How To Give Yourself A Gel Manicure At Home

Tired of spending $40-$50 every time you go to nail salon? Is your salon closed due to the current pandemic? Last summer I was looking at my bank statement when I realized how much of my money was going towards my nails; I was SHOCKED to say the least. After much debate on whether I should keep going to the salon, I figured it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to try doing my own gel nails at home. I had been to the salon so many times I had memorized all the steps. If I messed up I could just try again. Today I am going to show you how to give yourself a manicure with gel polish at home! I have included a list of all the items you need as well ask pictures and links to all the products that have worked for me!

Gather your materials, pop on a good movie on Netflix and let’s get started!

What you need to build your own kit at home

  • UV light
  • cuticle oil
  • cuticle pusher
  • cuticle trimmer
  • nail clippers
  • buffing block
  • nail file
  • emery board
  • nail surface cleanser
  • acetone
  • ph bond
  • gel base
  • gel top coat
  • gel polish (color)
  • cuticle butter
  • hand towels
  • bowl with water and soap

Most of the stuff in my kit I bought online from Amazon or Ulta just because it was more convenient and there are more options. The pH bond and base/top coats are also cheaper to get from Amazon, but you can definitely find these at your local beauty supply store. I tried buying a top coat at Sally’s and they were charging $25!! NO THANK YOU! I do, however, like to buy my colored gel polishes from there. Sally’s is always having great buy one get one deals and you can often find gel polishes in their clearance section for around $4-$5! I also recommend going there if you want to see the colors in person, sometimes ordering online can be deceiving.

Step 1: Prep Your Nails



If you are starting with clean nails skip this step.

Remove any nail polish that you have on your nails, whether it be regular or gel. I have found that pure acetone removes gel polish the best. If you have gel polish on, soak your nails in acetone and cover bowl with a paper towel. I’ve tried doing the foil method but it never works for me. The gel should start lifting and you can scrape it off with a cuticle pusher or you can start filing it off. You could also just peel them off in the shower but be warned that this method might damage your nails.


Next, lay a towel down and fill a bowl with hand soap and water. Soak your nails in there for about two minutes or so. This will soften up your nails and make it easier to clean up your cuticles.

Step 2: Cut and Shape Nails


Nail Clippers, Cuticle Pusher, Cuticle Cutter

Once your nails are ready to go start pushing the cuticles back with a cuticle pusher tool. Then use the cuticle cutter to cut away any excess or unwanted cuticle skin. Use the nail clipper to cut your nails if needed



Manicure Block, Nail file, Emery Board

Use the manicure block to buff out the tops of your nails; use all four sides. Follow with shaping them with either a nail file or emery board.


Cuticle Oil

Lastly, massage some oil onto your nails and cuticles. Wash your hands with soap and water to take off any dust that might have gathered from filing your nails. Your hands will feel so soft after!

Step 3: Paint

Now that your nails are prepped and shaped, it’s time to start the fun!

UV Light (the one I have is out of stock, linked a similar one), pH Bond, Base/Top Coat, Nail Color Brands: Gel len, ASP, Gelish

Plug in your UV light and have it ready to go.

Coat your nails with pH bond. This will remove all moisture from your nails.

Put on your base coat and place your hand under the UV light until it turns off. Repeat with other hand. I recommend using the Gel Len brand that I have listed above for your base and top coats. Gelish is a great brand to use for your base and top coats, just a little pricier. ASP has great colors but their base/top coats do not work! They make your polish peel off that same day; at least in my experience.

Next your going to want to choose your color. You’re going to want to do a very light and thin coat for your first layer of color and put it under the light. Afterwards, add your second layer a little thicker. I usually do two coats, but if a color is no as opaque, I will do three coats.

Add your top coat and viola! You did it!



Nail Surface Cleanse

If you’re nails don’t seem as shiny when they’re done, they might have a sticky film on them from the top coat. Soak a cotton ball with this surface cleanse and rub on your nails.


Cuticle Butter

I like to use cuticle butter on my nails to soothe them after they’ve been under the light for a long time. I also use it before bed every night to avoid my skin from cracking.

Can you use regular polish?

A common question I get is if you can use regular polish with a UV light. Yes and no. You cannot use regular polish and expect it to dry under the lamp. However, you can mix regular polish with some top coat and then use that mixture to paint your nails. I found a product on amazon that converts regular polishes to gel which I will link here!

I hope this guide answered any questions you might have had on how to go about doing your own nails at home! If you have any other questions feel free to comment below or send me a message on Instagram!

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