I’ve been getting my nails done for over a year now. Always The same!
Hard Gel overlays, Gel Polish, Nail Art.
Obvi my colors and art have changed but I’ve always had The same routine. Every 3 weeks or so I’d be back in that chair getting my nails done again. About a month ago, when I bought my new car, I decided it was time to trim some fat from the budget. So I started with the “extra” type things in my life and paying $50 + every few weeks to get my nails done was definitely an extra I thought I could live without.
So I took a drive to my local Sally’s and grabbed some polish. I’m totally in love with this color too. Its absolutely fall approved and winter worthy.
I also picked up a bottle of matte top coat from O.P.I and it’s LIFE.
I left one nail without the matte top coat so you could see what it looks like glossy as well.
This is the first time I’ve done my nails myself in a long time so be gentle. I know it’s a mess! 😂 I’m definitely going back to Sally’s because I’m loving this polish and it actually has some decent staying power for an at home polish job.
Soon after I realized how unrealistic it was for me to not be using gel polish, especially since I have my hands in water all day. I mean at least a gel polish top cost for my regular colors. So I went back to Sally’s. I had seen that they were doing a special on the LED gel curing lights so I went to see, and sure enough, I got an amazing deal on this Gelish curing light.
I mean, $19.99 instead of $78.99 is a pretty amazing deal. I did have to go to two different Sally’s to find one, but I found it and am beyond excited to try it all out. I did a little blog searching and found a mama (check it out here, also, I totally loved her blog. Some really good stuff there!) who does all her own nails with the LED/UV lights and found some pretty useful info there. I’m just waiting on my nail prep kit to come from amazon.
The key to making sure your home gel mani looks good for a longer period of time, is you have to prep the nail properly.
I tried to do my nails without the prep and it was a mess. A big ol’ hot mess of gel polish. I mean it lifted in the corners, it came off in big chunks, it was just not pretty. So make sure you’re peeping your nails.
I think cutting the nail appointment out of my budget will be a good thing. It generally costs me waay too much and for a long time I just justifed it but calling it my “me time” – yet half of the time, my daughter would be there with me.. so yeah.. So much for me time.
Let’s get started!
So first things first. When you’re trying to do a professional gel manicure at home, you’ve got to have all the right products. This isn’t as simple as just slapping some gel polish on, using the light and rushing out The door. This takes probably an hour to do. So plan accordingly.
I bought a prep kit from ASP, although when I need more I’ll probably go with gelish products next time. That’s what my nail tech used and from what I’ve read they’re just a higher quality product. But this starter kit was much cheaper and I just wasn’t sure it was going to be something I really stick with.
The kit includes
- Nail cleansing solution
- pH bond
- Base coat
- Top coat
It also comes with a tiny little pink polish so you can really just buy this kit and a light and start polishing.
The nail cleansing solution is a double duty thing. You use it before the pH bond to dehydrate your nails a touch AND after the polish to remove the tacky top part. You’ll also need some cotton rounds for that step.
I would also suggest picking up a good nail file and a nice buffer. You can use the buffer to remove some of the shine from your nails as well.
So once you have it all out and are ready to start, make sure that your nails are clean. Use the dehydrator to remove any oils that could keep your gel from sticking. Now apply a light layer of the pH bond and allow it to air dry.
I promise this is the only air drying you’ll have to do.
Once it’s dry, grab your base coat and get to polishing. I do a few fingers at a time as my light won’t fit my entire hand in it at once. Check with your light for curing time. My specific light cures everything in 45 seconds. So I did my pinky, ring, middle and index together, then did my two thumbs together, and so on.
Once you’ve got your base coat cured and ready, go ahead and apply your color. I did notice when you are working with gel polish, it takes a few coats to get the desired affect. Also, make sure that you’re wiping off the excess polish on the rim so you don’t end up with it all over your cuticle and just generally making a big ol’ mess. It really needs to be a LIGHT layer of polish. Like super light.
Be sure to cure between each coat! Once you’ve gotten the right look, you can remove the tacky layer with the nail dehydrated and you’re all set!
Also, I’ve found that you HAVE to use a top coat. When you apply your top coat he sure to not only cover the whole nail but get that edge of the nail too.
I hope you enjoyed this! Let me know what you guys think
Love you guys
xo Sarah Lindenn
P.S. more to come in our Home Pamper Series!
The nails were just the first step!