Sunday 18 April 2010

Gel Nails Tutorial

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. Thanks for this! What brand of gel products do you use, and do you buy them at sally's? I asked at mine and they said they would not be carrying at home gel kits for a little while yet. (i'm from canada)

  2. hi, i used ibd in this tutorial but you can use any brand..i shall do a review on different brands if you have a request?
    hope this helps x

  3. How do you deal with heat spike? I tried gel nails and it pissed me off having to do multiple layers. I switched to acryic and apart from the smell, it dosent seem too bad.

  4. what do u mean by heat spike? sorry i dont understand?
    i find the gel easier to work with and more natural looking than arylic - the layers dont take too long to do x

  5. i guess it would be good to know which brands you think are the best? I've never done any sort of gel nail so any advice would be helpful! thanks!

  6. I have the OPI Axxium gel base and then OPI Axxium sculpting gel.
    I would like to know if it is compatible with any gel colours? I recently ordered some great colours from ebay and would like to use them with the m products.
    What do recommend for a curing time for each stage? Should I be using the nail dehydrator (same product used on acrylic nails) with the gel products?

  7. Hi love the tutorial/blog.
    I followed to the letter but when it comes to the final coat, the one you wipe off the tackyness with a finishing wip the whole lot comes off even tho' I have timed the cure accurately.
    Any idea what I am doing thats so wrong please?

  8. Depending on your expertise level, you can determine which course is best for you. Some online nail technician courses only touch basic techniques. I suggest you to select to get the best result.


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