Over the last decade or so, DIY Gel Polish and nail systems have become an increasingly popular alternative to salon visits. The comfort and convenience of getting that manicure done at home for a fraction of the cost appeals to many women, and understandably so. However, the Do’s and Don’ts of DIY Gel Polish aren’t talked about as much as they should be.
As a trained nail technician, we learn many things in our schooling. Not just about applying nail enhancements, but also about body anatomy, the chemistry behind enhancements, nail disorders, and the risks of improper use of nail enhancement products.
None of this is to say you should be afraid to do your nails at home – quite the contrary. Use the knowledge learned here to have fabulous nails from home – where YOU control the entire process!
DO. . .
. . . research your DIY Gel Polish choices.
The market doesn’t lack in options when it comes to DIY Nail Products. You can find them online, in drug stores, and big box retailers. And as a woman who loves a bargain, I know it can be tempting to be drawn to the cheapest option. However as I’ve learned more about the effects products can have on our bodies, I’ve taken greater care in researching the ingredients in products I use. You’ll also want to be sure the product is intended for home use. GelMoment is the brand I’ve chosen, because of how clean and responsible their product and production is.
. . . sterilize your nail tools.
Before and after getting started with your DIY Gel Polish manicure, you’ll want to clean your nail tools. Even though you aren’t sharing the tools with others – your own hands and nails carry germs and bacteria as well. Start by using a nail brush and soap to scrub your tools clean with warm water. Either wipe them down or soak in Isopropyl Alcohol 70% or higher and allow to dry. Store in a dry, clean area.
. . . start with clean hands.
Wash your hands with warm soap and water prior to applying a DIY Gel Polish product. Use a nail brush and focus on scrubbing underneath the free edge of your nail plate. If you have trouble with nail enhancements sticking to your nail plate, using a good degreasing soap like Dawn Dish soap is ideal for this process.
. . . prep your nail plate.
Preparing the nail plate begins when washing your hands prior to application. Allow your nails to dry thoroughly. Using a File/Buffer combo, file your nails into their desired shape and length. Then using the soft, spongy side of the buffer, gently buff the surface of your nail plate. Take care to get into the sidewalls as well. Buffing should only be enough to remove the surface shine from the nail plate – don’t overdo it! Finally, cleanse the nail plate with a lint free nail wipe soaked in Isopropyl alcohol. GelMoment has Cleansers pre-packaged for you!
. . . apply polish in THIN coats.
Every gel polish product will stress the importance of this during application. In order for the LED Lamp to properly cure your gel polish, it needs to be able to thoroughly penetrate the polish. If you apply the polish in a thick coat, the top will appear cured, but the underside of the polish (that has contact with the nail plate) will remain uncured. This contact with uncured polish can possibly lead to an allergy to develop. So for the longest lasting manicure, apply two to three thin coats of polish.
. . . remove your gel polish properly.
Gel polish does not damage your nails. Improper or aggressive removal of gel polish does damage your nails. Knowing how to properly remove the polish you’re wearing is key. With GelMoment, our Remover Pads and Flake Off have been tested and formulated to remove 2 layers of gel polish. If you have applied more than that, you’ll need two rounds of removal. To read more in depth about proper removal, check out this article on How to Remove GelMoment Gel Polish.
. . . oil your nails often.
Cuticle and nail oil is a KEY part of beautiful nails and a long lasting gel polish manicure. When you’re finished applying your gel polish manicure, use a quality Cuticle and Nail Oil. You can read more about the importance of oiling your nails here.
DON’T. . .
. . . use your nails as tools.
Using your nails to pry, scrape, pick, and peel will not only damage your nail, but if you’re sporting polish it can cause chips and cracks. Use alternative tools to do the things you’re tempted to use your nails for. One example being using a spoon to open a soda can.
. . . change your polish too often.
Gel Polish and other nail enhancements are intended to be worn for approximately 14 days before needing to be changed. Removing and reapplying gel polish more frequently to this can lead to breakdown in the nail plate, from the excess exposure to remover products, buffing, and scraping on the nail plate. I know it can be tempting, but stick to every two weeks or so for a color change.
. . . clean up stray polish with your fingers.
When you’re polishing and accidentally get a little gel product on your skin, it can be tempting to use your finger to swipe it away. Unfortunately, repeated skin contact with uncured gel can lead to an allergy developing. When you’ve got a little clean up to do, simply wrap a cleansing wipe or remover pad around the end of your cuticle pusher, and gently swipe around the nail plate before curing.
. . . skip curing time.
It’s imperative to let your polish cure for the full recommended exposure time, as mentioned above to achieve a full cure. It’s also important to have your polish exposed properly to the lamp. Check out this post for some troubleshooting tips that also talks about finger placement in the LED lamp.
. . . pick your polish or skin.
Picking at and peeling the skin surrounding your nails (especially hangnails) removes healthy tissue and leaves you exposed to fungi and bacteria. Picking off your polish removes healthy layers of nail tissue, and over time will thin the nail plate. This can lead to other nail disorders. Oiling often will help keep the skin surrounding your nail supple and moisturized, and using proper methods for removal will keep your nail plate healthy.
Did you learn anything new?
My inspiration behind writing this blog post about the Do’s and Don’ts of DIY Gel Polish was to educate. Many women I’ve spoken to in recent weeks weren’t aware of some of these do’s and don’ts, and they want to have the best experience possible with their DIY Gel Nail kit! So use what you learned here, and go forth and have beautiful nails.6