Gel nails stay put for longer - resisting the chips and loss of shine of your average paint job. A good one can last as long as three weeks. In a nutshell: they're what every girl wants from a manicure. However, regular gel manis at a salon are definitely enough to leave you and your bank balance on bad terms. So a DIY gel nail kit could be the way to go.
But how do you get that perma-shine effect without the expertise of a technician? We asked gel manicure-lover and beauty blogger Josie Fear of Fashion Mumblr.
Here's her tips on how to nail a gel manicure at home...
DO : Give yourself enough time to neatly paint your nails before applying a gel top coat - there's nothing worse that having messily painted nails for 2 weeks! Also make sure you have enough time for your varnish to be thoroughly dried (at least 30 mins, but overnight is best) before applying the gel top coat, otherwise it will go bubbly!
DON'T : Paint the polish too thickly - it will just make it easier for the nail varnish to peel. It's better to do three really thin coats than one thick one!
DO : Pay attention to the tips of your nails, run the polish wand horizontally across the top edge of the nail to seal in the ends. This should prevent chips.
DON'T : Throw away all your non gel nail varnishes! There's so many great kits out there that turn ANY nail polish into a gel, so invest in one of these and all of your favourites can be used in your gel manicure.
There's plenty of gel nail kits out there with all the kit included, but Josie recommends Ciate's new Geltox Nail Polish Starter Kit, available at ASOS, £99. The beauty of it being that you can transform any of your own nail polishes into a gel using the top coat and LED light to cure the colour.
Here's how to get the best results with the product in 10 easy steps:
1. Don't forget about the prep - you want a nice even base for your gel mani. Begin by shaping and smoothing your nails. File the nails - ideally with a glass file to prevent splitting - and use clippers to remove excess skin down the sides of your nails.
2. Use a cuticle oil to soften (try Essie's Apricot Care Cuticle Oil, £8.99) and then use an orange stick - or your nail if your prefer - to push back your cuticles.
3. Run Ciate Geltox Cleanser over nail beds with cotton pads to ensure nails are completely clean and ready for nail varnish. This will help your mani to last longer.
4. Apply a base coat, followed by two light coats of nail varnish.
5. Use a correcter pen to make sure your nails are neat and there’s no excess or smudges on your cuticles or around your fingers.
6. Wait 30 minutes until your nails are completely dry.
7. Now grab your Ciate Top Coat and apply a light base. Cover the whole nail including the tops to prevent peeling and be careful to avoid getting it on your skin.
8. Once you’ve applied to every nail, put your fingers under the Ciate LED light. Keep under for about 60 seconds and do the same for your thumbs.
9. Apply a second thin coat of the top coat and repeat.
10. Complete by running the Ciate Geltox Cleanser over nails with cotton pads. Your gel mani is now complete.