10 Most Common Mistakes with DIY at Home Gel Manicures

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Want to save money doing your own shellac gel manicure at home? You're not alone. Here are the most common mistakes people do when performing their own mani's and the simple solutions to give your nails the salon look and feel!

1. Getting lotion or cuticle oil on nails before you polish them. Any nail polish, including gel (or shellac) does not adhere well to oily nail beds and will cause premature “lifting” and peeling of the polish. Before applying gel polish layers, make sure your nail beds have been buffed and wiped completely clean of any oils and dust using a nail cleansing wipe (or alcohol soaked lint-free wipe). Moisturize AFTER your nails are complete, not before.

2. Getting gel product on your skin or cuticles (and curing it). This will cause the product to peel. Make sure you completely wipe away any excess gel polish from skin and cuticles BEFORE curing (with each layer you paint on).

3. Applying each polish layer too thick. This will cause the gel polish to not cure properly. Each layer must be applied very thin (almost transparent) so the LED or UV lamp light can penetrate and cure the nail evenly. (NOTE: Darker colors usually require longer curing time than lighter, more transparent colors).

4. Not capping the free nail edge. Capping the nail with each polish layer you paint on provides a protective seal around the tip and sides of the nail where chipping and peeling usually starts off. While painting each nail, be sure to lightly brush the very top and side edges of the nail with the gel polish and then cure.

5. Picking and peeling gel polish. CND Shellac, Gelish, DIY Hard Nails gel polish, etc. are all “soak off gel” product that requires the polish to be “soaked off” with 100% acetone, using proper removal technique. Picking at the gel can ruin your nails. BUT, if you only have a small chip…don't pick it, patch it (buff area smooth, polish, cure, add top coat…. then you are good to go!).

6. Not using a gel Base Coat or Top Coat. Base coat protects your nails from absorbing dark colors, helps polish adhere properly, and creates a surface that allows the polish to go on evenly. Top coat protects your beautiful polished nails and provides the long lasting shine. Both coats are essential to help make your manicure last 2 weeks.

7. Not using lint-free products to wipe nails. Wiping your nails with q-tips, cotton balls, or paper towels will leave behind tiny pieces of lint that stick and may end up being cured to your polished nails. Always use lint-free pads, wipes, makeup sponge, or nail brush to clean up your nails. Save yourself the headache!

8. Not wiping sticky tacky layer off gel polish Top Coat. Once your mani/pedi is complete, be sure to wipe off the sticky tacky layer with a nail cleansing wipe (aka rubbing alcohol soaked lint-free wipe) or else your sticky nails will attract every piece of hair and lint they come across….very annoying.

9. Not allowing regular nail polish to dry completely when used with gel. Yes, you can wear your favorite regular nail polish with gel to make your regular polish last longer than ever before! BUT, the process takes much longer because the regular nail polish must be COMPLETELY DRY before adding any top gel coats. Without proper drying time, your nail polish may be left blotchy and uneven. Not cute.

10. Not following proper application and removal technique. This will shorten the wear time of your gel polish and could potentially damage your nails. Follow every step in the instructions for optimal results. Be patient and practice, practice, practice to keep your nails healthy, strong, long, and beautiful!

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