How to Create a Gel Manicure at Home ...

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Do you love the look of a fresh shellac or gel manicure but don't love the price of a salon visit? You're definitely not alone! I think most women can agree that the upkeep to stay on-trend- be it haircuts & color, makeup, or clothes and accessories- can be expensive even if it's totally worth it! To save money on your nails and still have the look you desire, keep reading! While these steps seem easy to follow, it's all in the precise details and each step is there to ensure a long-lasting, chip-free gorgeous manicure!

1. Invest in an LED Lamp

The first thing you must do is invest in an LED lamp. Don't believe the hype that says you can get a gel manicure without a UV light- it simply will not last long or stay shiny and chip-free. These lamps usually come in a starter kit and are not too expensive. The cost pays for itself within two uses!

2. Prep Your Nails

You can't just plop on color, cure it, and expect it to last. You must take the time to prep your nails! You need to push back cuticles, trim and shape your nails, and MOST importantly you have to lightly "rough up" your nail bed with an emery board in order for the base coat to bond with your nail.

3. Use Rubbing Alcohol

After you prep your nails, rinse your hands but don't use soap. Then treat them with rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball. I'm not sure why, but this creates a stronger bond when you apply you base coat! It's tried-and-true for me at least.

4. Apply a THIN Base Coat (don't Neglect the Tips!)

You don't want your polish to peel in two days so remember to keep the coats as thin and even as possible. Start with your base coat and apply a thin layer, including a horizontal swipe along the edges and tips of your nails. This creates a seal so they won't chip and peel. Remove any extra on your skin and cure for 30 seconds to one minute.

5. Apply 2-3 THIN Layers of Color

Depending on the consistency of your polish, you may need to do 2 or 3 coats but no more. Start with one thin and even coat including the tips, remove any on your skin and then cure for 30-60 seconds. Apply the second and third coat following the same steps.

6. Apply the Top Coat

Once you have the desired color consistency, apply your top coat. Remove any extra on the skin and once again, don't forget to seal the tips! I usually cure the top coat longer, so 60-90 seconds under the lamp.

7. Finish with Rubbing Alcohol and Hand Lotion!

This last step many ladies forget and wonder why their manicure is sticky and doesn't dry! That's because you need to treat it with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. This completely dries the nail and makes it shiny! Finish off with moisturizing lotion because all these steps can be a little drying.

There you have it! All the steps you need for an at-home gel manicure. While it's a bit more time consuming compared to regular polish, the pay off is totally worth it. It dries immediately and seriously lasts 3 weeks with zero chipping and mega shine! Have you ladies experienced a salon-qualify manicure at home?