Sunday, 4 October 2009

DIY Simple U.V Gel Overlay Nails at home Series! French Manicure Gel Nails

hello ladies!
I have been getting alot of requests on how to create UV Gel and Acrylic Nail extensions at home, so i thought i would do a series of blogs and step by step guides with photographs to help you create your own Nail extensions. UV Gel Nails can cost anything from £25-60 in salons so im going to show you how to do them much cheaper at home! I’m going to show you how to create your own UV Gel nails at home. I thought we would start with the easiest U.V Gel Nails to start with and these are U.V Gel Overlays on top of your natural nails which are like having permanent nail varnish applied to your nails that wont chip! I have created a French Manicure look here, but you can also use coloured gel (which i shall do another blog post about), nail art or simply clear over the top of your natural nails. You can of course use acrylic but Gel looks the best as creates a smoother, thinner and shiny end result. I shall be uploading a blog on how to remove your UV Gel without damaging your natural nails.

For this look (UV Gel Overlay French Manicure) you will need the following:

A small Towel to protect your table
A sheet of Couch Roll or you can use kitchen paper
A UV Gel Lamp (I use a 36W with 180 sec timer) to cure your nails
Non-Acetone Nail Varnish Remover
Hand Sanisizer
Cuticle Remover (I use a creamy one)
2 Orange Sticks
Nail Buffer
Lint free Paper wipes
Gel Wipe Off Solution
Clear Gel
Pink Gel
White Gel
Gel Brush
4 Way Nail Buffer
Nail Dehydration (PH balanced)
Cotton Wool Pads
Cotton Buds
Nail Files

Step one:
Lay out your towel, with couch roll over the top and get all your products and tools set out ready. I like to place a place mat underneath the Gel Lamp just to protect my table.
Step Two: Sanitize your hands and nails. Remove any nail varnish using the non-acetone nail varnish remover with cotton wool pads. I always wipe the nails with nail varnish remover before starting as this acts as a good base to dry the nails out of any moisture.
Step Three:

Take a cotton bud and apply a small amount of cuticle remover and wipe with a rolling action around the cuticle area of each nail. Then take an orange stick and gently push back the cuticle. If necessary you can cut away the excess cuticle you have pushed back with either cuticle nippers or a cuticle knife.
Step Four:
Once the cuticles have been pushed back you can then buff the nail using the nail buffer to remove moisture in the nail and prepare it for the Gel to adhere to. After buffing you can then rough grit around the cuticle area using the nail file.
Step Five:
Brush on some PH balanced nail dehydration solution onto each nail. Your nails are now prepared for applying UV Gel onto them. You should wipe your Gel Brush using the Gel Wipe solution and a lint free wipe to remove any dust and to clean your brush. I wrap my brush in tin foil when not in use – as it is important to store your UV Gel and brushes in a cool dark place and not to let your brushes or gel get in contact with direct sunlight or your Gel Lamp. It is important to look after them well as they can be expensive to buy and any contact with sunlight can cause your brushes and gel to become solid and damaged.

Step Six:

Start with the Clear gel, and apply a small amount onto the Gel Brush, wiping off the excess. Carefully apply the Gel to the nail starting at the cuticle, you want to get as close as possible to the cuticle but leave a tiny gap in-between the cuticle and where you’re applying the gel. If you flood the cuticle area, this will just create a lift once the nail has cured. At this stage if you have dropped some gel onto your skin or made a mistake you can wipe off with the gel wipe and start again. Practise makes perfect with this –you are aiming to get no air bubbles when you have cured the nails and wanting to create a smooth even finish. The trickiest part is around the cuticle area.
Once you have perfected the nail with the clear gel be careful not to smudge and place hands underneath the Gel Lamp and cure for 180 seconds. (Curing Times vary to which brand of lamp you use and also which gel you use so you should always go with what the manufacturer recommends – or a bit of trial and error – you can over cure and under cure nails) It is best to buy a lamp with a timer so you don’t over cure the nail and end up with lumps or air bubbles.

Step Seven:

Once the clear base coat is cured, apply the second coat of gel using the white gel. Carefully paint on the white gel only on the smile line like you are doing the white part on a French manicure. You can correct mistakes using the end of an orange stick to make the line really smooth and perfectly formed. Once your happy with your smile line, cure under the gel lamp for 180 seconds. If your brush gets a bit sticky or too clogged up you can clean it by using the gel wipe on a lint paper - make sure you dont use acetone to clean as you shall ruin your brushes!

Step Eight:

After you have cured the white smile line, next take the pink gel and apply over the whole nail but leaving a small gap around the cuticle area. Cure under the gel lamp for 180 seconds.
Step Nine:

Once you have cured the pink gel, take a small amount of gel wipe solution on a lint-free wipe and wipe over the nail to remove the sticky layer of gel. File the nail to the shape you wish and buff to smooth down the nail. Be careful not to file too much as the gel will weaken and break off.

Step Ten:

One you have filed and buffed the nail apply the top clear coat of gel and cure for 180 seconds. Once cured take a small amount of gel wipe solution on a lint-free wipe and wipe over the nail to remove the sticky layer of gel. This whole 10 set process should take between 45 minutes to an hour to create a full set of UV Gel French Manicure Overlays.

Hope this blog was useful - please feel free to comment below if you have any questions :)



  1. Can I ask what nail gel you used? I know Bio Sculpture won't sell it to non-technicians. Thanks xo

  2. Thank you so much for all the explanations and pictures. The only thing I am not clear about is if you are removing that sticky layer of gel after you put the first layer and before the french white gel? And how about after the white gel? If you do - do you need to buff the layer before the next coat?

  3. I do my own nails. I find that it is easier to file your nails first in order to shape them. I also apply the white layer first, I have never tried doing a clear layer first but will be sure to try it.

    Anonymous- you only remove the tacky layer at the end... if you remove it before that the gel will not adhere to the previous layer with any amount of curing.

  4. do you have to use the UV light. i got the kit for my birthday and am eager to use it however i donot have a UV light

  5. Thank you for taking the time to post such descriptive steps along with illustrations. How do you remove the gel overlay and how do you perform bi-weekly touch-ups?

    Warm Regards,

  6. Thanks for posting this - I'd love to give it a go!

  7. I do alot of nails at home as I am trained beauty therapist and nail technician. I find it best to apply a gel base coat, this allows gel to properly bond to the nail, this cures for 1 min, then apply a coat of white gel before applying pink or clear gel.

  8. thank you for this info it is very informative i would like to know once i have applied the first clear coat and cured it can i use nail guides to apply the white fench edge or will this damage the first clear coat also i would like to know if i can do a deep nourishing treatment first or will this cause the gel french to peel and lift
    thankyou look forward to your answers

  9. Hello pls could someone advise how to keep the gel base glued as mine lifts. Thanks

  10. I actually remove the sticky residue after i cure the nail everytime adn it doesn't lift or seperate and my nails look fantastic!

  11. Hi, can I just ask how you stop the gel from shrinking. I've been doing my own for some time but find that it shrinks a bit and also doesn't adhere to the tips of my nails too well. Is it because I'm not using a dehydrator? Many thenks

  12. I have just started doing my own gel nails at home, but am finding it keeps lifting off the next day. Is it best to use a gel base coat as I have just been using a normal nail base coat? Many thanks

  13. yes you have to use a UV Gel Base Coat! That's why it will be lifting if you are using normal nail polish!

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. Postingannya tentang UV Gel bagus... sukses selalu

  16. I tried to do my gel nails yesterday and I followed the instructions provided. However, they chipped within hours. I was able to peel the gel off like you would with a nailpolish. What can be the explanation for that?

  17. Did you apply the gel too thick? Did you apply the gel too close to the cuticle as it can lift? did you dehydrate the nail before you applied the gel?

  18. How would you suggest perfecting the right hand when you are right handed? That is one of my biggest difficulties in doing my own nails.

    1. Practise, practise and more practise!!! Thats the only thing you can do really!! not much help but it gets soo much easier :)

  19. Hello Perfectly Polished,
    Thank you for your informative blog/advice.
    I have done my first set today, but obvioussly need some practise. If some of the nails are bumpy/uneven, can I buff them smooth and put another clear layer ontop?

    Much Thanks

  20. Hi all,
    After getting my nails done at a salon for years, I bought all the stuff to do gel nails.
    I use Aspire gel from Sally's and Idb from Sally's also. The Aspire is peeling off my nails even if I use a dehydrator. Any suggestions?
    What is the best quality nail gel to buy?

  21. This is very useful article. I would like to add it to the blogs on my store as knowledge base about UV Gel Lamp to my customers.

  22. Hi, Is it possible to apply uv base coat gel, then your own nail varnish, then top coat gel? Thanks!

  23. Hi, I have tried to apply UV gel extensions twice now, and each time i do, the following day after applying the extensions, the UV gel seems to chip at the free edge (false tip) and then starts to chip all over the nail, resulting in the whole layer of gel coming off, leaving me with just weekend nails (just white tips). What am i doing wrong?? i don't flood the cuticle area and do everything im supposed to do, following the step by step guide. Can anyone please help explain why the uv gel is chipping??? I would really appreciate it! Thanks :)

  24. Hi if the gel is chipping are you remembering to cap the free edge? if not it will lift and chip easily, also with the false tips, be sure to buff away the shine first. Hope this helps. Also for the person who had a bumpy finish it is fine to buff then add a top coat just be sure not to file too much x

  25. Thank you for the helpful post. I love gel nails. Currently I use Runway professional gel nail polish. :)


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