This post may contain affiliate links. Mommies with Cents receives free products for review purposes and may sometimes be compensated for posts but all opinions expressed are 100% my own. See Mommies With Cents disclosure policy for more details.
You’ve probably heard of shellac or gel manicures at professional salons that last up to a month without chipping. Did you know you can get the same results at home? It’s true and it’s not hard either! I’ve got some tips to not only teach you how to give yourself a great, long lasting manicure at home but to save money too! While you’ll obviously be saving quite a bit by doing the work yourself, I also have some corner cutting tips to save you even more! There are a few essentials you’ll need to get started:
- UV Curing Lamp — This is your biggest investment however it only costs about as much as one salon manicure. Just think of all the money you’ll save by doing it yourself! I like the Red Carpet Manicure Pro Light 45 which is about $40. There are slightly cheaper lights (I’ve seen one as low as $25) and of course more expensive ones but they all do the same thing.
- Gel Polish Top Coat — Any clear gel top coat will work. I like the Bio Seaweed brand because it doesn’t have a tacky layer to remove (more on that later).
- Orangewood Stick — the wood ones are really expensive but I suggest getting a metal one. It will come in handy when removing the polish.
- Nail File — Any nail file you like for shaping your nails
- Your favorite nail polish — ANY type! Don’t spend extra on gel polish unless you aren’t able to wait for polish to dry.
- Base coat — You can skip this if you’d like but if you are using dark colors it will save your natural nails from getting stained or turning yellow.
- Cotton Balls
- Rubbing Alcohol
STEP ONE: Gently push your cuticles back with your orangewood stick. Sometimes it’s easier if you wash your hands first in warm water to soften them a little and/or use a lotion or cuticle remover. I like to trim any excess with a cuticle nipper to keep them neat.
STEP TWO: If you used lotion or cuticle remover, wash to remove residue. Then, soak a cotton ball in alcohol and swipe your nail beds to remove any oil. You should do this whether or not you use any products prior because nails are naturally oily and you want them as clean as possible so your polish will adhere. (Picture shows Red Carpet Manicure’s Purify which is basically the same thing as alcohol)
STEP THREE: Paint on a clear base coat. Follow with your favorite nail polish color. Allow to dry between coats.
STEP FOUR: When your nails are fully dry, carefully paint on your clear gel topcoat taking care not to get any on your cuticles. Make sure to paint to the very tip then over the tip to the underneath to fully seal your nail.
STEP FIVE: Cure the top coat under the lamp for the recommended time, usually 2 minutes or less.
STEP SIX: Unless you used the Bio Seaweed brand of top coat there will be a tacky layer on top of your nails. Use a cotton ball soaked in alcohol to remove this by swiping across the polish. This will seem a little weird at first but your nails will be fully dry —you can even apply pressure!
That’s it! This manicure should last a week or more without chipping!
If I don’t do the gel top coat my polish always chips within a day. With the gel top coat I can easily go a week or more with no chipping at all! I go about my day as I normally would, washing dishes, cleaning the house etc. and the manicure holds up! I was super excited when I figured out that I didn’t need to use gel exclusively and that I could use the colored polishes I already have with just the gel top coat and get the same results. This saves a TON of money since gel polish can be on the pricier side and I like to have lots of color options.
The only thing I don’t enjoy about gel is that it is harder to remove. I’ll be doing a tutorial on the best way to remove it soon so be sure to check back! Go Seahawks!