how to do a gel manicure at home

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We’re all about girly stuff but manicures have never been our thing! Maybe it’s from raising three kids each, with all the dishes, laundry, cleaning, and nitty gritty stuff you always have your hands in…it made a manicure seem like a total waste of time! Money down the drain! Recently however, we’ve had to do some close-up hand shots for brand collaborations, and it’s had us looking at our hands in a new and critical light. We quickly slapped on some nail polish for a recent photo shoot, but it chipped off within a day. So frustrating! The whole experience got us wishing for more attractive nails! But now, in full Coronavirus lockdown, having a salon manicure is out of the question. We don’t give up easily, so we made it our mission to figure out how to have a salon-quality, long-lasting DIY gel manicure from home!

Krista tried nail strips, but they were awkward to apply and not very precise, since every nail is shaped differently. In the meantime, we also researched the best products and methods for a home gel manicure, preferably one that didn’t require a UV light machine and that would hopefully last two weeks. Sitting and doing our nails is not our idea of the best time, so we wanted to minimize application time as much as possible!

Turns out, what we were looking for actually exists! Using these products and steps, our DIY gel manicures looked decent for two weeks and the application was simple and straightforward. By following these simple steps, hopefully you’ll achieve the same results!

6 easy steps for a DIY gel manicure

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1. Wipe nails with 100% acetone or Isopropyl rubbing alcohol. This removes any oil from the nail bed that could inhibit the polish adhering to your nail.

2. Lightly rough up the surface of your nail with a nail buffer board or a nail file. This will help give the nail polish something more to stick to, resulting in a longer-lasting manicure.

3. Apply one coat of a base coat to fill in ridges and help nails need fewer coats of nail color.

4. Apply two coats of Essie Gel Couture nail color. Having a higher quality nail polish is the key to your success. This polish is more expensive than their regular line, but so worth it. Even the brush is better and helps tremendously with accurate application. Try to stick to only two coats; the more coats you apply, the more likely it is to peel.

5. Seal the edge of your nail with nail polish. This is a very important step to keep the polish from lifting and peeling.

6. Apply Essie Gel Couture Top Coat and also make sure to seal the edge as you finish.

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That’s it! For manicure amateurs we’re thrilled with our results and excited to have pretty, photo-ready hands at any moment!

Let us know if you try this and how it works for you! We’d also love to hear any of your at-home nail tips!

xoxo Julie & Krista

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