Tutorials

HOW TO APPLY POLY GEL

HOW TO APPLY POLY GEL

POLY GEL APPLICATION

Poly Gel is basically inbetween a gel polish manicure and acrylic nails. Poly Gel is a lot harder than gel polish, but more flexible than acrylic. This makes Poly Gel the perfect nail solution for instant length and colour in 1 easy step… well maybe a few steps, but still very easy to accomplish at home.

ITEMS THAT YOU WILL NEED:
  • Nail prep tools (nail file, buff, cuticle pusher/clipper and primer)
  • UV Base Coat
  • Poly Gel (in your chosen color)
  • Dual nail forms (reusable full nail tips)
  • Nail clip (to hold the nail form in place)
  • Slip Solution (or rubbing alcohol if you don’t have)
  • Poly Gel brush
  • Small spatula (or flat end of a stainless steel cuticle pusher can be used)
  • UV Top Coat
  • UV Nail Lamp
STEPS TO APPLY POLY GEL:
  • Get the required products ready around you on your table, and then select the correct size of dual nail forms for all 10 of your nails. The dual nail form should be a bit larger on the sides of the nails than the actual nail. This will prevent any open space being created once the gel has hardened.
  • Prep and prime you nails as you would before any gel polish application, except this time you want to keep you nails short as you’ll be extending their length using the poly gel.
  • Before you begin, be sure your nails are completely dry of primer and all filing dust has been brushed away.
  • Apply a clear gel base coat and cure under your lamp for the usual time required.
  • Use your spatula and put small amount of polygel onto the dual form.
  • Dip the brush into the slip solution, then dab your brush onto a cloth or paper towel before forming the gel on the dual form. When forming the gel onto the dual form, be careful to spread it evenly and neatly. If you are adding quite a bit of length, it would be advised to keep the gel a bit thicker in the middle than near the cuticle or sides. This will give the longer nail more strength, and also look most natural in shape.
  • Cure under your lamp – you might find it easier to finish one nail and cure it before continuing to the next one.
  • Once the poly gel has cured, you can gently remove the dual form, file down the edges and shape your nail.
  • You can now apply art, another colour or just a gel top coat, and cure to finish.

Purchase Poly Gel products here

Poly Gel Starter Kit
HOW TO DO CHROME NAILS

HOW TO DO CHROME NAILS

CHROME MIRROR NAILS WITH UV GEL

If you’ve ever thought of trying out chrome nails, but thought it was too difficult… Think again, here is an easy to follow step-by-step guide on how to create the mirror chrome look at home using normal UV gel polish.

ITEMS THAT YOU WILL NEED:
  • Nail prep tools (nail file, buff, cuticle pusher/clipper and primer)
  • UV Gel Base Coat
  • Black (or other very dark) UV Gel Polish
  • Chrome Powder
  • Eyeshadow applicator (new or cleaned and dry)
  • UV Gel Top Coat (must be a non-wipe top coat)
  • UV Nail Lamp
  • Fan brush (or similar soft make up brush)
STEPS TO DO CHROME NAILS:
  • Prep the nail as usual for applying a gel polish manicure.
  • Apply the gel base coat and cure as normal (time as indicated for your strength of lamp).
  • Apply the gel polish color, curing in-between each coat as normal (for a dark color, thin coats and a slightly longer curing time is suggested – dark colors can take a bit longer to cure that light colors).
  • Apply the gel top coat, but cure for the minimal time only (slightly less than usual time, the top coat should still be slightly stick to the touch).
  • Now it’s time to do the chrome powder application.
  • Dip the one side of the applicator into the chrome powder and rub it onto the nail. Make sure you use generous amount of powder to coat the full nail.
  • Once you have covered the full nail evenly with the chrome powder, turn over the applicator and use the clean side to buff/polish the nail. Buffing with the applicator will give the nail an even shiny look.
  • Wipe away any excess powder from cuticle area with a fan brush (or something similar).
  • End with a layer of gel top coat and cure for the normal time.
  • Your are now finished and should have smooth, shiny chrome looking nails.

Why isn’t the chrome powder sticking to my nails?

You may have over cured your top coat before applying the chrome powder, cure it for less next time. Before applying the chrome powder it is recommended to cure your non-wipe top coat the lowest number (shortest time) that your lamp has, usually around 20-30 seconds on average.

Can I use a lighter color if I don’t have black or a dark color gel?

You will need to use either black (or a very dark colour) to show off the chrome’s shade and effect the best. Lighter colors can be used if you are using holographic or mermaid powder, using the same application method as for chrome powder.

Purchase your chrome nail powder here

HOW TO APPLY FOILS

HOW TO APPLY FOILS

FOIL NAILS WITH UV GEL

Using nail foils is the easiest way to create stunning and detailed nail art without any artist skills. There are so many different patterns and styles available, it’s easy to find a few that suit your style!

ITEMS THAT YOU WILL NEED:
  • Nail prep tools (nail file, buff, cuticle pusher/clipper and primer)
  • UV Base Coat
  • UV Gel Polish (any color that complements your chosen foils)
  • Gel Residue Wipe Off Solution (or a non-acetone nail polish remover)
  • Lint-free nail wipes
  • Sticky / Transfer Foil Gel
  • Nail Foil in your chosen pattern
  • UV Top Coat
  • UV Nail Lamp
STEPS TO APPLY NAIL FOILS:
  • Prep the nail as usual for applying a gel polish manicure.
  • Apply the base coat and cure as normal (time as indicated for your strength of lamp).
  • Apply 1 coat of gel polish (in any color complementing your chosen nail foil) and cure for the normal time.
  • After curing, the colour will be a bit sticky to the touch.
  • Wipe off the sticky gel layer using lint-free nail wipes soaked in gel residue wipe off solution. If you do not have gel residue wipe off solution, you can use an non-acetone nail polish remover instead.
  • Now apply the Sticky Gel / Transfer Gel and cure under your lamp for the usual time.
  • Before continuing, allow nail to cool down for at least 30 seconds after curing
  • Place the foil (silver/shiny side down) onto the cured and cooled sticky gel, pressing down firmly to make sure the foil comes into contact with the entire nail surface. Using a hoofstick can be handy for this step, as it will reach the edges of the nail right up to the cuticle.
  • Once you are satisfied that the foil has made contact with the whole surface you want covered by foil, gently peel the foil off from the nail. The transfer layer will stick onto gel surface if all has been done correctly.
  • Apply a single layer of base coat and cure (if you miss this step, your top coat will start peeling off after a day or 2)
  • Seal with top coat and cure.

Purchase Nail Foils and Foil Sticky Gel here

GLITTER ON GEL NAILS

GLITTER ON GEL NAILS

GLITTER NAILS WITH UV GEL

If you don’t have a bottle of glittered gel, you can still have glitter nails using loose glitter. There are a few different ways to apply loose nail glitter during a gel manicure. Here are 2 of the most popular (and easiest) ways to do it.

ITEMS THAT YOU WILL NEED:
  • Nail prep tools (nail file, buff, cuticle pusher/clipper and primer)
  • UV Base Coat
  • UV Gel Polish (any color that complements your chosen glitter)
  • Loose Glitter
  • Firm flat gel brush (or similar firm make up brush)
  • Fan brush (or similar soft make up brush)
  • UV Top Coat
  • UV Nail Lamp
STEPS TO APPLY LOOSE GLITTER:

DIP (OR SPRINKLE) METHOD

Fine glitter needs to be used for this application method

  • Prep the nail as usual for applying a gel polish manicure.
  • Apply the base coat and cure as normal (time as indicated for your strength of lamp).
  • Apply two coats of any colour, curing as normal between each layer (choose a color that compliments your glitter).
  • After curing, the gel colour polish will be a bit sticky to the touch.
  • Put your finger into the bowl of glitter, or sprinkle the glitter over the nail, depending on how much glitter you want on the nail. The glitter will stick to the sticky cured gel polish color.

Note – Be gentle if dipping your nail into the glitter, don’t bump the nail as this could cause an uneven look. Sprinkling the glitter onto the nail until you have the desired amount/coverage is probably the better option… although this can get a bit messy, so keep a paper towel under your hand to catch the falling glitter.

  • Gently press the glitter into the gel polish on the nail using the small flat brush. This is to ensure the glitter is placed well to give you a flat nail surface, and to ensure the cuticle area is neat.
  • Tap of the excess glitter and remove any left over glitter with a fan brush (or similar soft brush that you have available).
  • Apply 2 coats of top coat, curing each layer and capping the free edges – this will ensure the glitter stays in place. 

CREATE YOUR OWN PRE-MIXED GLITTER GEL:

Any glitter or nail sequins can be used for this method

  • Pour out a little clear gel into a mixing pallet or small container – I find an old jar cap works very well, as in the photo below this post.
  • Add the desired amount of glitter (or sequins) and mix well.
  • Using a gel brush, apply your new glitter gel as mentioned below:

If the clear gel you use is a Base Coat – You must first apply an non-glittered base coat to your prepped/primed nails, before continuing with the glittered base coat – sealing with a top coat. This will give you a clear nail with glitter, so you can use any color glitter you want.

If the clear gel you use is a Top Coat – You would apply your normal base coat and color gel layers, curing in between each layer as usual. Then apply and cure your glittered top coat, but also seal with an non-glittered top coat. This will give you a colored nail with glitter on top. Here you have to consider which colors you use, as you don’t want the nail color and the glitter color to clash.

To purchase nail glitter and all other nail art – you can click here

ACRILIC DIP DURING GEL APPLICATION

ACRILIC DIP DURING GEL APPLICATION

STRENGTHEN YOUR NAILS WITH ACRILIC DIP DURING GEL APPLICATION

If you have thin or weak nails, this is the easiest way to add strength and longevity to your gel manicure. This could also be the solution if your gel polish tends to chip at the top corners of your nails (this happens if your nail is thin and soft, and bends even with gel polish on it).

ITEMS THAT YOU WILL NEED:
  • Nail prep tools (nail file, buff, cuticle pusher/clipper and primer)
  • UV Base Coat
  • Acrylic dipping powder
  • Fan brush (or similar soft make up brush)
  • UV Top Coat
  • UV Nail Lamp

STEPS TO USE ACYLIC DIP POWDER WITH GEL:
  • Prep the nail as usual for applying a gel polish manicure.
  • Apply the base coat and cure as normal (time as indicated for your strength of lamp).
  • Apply another thin layer of base coat to the full nail, and do not cure this layer.
  • Place your (gel) wet nail gently into the jar of acrylic dip powder, or hold your nail over the jar and scoop some powder and pour it over the entire nail. Be careful not to bump the nail as gel is still wet and it can cause an uneven look.
  • Tap the finger to remove excess powder.
  • Cure in your lamp for 60s (or as directed for your lamp)
  • After curing you can brush off any excess powder using a fan brush (or similar).
  • Repeat above steps again for a second layer of base coat and acrylic powder.
  • Cure in your lamp. 
  • After curing brush away any leftover uncured powder and lightly buff any imperfections to smooth the nail surface. There should not be much buffing needed, you just want to smooth it out a bit so it’s not rough.
  • Wipe your nail with alcohol to remove the filing dust.
  • Now apply a layer of gel top coat, making making sure to cap the edges.
  • Cure in your lamp
  • Apply a liberal amount of Cuticle Oil into the skin surrounding the nail plate and you’re done! 

The gel and acrylic dipping kit can be purchased here

REMOVAL OF UV GEL POLISH

REMOVAL OF UV GEL POLISH

REMOVING YOUR GEL POLISH AT HOME

The first and most important thing to remember here is that you never ever, under no circumstances, EVER pick or pull your gel off your nails. There are several ways to remove a gel manicure safely, without any damage to your natural nail. Here are some easy options to try at home.

ITEMS THAT YOU WILL NEED:
  • Nail file & buffer
  • Cuticle scraper (preferable a stainless steel one with at least one 1 flat edge)
  • Magic Remover / 100% Acetone (depending with method you prefer)
  • For soak off, a soak off bowl
  • Cuticle oil or hand cream for afterwards
MAGIC REMOVER
  • When you are ready to remove the gel, file a thin layer of the protective top coat off using a normal nail file (not a buffer). This will allow the Magic Remover to penetrate the gel below the top coat of protection.
  • Apply quite a thick coat of Magic Remover to each nail and leave it to sit for 3-5 minutes, by then the gel would have bubbled up and started lifting (as in the photo above).
  • Using the wide part of the steel scraper, gently scrape the lifted gel off your nail.
  • For any stubborn pieces, reapply some Magic Remover and wait a few more minutes before gently scraping off again.
  • You can then gently file off any left-over stubborn gel, being careful not to file into your nail.
  • Buff over to smooth, wash hands, apply cuticle oil and you’re done!

Purchase the Magic Remover here

SOAK OFF METHOD
  • When you are ready to remove the gel, file a thin layer of the protective top coat off using a normal nail file (not a buffer). This will allow the acetone to penetrate the gel below the top coat of protection.
  • Put acetone into the soak off dish (enough to cover your nails complete) and place your nails to soak for 10-15 minutes.
  • Using the wide part of the steel scraper, gently scrape the lifted gel off each nail.
  • For any stubborn pieces, lightly file and re-soak for another few minutes.
  • Gently scrape and then file off any left-over gel, being careful not to file into your nail.
  • If you are doing this method by yourself, please do 1 hand at a time so you have a free hand to remove the gel while the acetone is still wet on the nails. If you are doing this for someone else, you can speed things up by soaking both hands at once.
  • Buff over to smooth, wash hands, apply hand cream to moisturize and you’re done!

Purchase the basic soak off kit here

OTHER OPTIONS:

There is also the soak off method using foil and acetone-soaked cotton pads, but I would rather recommend using the soak off dish, it’s a lot less fuss.

If you are traveling and need a quick, portable soak off – I’d suggest the individually wrapped acetone pads. Fuss free and so easy to pack!

Purchase the acetone pads here

UV GEL POLISH APPLICATION

UV GEL POLISH APPLICATION

HOW TO APPLY UV GEL POLISH MANICURE

Doing your own manicure using UV gel polish is almost as easy as painting your own nails with nail polish. Yes, there are a few more steps… but if you paint nail polish neatly, you’d be able to do this as well. The best thing is that purchasing all the items needed to do your own gel polish, will pay for themselves after your 2nd to 3rd application, depending on which kit you choose to buy.

ITEMS THAT YOU WILL NEED:
  • Nail prep tools (nail file, buff, cuticle pusher/clipper)
  • Primer or Ultrabond (must be non-acidic)
  • UV Gel Base Coat
  • UV Gel Polish Color of your choice
  • UV Gel Top Coat (non-wipe is easiest)
  • UV Nail Lamp
  • Gel removal items (see tutorial on gel removal to see what is needed for this)
STEPS TO APPLY GEL POLISH:

PREP YOUR NAILS CORRECTLY

  • Start with clean dry hands and nails.
  • Remove all existing nail product and file your nails to your preferred length.
  • Push back your cuticles using a steel cuticle pushing tool or a wooden cuticle stick.
  • Clip back any excess skin around your nails for a neat look.
  • Gently file the surface of each nail to make the nails slightly rough (see middle photo above). This encourages the gel to hold onto the nail, but please be careful not to file too much, a little is enough… You just want the nail to be a bit rough, not smooth.
  • Brush away any dust that’s left behind.
  • Do not wash your hands to remove dust – hands and nails must be dry.

APPLICATION PROCESS

  • If doing your own nails, it may be easier to do 1 hand to completion before starting with your second hand.
  • Brush on a thin coat of non-acidic primer (or Ultrabond) to each nail, and wait for it to dry completely (this removes any oils or moisture left on the nail, and preps your nail for the gel application).
  • Apply a layer of base coat to each nail and cure under your lamp for the required time, according to your lamp’s instructions.
  • Apply 2-3 thin coats of the UV gel color polish, curing under your lamp for the required time between each coat.
  • You’ll see after the second coat where you need a third coat (some colors are more pigmented than others, so will only need 2 coats). It is important to keep each layer as thin as possible, as thick layers may not cure properly and also lead to early lifting after a few days.
  • Once you are satisfied with the level of color, apply a thin layer of the top coat and cure to seal.
  • Apply some cuticle oil or hand cream daily to keep your manicure looking great!

Once you’ve mastered the application of gel, you’ll have about 3-4 weeks of gorgeous looking nails before having to remove them and reapply a new set!

Gel Polish is a much stronger option compared to nail polish, allowing your natural nails to grow nicely underneath. It is better suited for short to medium length nails though, as there is still some flexibility to gel polish. So if you want to keep your nails long to very long, you’d need to strengthen them with Acrylic (see the tutorial on dipping acrylic to see what is needed for this).

SOME THINGS TO NOTE BEFORE YOU START

Make sure you don’t get any gel onto the cuticle/skin, as this can cause lifting as the nail grows away from that part of skin. Remember to also cap the free edges of your nails (the exposed side walls of the nail) to prevent lifting and moisture getting underneath the gel.

When applying each gel coat, you need to be as neat as possible. Remember it doesn’t dry on it’s own like nail polish, so you have time to go slowly and be as neat as possible. If you do mess some gel onto your skin, use a toothpick or a wooden cuticle stick to clean it up before placing your hand under the lamp to cure.

If you notice the base and gel colors are sticky after they have been cured – this is 100% normal and nothing has gone wrong. After curing they will be set, but will still feel ‘tacky’ (a bit sticky). Only the protective top coat dries hard after curing, and if it is a non-wipe top coat it will not be sticky.

Have a look at the nail kits available here

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