GEL NAILS AT HOME: Step-By-Step Guide

Gel nails at home
Image credit: S&L Beauty Company

Gel nail polish is one of the most popular and best-selling nail products in the world. It allows you to get beautiful, long-lasting nails without having to get them professionally done at a salon. Gel nail polish is also very versatile and can be used on almost any type of nail surface, including your natural nails or nails that have been cut or filed down. However, there are many different types of gel available today, each with their own unique features and benefits. In this article, we’ll explore how to do gel nails at home and how to take off gel nails at home using different methods.

Can You Do Your Gel Nails at Home?

You can do your gel nails at home. It’s easy, and the results are amazing.

  • Get a UV light: You need to have a UV light because it’s used for curing the gel polish that will cover your natural nails.
  • Get some gel nail polish: The kind that comes in bottles or tubes with brush applicators is what you’ll need to apply on top of your natural nails before they’re covered with gels, which will make them look pretty awesome. If you want more professional-looking results then buy some professional quality brands like Essie or CND instead-These are much better quality than those cheap ones available online (but not so expensive).

How to Take off Gel Nails at Home

To make sure I can keep up with my gel manicure routine at home, I thought I’d share how I take off my gel manicures so that you can try this method out for yourself.

#1. Polish Your Nails With a Nail File

Do not use a metal file. If you’re using a metal file, the heat of the file will cause your gel polish to crack and lift off in pieces, which is why we recommend keeping it away from your gel polish for this step.

Use a nail file to remove any polish that’s stuck on top of each nail. This includes any residue from removal products like acetone or non-acetone removers (like hydrogen peroxide). Just rub gently with your finger as you go around each nail, then use another cotton ball soaked in acetone—we like Dermalogica Nail Prep—to wipe away any residual residue once you’ve finished filing down all four nails.

Don’t use a nail file if there are still remnants left behind after removing these products; instead grab some cotton balls soaked in acetone (again: Dermalogica Nail Prep) and soak them up in an old toothbrush head before dabbing them onto each nail individually until they’re completely clean.

#2. Soak a Cotton Ball in Acetone, and Wrap It in Tin Foil

The first step is to soak a cotton ball in acetone, and wrap it in tin foil. This will help release the gel nails from your nail beds so you can remove them. Make sure you use acetone and not nail polish remover; they’re completely different products with different ingredients.

Acetone can be purchased at most pharmacies and drugstores—it’s a chemical that dissolves the glue holding on to your nails, so you must use it safely. Wear gloves when handling acetone because this product has ruined many people’s skin over time by causing severe burns or even blindness due to its strong fumes (and yes, we’ve seen this happen).

#3. Wait 10 Minutes

The next step is to wait 10 minutes. This is the time it takes for your nails to dry completely and for the acetone to do its job. If you leave your nails on for too long, they could start to smell bad or feel sticky.

Acetone isn’t a moisturizer—it’s a solvent that removes oils from dead skin cells, but it can be harmful if left on for too long. The longer you leave them on, the better.

#4. Remove the Tin Foil, and Wipe off the Gel With a Cotton Swab

First, remove the tin foil. Then wipe off the gel with a cotton swab. Next, use a nail file to smooth out any bumps or rough edges on your nails that might be left behind from applying it. Finally, use an alcohol-free nail polish remover (like acetone) to remove excess skin around your nails so they don’t get sticky when you put them in water or other chemicals later on.

#5. Moisturize Your Hands With Coconut Oil or Argan Oil

One of the best ways to take off gel nails at home is with coconut oil or argan oil. These two things have been used as natural moisturizers for hundreds of years and are great for your skin. If you can’t find either of these in stores, any kind of moisturizer will do (but make sure it’s not greasy).

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What Do You Need for Gel Nails at Home?

Gel nail polish at home is a very easy and simple process. You need:

  • Gel Nail Polish (buy from any local drug store)
  • UV light (buy from any local drug shop)
  • Nail File/Buffer (any brand will do, but I recommend BNIB because it’s cheaper). This can also be bought on Amazon if you’re interested in saving some money.

If you have all of these things together, then your next step is going to be buying a base coat and a top coat.

Can You Use Gel Nail Polish Without UV Light?

As long as you have gel nail polish, you can use it without UV light. You can even use it with an LED lamp and a UV lamp.

Do Gel Nails Ruin Your Nails?

Gel nails are not bad for your nails. They can be a good alternative to acrylics, especially if you have weak or thin nails. Gel nails are more durable than acrylics and require less maintenance (they won’t chip). For this reason, it may be worth the extra money if you plan on getting them done more than once every few weeks or so. However, there are some downsides to gel nail application that should be considered before deciding whether or not to get them done:

  • The price of gel nail services varies greatly depending on where they’re being done. Some salons charge as much as $50 per hand. You’ll also need to factor in any additional costs like remotes in case something goes wrong during application (which is rare but could happen).

Removal of Gel Nails at Home

Gel nails are so popular that many people want to do them at home. You will find many recipes online and in magazines, but they can be complicated. In reality, there is no need to do a professional job when you want to remove gel nails at home.

  • The first step is to clean your hands thoroughly and dry them with a towel. Then apply some gloves or use a nail file (if you are not allergic).
  • Next, you need to apply some acetone and let it soak in for 5-10 minutes.
  • Next, take off the gloves and start applying pressure on the side of your nail with a cotton ball soaked in acetone. This will remove layers of gel and make the removal process easier.
  • After removing the old gel from your nails, wipe them with alcohol or acetone to remove any remaining residue from the removal process. Be careful not to touch your skin with alcohol because this can irritate sensitive skin types (like mine).
  • Finally, apply a base coat and top coat on your nails before going out with friends or doing other things as normal.

Is It Cheaper to Do Gel Nails at Home?

Gel nail polish is more expensive than regular nail polish, but you can do your gel nails at home. You’ll need a UV light and some of the special gel polishes that come in bottles or tubes (see below).

What’s Cheaper Gel or Powder?

The answer to that question depends on your budget and how long you’re willing to wait for your nails. For example, if you want a week-long manicure and don’t mind paying more for it, gel nails will probably be cheaper than powder ones.

How to Do the Gel Nail at Home

Gel nails are becoming more popular every day. If you’ve been thinking about getting some but haven’t quite leaped yet, this guide will help get your nails ready for the job ahead.

#1. Prep the Nails

Prep the nails. Before you apply any polish or gel, make sure to prep your nails by filing them down to a smooth surface with a buffer or cuticle pusher. This will help keep the polish from chipping and cracking later on in the process.

Apply the colorant first. If you’re using one of these gels, apply it onto clean, dry nails using an applicator brush (the kind that comes with most polishes). Make sure it’s completely dry before moving on to step two.

#2. Apply a Base Coat

When applying a base coat, it’s important to use one that doesn’t contain formaldehyde or formaldehyde resin. Formaldehyde is a petroleum-based compound that can cause allergic reactions in some people, as well as cancer. It’s also toxic when inhaled or ingested and should be avoided at all costs.

Base coats come in many different formulas: some contain only water, and others include ingredients like aloe vera gel, emollients (like coconut oil), silicones (like dimethicone), and even beeswax. The best thing about using your base coat is that you can customize it based on what works best for your nails while keeping them healthy by protecting them from the harsh chemicals used by salons every day.

#3. Select Polishes and Apply a Base Color

Once you’ve selected your colors and have the base color, it’s time to apply them. To do this, start with a clean nail, then using a brush or sponge, apply the base color onto each nail. You can use different sponges for each color if needed.

Once all of your nails have been painted in with your chosen shade(s), it’s time to add some accent colors. This may be tricky at first, but once you get used to it, it becomes second nature—just remember that each accent color should be applied over the top of another shade so that they blend seamlessly when dry (if done right). Before you put on the top coat, put these accents on all ten fingers and toes evenly. This will help prevent any chipping later on down the line by giving off extra shine while also making sure there aren’t any visible lines where one piece stops abruptly due to lack of coverage elsewhere around its circumference.

#4. Follow With Accent Colors

Apply your accent color. Use a small brush to apply the color in the center of the nail, then use another brush to paint each finger separately so you can get an even distribution of color across your nails. Finish with a top coat to seal in any imperfections as well as give them durability and shine.

#5. Apply Top Coat

When you’re finished, your nails should look glossy. The next step is to apply a top coat over the design. This will protect your gel nails and make them last longer.

First, wait until the top coat has dried completely (about 15 minutes), then remove any tacky layer by gently rubbing it off with a lint-free wipe. Clean up any mess with nail polish remover, cotton balls, or sponges soaked in acetone (a type of nail polish remover). You can also use Vaseline as an alternative option if you want something easy to go on. I recommend using products containing moisturizers as they keep your hands soft so that you don’t have any issues when doing tasks such as typing or painting pictures on canvas boards using acrylic paints.”


Gel nails are very popular these days. They are said to be more durable than traditional acrylics or other types of nail art, which makes them a great choice for those who want to keep their hands looking healthy and beautiful. With Gel Nails at Home, you can create a unique look that will last for weeks or months depending on how often you want them reapplied.

Warning – Do not just risk it for a pretty set of nails. Gel nail polish isn’t for everyone. It’s not a good option for people with weak nails, allergies, and stress in their life.

Gel Nails at Home FAQs

How do manicurists remove gel nails?

Fingers are soaked in acetone for at least 10 minutes.

Is it safe to do your gel nails at home?

With a bit of practice and the right tools, a near-indestructible manicure of your own doing is achievable.

What is the difference between gel and shellac?

Gel nails use a semi-permanent gel to color your nails, whereas shellac nails use semi-permanent polish.


  • – Gel Nails at Home: How to Do Your Gel Manicure
  • – How to Remove a Gel Manicure at Home
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