DIY Gel Nail Tips
Gel nails. Let’s talk about it. MY nails are horrible. I’m just going to come out and say that. They are short. They break all the time. They get flakey. They break apart if I look at them wrong. It was so bad that two years ago, I went to get tested for a vitamin or protein deficiency. Spoiler: they found nothing, and my nails still suck.I would keep them painted almost constantly to cover up how sad and weak they were, but normal polish only lasts two days. Seriously.
This is when I got really serious about trying out acrylic nails. I know that they make your nails soft, but my nails were already super soft, so whatever, right? I started seeing my nail girl and she told me not to do that. Instead we went for gel shellac, and my life was changed, kind of. I don’t have to baby my nails anymore, and they will stay painted for a solid three weeks. Prayers answered, right?
Well, kind of. It was getting expensive. $30 (+ tip) every three weeks isn’t really working for me, especially as we’re looking to increase our savings. I mean, we’re talking $600 a year, actually. So nope.
I started doing my own nails at home, and there are some things I wish someone had told me before I started doing it, so let’s talk about those now.
They still don’t last as long as when I get them done at the salon.
Although my nail tech can get my nails to last for three weeks, I have been getting right around two from my at-home manicures. I’m still experimenting with this, but I haven’t gotten “salon results” yet.
Lamp wattage counts.
Not all UV or LED curing lamps are equal! The different wattage greatly effects curing time. Some can cure a layer of polish in a little as 30 seconds, or as long as three minutes. This is something I didn’t think of, but it makes sense to me now. The lamp that I bought takes 90 seconds to cure, which I’m fine with.
Startup costs aren’t too high, but something to think about.
I spent around $70 on things to do my gel nails. This included a nail dehydrator, files, base coat, top coat, alcohol, acetone, removal foils, and nail polish. This is about 2 professional manicures worth of money, so I told myself that I needed to put off giving up and going back to my nail tech for at least three months for it to be worth my while.
Cuticle oil. Do it.
This is one step that I never skip now. I think because the frequency of my manicures has gone up, they’re dryer, so I’ve had to moisturize a lot more.
It will take some trial and error.
The first round sucked. I didn’t cure for long enough, and they weren’t quite right. Take them off and try again! Repeat, until they look good. Also, I had a ton of problems trying to just buy colors. The colors are the bottle are not the colors that they look like. A glittery royal blue, called Blue Ocean turned out to be just a blue glitter topcoat. It was not opaque at all. This happened to me twice. Not super impressed, if I’m being honest.
I have been really liking doing my nails myself, and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. I’m not swearing off the professional manicure, but I’d like to cut it down to a special occasion treat. This is letting me do that, while still getting all the benefits!
Do you do your nails at home, or are you hitting the salon?