step instructions for how to apply Gel Nail Polish.


Products purchased:

  • Gelish Foundation Base Gel ($18 at Sally’s Beauty Supply)

  • 4-Way Nail Buffer ($3 at Sally’s Beauty Supply)

  • Soak Off Gel Polish in Color # 32 (Ebay seller “ashopone” fromHong Kong$5)

  • Niko Ultra Seal Top Coat (Ebay seller “ashopone” shipped fromHong Kong$6)

  • UV Lamp 36 Watt (Ebay, shipped fromUSA$25)

  • Rubbing Alcohol (CVS Drugstore $1.50)

  • 100% Acetone Polish Remover (CVS Drugstore for $4)

how to do gel manicure at home supplies JPEG how to do gel manicure at home - supplies



Step 1:  Make sure nails are clean, dry and free of any nail polish.  Push cuticles back so they are not covering much of your natural nail. Use the “step 1” rough end of a nail buffer to roughen up the surface of the nail. Gently buff each nail lightly until they are no longer shiny. This helps the gel polish stick to the nail and ensures a longer lasting manicure. Do NOT over-buff, as this will cause nails to become weak.  Wash hands and remove any remaining dust with a tissue that has been dipped in rubbing alcohol.

how to apply uv gel base coat gelish how to apply uv gel base coat gelish



Step 2:  Making sure to avoid cuticles* apply a coat of the Gelish Foundation Base Gel to one hand of nails. Be sure to swipe a coat of the Base Gel onto the tip, to seal the top of each nail. Cure under the UV Lamp for 3-5 minutes.  Polish will feel slightly tacky, even after curing under the lamp – this is normal. Lightly sweep over each nail with a tissue that has been dunked in the rubbing alcohol. Allow to dry for a minute. Repeat on the other hand.

*You want to avoid cuticles so that the polish does not lift after a few days of wear. If the base coat or polish ends up covering the cuticle, the polish will lift away when your cuticles begin to grow, ruining your manicure.

how to apply uv gel nail polish at home cheapest long lasting how to apply uv gel nail polish at home cheapest long lasting



Step 3: Apply a coat of the colored polish, again sealing the tip of each nail by extending polish past nail tip, and cure under the UV Lamp for 3-5 minutes.  Lightly sweep over each nail with the alcohol soaked tissue.




uv gel top coat ultra seal by niko clear uv gel top coat ultra seal by niko clear



Step 4: Apply a coat of the Niko Ultra Seal Top Coat, and seal each tip. Cure under UV Lamp for 3-5 minutes. Sweep over each nail with the alcohol soaked tissue.

 That’s it! You now have a manicure set to last for 2 weeks!

My results:

how to do a gel nail polish manicure at home orange copper glitter how to do a gel nail polish manicure at home orange copper glitter



The manicure lasted for 13 full days without chipping. On days 14 and 15, it started to peel a bit around the edges of nails but still looked decent. It’s great to have a manicure that lasts this long without worrying about chipping and touch ups.  



My very first Gel Manicure was done by a salon, using Shellac Polish.  While looking online to purchase Shellac, I found that it costs around $25 per bottle.  Seeking a less expensive option, I found some from Sally Beauty called Gelish, which cost around $15 per bottle. Then, on Ebay I discovered the Gel Polishes fromHong Kongfor only $5. At such a low cost, my expectations were low, but figured I’d give it a try. Much to my amazement, these dirt cheap polishes lasted just as long as my Shellac manicure!  The instructions given above will work for ANY type of UV Gel Nail Polish.



Lessons Learned:

UV lamp for Gel Nail Polish at home UV lamp for Gel Nail Polish at home


1) Invest in a UV lamp with wattage of 30 or 40 Watts. These can be found on Ebay for around $25. My Mistake: I purchased a UV lamp for $20 – but did not pay attention to the wattage. My first lamp only had 14 watts, so it took about 4 times longer for the gel polish to dry than with a higher wattage lamp. I’ve recently purchased a 36 watt lamp and did a test run – the curing process took only about 3 minutes per coat.  


2) Buy 100% Acetone Nail Polish Remover

My Mistake: I bought regular nail polish remover that said “for natural nails”, and was only 60% acetone. This does not effectively dissolve the gel polish. You need the 100% acetone, which is sold at most CVS drugstores or beauty supply stores. To remove gel nail polish, soak a cotton square in the Acetone Polish Remover. Wrap it around your nail, and then wrap a piece of tin foil around the cotton & your finger tip, to hold it in place. Leave on for about 10 minutes and most of the polish should have dissolved. Some stubborn polish may remain, but this can easily be buffed off with the rough end of your nail buffer.


3) Use a Gel Base Coat

On my first attempt at Gel Nail Polish, I usedOrly’s Rubberized Base Coat, because I’d forgotten to order a Gel Base Coat.  It caused the colored Gel Polish to take longer to dry, and the manicure chipped within 6 days. The Gel Base I used above was from my local Sally’s store and cost $18, but you can also find very inexpensive Base Coats on Ebay (I just didn’t want to wait for shipping).



Here is the link to the Ebay site where I purchased the UV Colored Polish: 15ML Glitter Fashion Nail Art Soak off UV Gel Polish by Ebay Seller Ashopone



Other colors offered by this same seller:

soak off gel nail polish ebay soak off gel nail polish ebay cheap





Visit my other blogs on Become Gorgeous!


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