June 28, 2014

A Perfect Gel Manicure at Home!

Welcome to the final post of my three part series on The Perfect Manicure At Home!

DIY Shellac/Gel Nail Polish Manicure

I tried to Shellac/Gel my own nails and it was quite a challenge to be honest. But I think I'll get the hang of it after a few times. My friend helped me by taking pictures as I attempted the application my first time... Problem was, I forgot a few steps! Goodness Gracious! It didn't turn out perfect but I was impressed with the shine and lustre of the polish!

After a few days the imperfections were bothering me. And because I forgot to cap my nails for each layer of polish it started to chip on one finger. So I removed the gel polish and tried again. The pink "Gotcha" is the updated colour and the purple "Grape Gum" was the original attempt. I believe this is something I could get used to. Commit to the full two hours of prep, polish, cure- and you're ready to go! I can't think of any cons for this idea. Except, maybe, if you're not serious about it, then you probably won't be happy. It takes time to learn your own technique... That being said, it's much more efficient than the traditional stuff. With regular nail polish, you can let it dry for an hour and still end up with smudges..? This is NOT the case with gel polish!

For a full tutorial on how to DIY Shellac/Gel your nails, go to Lulu and Sweet Pea and check out Melissa's awesome step by step perfection! She covers technique and professional tips! :)

I found most of my equipment on eBay, Amazon. And so many amazing colours at Nail Polish Canada!

Here's my run down...

1. Apply sunblock with a high SPF about 20 minutes before you use the UV light. Use Quench Nail & Cuticle Oil and Easy Peasy Hand & Nail Salve for a luxurious manicure. Push back & trim cuticles. Trim & file nails to desired length.

2. Wash Hands with warm soap and water.

3. Buff and file nails again, focussing on the cuticle area. Be sure to smooth away dry skin. File nail beds lightly to create a scratchy surface for better product adhesion.

4. Use an alcohol or nail cleanser soaked lint free wipe to remove dust from nails.

5. Apply a primer. This is to prepare nail surface for any liquid or gel polish. This kind of product also enhances adhesion.

6. Apply base coat. Be sure to Cap/Seal the nails first. Then paint the entire nail area. Cure for 2 minutes... Wipe nails with an alcohol or nail cleanser soaked lint free wipe. ( Melissa from Lulu & Sweet Pea says to use a dry wipe- however, I found with the Gelish brand that the dry wipe left a residue and I had to go over it again with a soaked one. I encourage you not to skip this step. It gives you a smooth surface to work on rather than a tacky layer.)

7. Apply colour coat. Be sure to Cap/Seal the nails first. Then paint the entire nail area. Cure for 2 minutes...
8. Apply one or two more colour coats. Be sure to Cap/Seal the nails before each layer. Then paint the entire nail area. Cure 2 minutes for each layer... (Tip: do three layers for good measure)

9. Apply top coat. Be sure to Cap/Seal the nails first. Then paint entire nail area. Cure for 3-5 minutes... (Tip: I like to go for five whole minutes this last round. I found that 2-3 minutes didn't quite cure the gel polish enough)

10. Use an alcohol or nail cleanser soaked lint free wipe to remove the tacky layer...

11. Wash hands with warm soap and water. Apply Quench Nail & Cuticle Oil and rub in...

Remember to CAP those nails or you will have early wear and chipping. For a great tutorial on how to CAP aka SEAL the nail's free edge, go to Manic Talons post on nail advice which includes pictures and a clear explanation of what exactly capping the nail means.

I personally didn't learn this step when I took cosmetology in high school. But it's a good trick to know for any kind of manicure. Since I forgot to CAP my nails for the base and first colour coat... my first gel manicure didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. Fast forward four attempts and it's working out better.

Grape Gum by CND

Here's a picture of one of the flaws from my first try. It went on wonky for this thumb so when I did the final wipe a streak of gel polish came off too. There were also bubbles caught in the gel and early chipping since I forgot to Cap the nails for each layer...

And, here's a picture of my second try! Nearly flawless! It's just gonna take a little more practise for me to get my technique and flow in order. :)
Gotcha! by CND

So that's it! I have yet to see if it lasts two weeks like all the hype. I am obsessed with trimming my cuticles so after a week I remove the gels and start fresh. My nails are seeming stronger and growing long.

I know you want to try it out. Go ahead. Give yourself some love and do a home mani! Your hands with look gorgeous! Have fun!

I hope you enjoyed this series. It was definitely time well spent for me... :)



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