Step-by-Step Guide to Applying Gel Polish for Nails

Liv Butler
Authored by Liv Butler
Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2024 - 23:45

Are you trying to save money but you don’t want to have to stop getting your nails painted? Then the solution might be to try your hand at doing gel manicures yourself at home. All you need are the right tools and some time to practice, then before you know it you’ll become a natural at DIY gel manicures. However, it’s important to note that gel polish is very different from using traditional varnish there are more application steps for starters, and here’s why…

So, what makes gel polish different from other nail varnish?

The biggest difference is when you apply gel polish to your nails. The gel itself is much thicker than normal nail varnish; this does make it longer-wearing but it does mean the gel needs to be set under a nail lamp. This process is called curing and it sets the gel polish on your nail; allowing it to harden evenly and securely across the surface of the nail. If the polish is not cured then the gel will not dry down properly. This will cause the paint on your nails to go soft and become more prone to chips and breakage.

The main reason why gel polish for nails to preferred to other varnishes on the market, is due to its durability. Once the gel is set and hardened, it requires fewer touch-ups. If you choose to buy our Claresa gel polish, you can visit to look through our range of chip-residence polishes. We have every color and finish you could imagine as well as plenty of collections to allow you to switch up your color as often as you like. Plus we have starter sets that include everything you need to apply your gel polish to your nails correctly. 

Our Claresa starter sets have everything you’d need, including: 

  • UV/LED nail lamp for curing the polish on the nails
  • Files for shaping and buffing the nails
  • A top and a case coat
  • Nail cleanser for essential nail prep and a gel remover for quick removal
  • Wooden sticks, swabs, and top wipes to aid in application as well as removal

We recommend you have everything you need before you get started. 

So, how do you apply gel polish?

There are only a few steps to master to help you get a salon-quality gel manicure at home…

Step 1. First, you need to file your nails and push back your cuticles

Start by filing your nails to ensure the tips are even and smooth. If needed, use nail and cuticle clippers to trim any uneven areas. By focusing on the shape and health of your nails and cuticles, you improve your chances of achieving a smoother gel polish application.

Step 2. Buff the nail and clean it with nail cleaner or rubbing alcohol

The next step is to buff your nails. Buffing is likely to create nail debris, so have rubbing alcohol or a nail cleanser ready to clean off any excess. This will ensure your nails are smooth and even, improving your gel polish application.

Step 3. Apply your base coat and set it under the UV/LED lamp

Apply a thin layer of base coat polish to your nail and then make sure to put the nail under the UV/LED lamp for 30 to 60 seconds to allow the gel to set.

Step 4. Time to apply your gel polish color to your nails evenly

Once your base coat has set it may feel a little sticky but this is to be expected. You’ll now need to apply a thin layer of your chosen gel polish across your entire nail and once it’s been coated, cure it under your nail lamp for 30 to 60 seconds.

Step 5. Apply the top coat and cure to prolong the gel manicure

After you have set your gel polis under your nail lamp you will want to apply a layer of top coat to help make your gel color last as long as possible. When applied, it’s time to once again cure your nails under the UV/LED lamp for 30-60 seconds. The top coat will also help prevent the gel from lifting and chipping. 

Step 6. Then use cuticle oil to keep the area healthy and nourished

To finish we recommend applying cuticle oil to keep the cuticles healthy. This can also help keep the area nourished and avoid drying out. 

With practice, you’ll soon be a natural at using gel polish!

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