Beauty, DIY

Gel Manicure DIY

Gel Manicure
(This post contains affiliate links. This is no cost to you, and can even save you money! In no way does any affiliate relationship affect my views on the product, my opinions are all mine!)

I am lucky to say that my sister in law is an amazing nail tech. When I lived at home, she was only 2 minutes up the road and I could get my nails done anytime!!

Unfortunately, when I moved, she is now about an hour and a half down the road….so I stopped getting my nails done. I’m the type of person who has to have their nails perfect or I peel off the polish. So I would have to go every other weekend to get them done, which sometimes isn’t feasible. So then I’d pick off the polish! And then they would be ugly…

So I decided to start doing my own nails. I’ve tried some of the “no light” gel polish, but it took too long to dry. I’m entirely too impatient to wait for the polish to dry. I’m spoiled by the LED light drying them in under a minute!

I knew I could buy the supplies on amazon, but I was holding off until I found the right stuff. A few weeks ago I was reading The Small Things Blog, and she posted about a system she bought to do gel nails herself.

It’s called the Gelish complete starter LED polish kit, and mine came with 5 colors. I know that Gelish is a reputable brand,as my sister uses their polish, and the kit had good reviews on Amazon. Gelish Complete Started LED Kit

It seemed a little pricey, but let me break down the cost savings for you:


*Every other week(for 1 year): $30
*Entire year: $780

Gelish Kit

*Every other week (for 1 year): $4.12
*Entire year: $99 (one time fee)

The gel polish runs anywhere from $13 to $40 depending on how many you buy and where you buy them …. I would buy them on Amazon personally, but just double check who you’re buying it from. I will link some below.

Gelish Diva
Gelish Rendezvous
Gelish Elegant
Gelish Bright’s Have More Fun

You can also buy different brands at Sally Beauty.

How to do a gel manicure

So now I’ll get into the fun part! A gel manicure is simple to do, you basically just need to know how to pain your nails, with a few more steps involved.

*When you gel polish your nails, be careful not to get it on your skin around your nail. If you do and then cure it, it will stick to your skin. This creates a problem because pulling it away will pull the polish on your nail as well
*If you do get it on your skin, I use a nail file to file it away.

  1. File, trim and clean nails. I always do this first. And I clip my cuticles too..but I’m no pro. Definitely look how to do this before you attempt it!
  2. Take the nail cleaner and clean off the nails on the first hand you do. I always start with my left. Take the pH bond and paint it on each nail.Gelish Gel Polish
  3. Next take your base coat and paint each nail. Then cure it under the light. Now the light I use has a preset timer. Make sure you’re curing it under the light per the nail polish directions.
    *The amount of time will depend on the light you use. The one with this kit automatically turns off when you’re finished.
    *Another tip, you will only be able to fit 4 nails at a time with this light. So I do left hand, right hand, then my thumbs.

4. Paint your first coat, then cure it with the light. Repeat this step until you get your desired look.

5. Paint your nails with the top coat then cure. This will be tacky, so wipe it off with the blue nail cleaner.

That’s it! And your nails are dry and you’re ready to go! My favorite part about gel nails is how fast they’re dry. I HATE waiting for nail polish to dry! I find that the polish will last two weeks before I need to redo them. For me, this is the same amount of time as going to the salon.

Gelish Gel Polis

So if you’re looking for a great gel kit that has everything you need to get started, I recommend the Gelish complete starter LED polish kit. I’ve used it for a few months now and I’ve never had an issue!

What do you use to achieve a gel manicure at home?

xo, Emily

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37 thoughts on “Gel Manicure DIY

  1. I’m always peeling off my polish, but I also just don’t paint my nails enough. Since I don’t practice, I’m always getting polish all over my skin whenever I do paint them.

    1. Practice makes perfect! I’m having that problem since my sister in law has done my nails so long. I’m having to reteach myself not to get it on my skin!

  2. What a great idea. I would never think to do this myself but what a huge money saver. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Just sat down to do my nails with a no light gel polish when I saw this. No lights really don’t last and sometimes I just can’t afford to go to a professional so having a kit like this would be great 👍It would also make a great birthday or Christmas gift!
    Nicolette |

    1. I agree! I know off the bat the kit is pricey..but you could buy them individually too! This kit just has enough to start you out and for 1 person it will last a while!

  4. I’m the same way with peeling polish! I DIY my gels at home too but with a diff brand. When I’m ready to upgrade I’m absolutely going the Gelish route!

  5. I love doing my own gel nails! I started out with a set from Red Carpet Manicure. I’ve been using a lot of Madam Glam lately. Their bottles are huge and they have some really pretty polishes!

  6. I am actually in the opposite boat right now! haha, the closest place for me to get my nails done was 40 min away so I rarely ever did. Then one opened a minute down the road from me (to my husband’s dismay! haha)…but it is definitely still the pricier option! Way to go on doing it yourself! I am not brave enough haha

  7. This is great! Can I ask what you use to get the polish off? I try and get to the salon as often as I can but sometimes that doesn’t happen and then I have the gel polish stuck on until I can make it. This kit seems awesome though!

    1. I used acetone remover. I put it on a cotton ball and wrap them in tin foil. Wait about ten to fifteen minutes and you can use a wooden scraper to peel it off. It is super easy!

  8. I was actually just thinking about looking to a gel nail polish because I have some issues with my nails cracking and the extra layers of protection/strength from gel polish would be really nice. Plus I’d have nice nails to look at. I’ll have to check into this system!

  9. Such a cool post! I get Gel over my acrylic overlay about ever 3-4 weeks. If I didn’t have weak nails and need the acrylic I would totally do a gel manicure at home.

    1. What I did was file down my acrylic at the salon until it was super thin and then used gel polish. It got me off the acrylic without going cold turkey!

  10. I almost never get my nails done at a salon, but I love how they look and make me feel when they’re done. Your nails look gorgeous! I will definitely be adding this kit to my wishlist!

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