Sunday treats: at home gel manicure

Sundays are usually the only days in which I finally have some time to dedicate to one of my favorite relaxing treats: manicure! I take out my nail drawer and my UV lamp and put on a nice series, ready to start!

Step 1: Remove your old nail polish using ant nail polish remover you like, I suggest my new discovery, the  Dip&Clean Nail Polish Remover.

Step 2: File your nails to the shape you prefer and then buff the top to make sure the nails are smooth and ready. Any nail file will work and you can find nail buffers (the rectangular prism type) in any drugstore. These usually have 4 sides with different functions and are perfect to smooth the nail. An example from Essence is the Studio Nails 6in1 Buffer File.

Step 3: Remove and push back your cuticles. To do this I use the Essence Studio Nails Fast Cuticle Remover, apply it on every finger, let it sit for 10-15 seconds and then work the cuticles with the Essence Studio Rosewood Sticks.

Step 4: Clean your nails one more time with acetone or nail polish remover to make sure there is no residue. This will ensure that your base with adhere strongly to the nail, making your manicure last longer.

Now we start with steps that are specific for a gel manicure, however if you use normal nail polish the steps will be the same except that instead of curing your nail polish under the UV lamp, you can just wait for it to dry in air.

Step 5: Apply a thin but uniform layer of base coat, making sure you cover especially well the tip of your nails, then cure under UV light for 2 minutes. After that the base will be still sticky and this is necessary for the following layers to adhere properly. Just be careful and don't touch your nails.

Step 6: Apply your favorite color gel nail polish and cure it under the UV lamp for 2 min. Repeat this a second time. Here it is important to apply thin layers of color to make sure it dries properly, so don't worry if your first coat still doesn't give you an opaque color, that is what the second coat is for!

Step 7 (optional): It's now time for nail art, glitter and any crazy thing you want to use to decorate your nails! I personally tend to use a glitter nail polish on my accent nail or some simple stones applied with nail glue.

Step 8: Seal everything in place with the top coat and cure for another 2 minutes. At this point the nails are still sticky and you have to use a cotton pad soaked in isopropyl alcohol on each nail. 

Step 9: Nourish your nails and cuticles with an oil such as Essence Nail Studio Nail Care Oil. Apply this to the base of your nails and let it absorb to help your nails grow stronger.

Aaaand you're done! 

This manicure should last you 1 to 2 weeks. I love gel manicure because it is scratch resistant and it doesn't chip making it a very low maintenance way to have your nails in order.

Some practical information now. 
The original gel nail polishes are the CND shellac which retail for 27.50 euros, which is waaaay more that I want to spend on nail polish. The knock off that is use is Bluesky and I purchase it from for a mere 9 euros a piece! Here you can buy anything for gel manicure!
Regarding the UV lamp, there are many options out there and I bought mine via ebay for 35 euros. I use a 4x9W lamp.
To remove the nail polish you should wrap each nail for 10 minutes in an acetone soaked cotton pad and cover that with aluminium foil so that the acetone doesn't evaporate before it is done breaking down the nail polish. However, most of the time I can just peel it off after a week and a half.

I hope this little guide was helpful! 
I'm looking forward to my next mani-sunday!



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