Step by Step Guide to Gel Nails at Home

Gel Nails are an easy way to get a chip free manicure for around two weeks (depending what you get up to; drunken nights out don't always finish with all 10 nails intact)
I don't apply false tips as I am happy with the length of my nails. I just apply the gel to achieve a strong, long lasting manicure. If you were to apply tips they would be glued on before the following steps.

Step One
Buff the nails. This takes the shine away from your nails making the surface a bit rougher allowing the gel to stick properly.

Step Two
Push the cuticles back. It's important that the gel doesn't go on the cuticle or on the skin. If it touches it hurts, I've heard it described as a burning sensation. It's never happened to me but because the gel would set on the cuticle or the skin I imagine it would be really sore. Pushing back the cuticle helps to make the application easier but you still have to be careful along the edges of your nails.

Step Three
Apply the gel in a thin layer. Don't add too much gel to the brush, it just needs a thin layer in light strokes. When I'm doing a French manicure I do the pink layer on all 10 nails first.

Step Four
Set the gel under the UV lamp. I normally do it twice which is about 90seconds. When the nail comes out it will still be wet so it's important not to touch it to check if it's cured.

Step Five
Use the cleanser to remove excess gel. The nail should feel slightly harder now and not so sticky and wet.

Step Six
Repeat steps Three to Five again to neaten up the nails. I do this in case the nail isn't smooth or some are thicker than others. This is also important to ensure the colour on each nail is even and the same. During a French manicure I repeat steps Three to Five using the white gel along the tips.

Step Seven
Apply the gel UV top coat and set under lamp. After 90seconds under the lamp wipe each nail with the cleanser. 


*Do not leave the gel container open near the UV lamp. The lamp can set the gel in the container from a distance.

*Don't look straight at the UV light - it's bad for your eyes!

* Remember to clean the brush using the cleanser to remove the gel and so that it doesn't set and harden.

* A UV lamp can be used to dry regular nail polish quicker

This is a picture of my nails after a week. They're all still there but if you look closely you can see how much my nails have grown as the gel has moved away from the ends. I normally fill them in if their all there or remove and start again if some have fallen off.

I got my lamp as a Christmas present so I'm not sure where it's from. However I bought the gel and other accessories from ebay. I think this Rio UV Nails set from Boots would do the job too.


  1. Great tutorial!

    I've never had gels but have had acrylics before when my nails were being rubbish and not growing!

    You have lovely nails by the way :) xx