Let’s Talk Gel Nails!

I love going to a salon, and just disconnecting and getting my nails done. But I’ll be honest. When I’m out running errands I’m usually on a tight schedule where I need to get X Y and Z done and be able to be home to pick up the kids, bring home dinner or whatnot when I venture into town (yes, I have become THAT country). Most of the time it means I would rather save time and not be rushed and I end up doing my nails at home. Sure, it might not be as relaxing but I am not frazzled and end up saving quite a bit of money. Once you invest in a some pretty inexpensive supplies you pay for it after 2 manicures at home and even quicker if you do a mani and pedi! The salons can charge as much as $40 for a gel mani and with a pedi you are over $100 when you’re out the door. Supplies can cost around $70 max and when you buy polish you’re spending around $10 so its definitely worth doing IMO. Sometimes at Ulta there will be sales where its BOGO Half off and that’s a good time to stock up on colors.

SO- I’m going to give you the lowdown on what I have used and it always yields salon quality results, and it does not take being a professional to do a good job! Let’s face it, we have been painting our nails since we were teens, am I right? Gel polish is no different.

I usually shop at Ulta, or Amazon for my gel nail polish. I know that you can pick up stuff at Sally’s Beauty or any other beauty supply around you. I have used Sensational which you can get it Target (but their bottles seem smaller), Red Carpet a lot, its what Ulta and sells and it works great! I have bought Gelish from Amazon and recently bought CND and really like that too. I feel like most are pretty comparable.The one kind I have used that I did NOT like was Sally Hansen. It wasn’t any cheaper and it was definitely NOT good quality. I used ones that required a lamp and one that didn’t need a lamp from Sally Hansen and I would just avoid that one. If I had to chose one, I would recommend Red Carpet.

The process is the same as painting your own nails.

  1. You will want to start with clean, filed, and cuticle trimmed nails.
  2. Wipe your nails with a facial cotton, or paper towel (something that’s lint free) with alcohol or acetone to prep the nails for polish.
  3. You paint a thin layer of base coat on all of the nails and stick them under your UV lamp.
  4. You put 2-3 thin layers of gel polish over the base coat, curing in the lamp with each coat. You paint it on just like you would with regular polish. You will need 3 for some of the super opaque colors.
  5. When the color is all done, you put a layer of top coat, and then cure in the lamp.
  6. Once the top coat is applied and cured, take a cotton ball or facial cotton and soak it in acetone or rubbing alcohol and wipe off the tacky layer you just cured. It should not remove the color and it will leave your nails clean and shiny.

Gel polish last up to 14 days and doesn’t chip off like regular polish. I love how it holds up because I to LOTS of things from refinishing furniture to washing dishes, and GEL HOLDS up its end of the bargain. I won’t touch regular polish.

Here is what you will need:

    • Nail file, Cuticle Trimmers
    • Acetone or alcohol
    • UV lamp (I use the Red Carpet lamp I got from Ulta years ago regardless of the gel polish I’m using at the time).
    • Gel base polish, Gel color, and Gel top coat


Here are some kits I recommend

This Red Carpet kit comes with a light and all the essentials from Amazon

This is from Ulta (you can use coupons) and comes with a few less things

So give it a try and if spa time isn’t in your schedule or budget this will definitely be a great solution!

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