Saturday, 7 March 2015

DIY Gel Nail Polish- How To

My first experience with gel polish was nearly 3 years ago. I had been a polish addict for quite some time by then, building up quite the Barry M collection. However, whatever nail polish I used they just did not want to stay put on my nails!!

Base coats, top coats, various brands and just nothing worked. If I wanted my nails a certain colour for a night out I had to paint them not long before leaving if I wanted any possibility of chip-free nails for a big event!!
As anyone who suffers from this predicament will know, it is a pain in the bottom!!

So for my graduation I wanted something more durable and had heard people speaking about gel polishes at work.
My mam went to get her hair done and I asked the manager of the Salon if they did gel polishes and luckily for me they did and had time to fit me in there and then.

I got a simple French Manicure as trying to match a colour to my Black and Duck egg dress on the spot was not an easy task!!
To my surprise the polish actually stayed on my nails for a reasonable amount of time (just under 2 weeks without chipping)

Getting gel polish done regularly would become a very expensive task and I am not a fan of naked nails on myself!
At first the salon were charging £15 for a full gel polish on natural nails and that eventually went up to £18. My mam also started getting gel polish manicures so for the two of us the costs were quickly mounting.

That is when I decided to have a look into DIY gel polishes.
Firstly I looked into starter kits which seemed to be quite costly themselves.
So I decided to have a look on eBay for a UV Lamp. I think I got mine for about £15/£20... significantly cheaper than a lot of brands which charge upwards of £60 for the lamp.

I also bought some cheap polishes on eBay but they just were not up to scratch in comparison to gel polishes I had had used on my nails in the past.
So I looked into purchasing better gel polishes and came across sensationail.
Sensationail is available to buy in Boots so straight away I nipped over and bought some colours and that was the start of my addiction!! These are £15 per polish in Boots.

Since then I have branched out and visited a wholesalers where I have discovered Gellux Profile. These have a wider range of colours and you do get more mls for your money but they are harder to get hold of if you are not a professional. The local wholesaler I go to allows none trade customers to buy polishes.

The other day at work Luce asked me to do a bit of a tutorial on how I do my nails so that she can make use of the lamp and polishes she bought for herself!
So here it goes;

Firstly you need to file your nails to the shape you want. Then give them a light buff over with your file to remove the oily top layer of your nails.

The next step is to cleanse the nails, this is to get off any dirt and nail dust after just filing them.
I use a cleanser I found in Wilkinsons from Essence. This was only around £3 and works perfectly!
Just pop some onto a lint free wipe and wipe over nails.

After this I use Gellux Fast Bond. This acts as a dehydrator for the nails to help the polish stick better to your nails. I don't always do this step but do find that it lasts longer if I do this step. 
With this I just brush it on each of my nails and leave to dry for 30 seconds with no need to put it under the lamp.

Next its time to use a gel base coat. Any base coat is fine but I prefer to use the Gellux Easy off Base Coat. This is because it makes life so much easier when removing the polish.
Paint the Base coat onto the nails and leave to set under the lamp for 2 minutes. (This may vary depending on the Wattage of your lamp and if it is UV or LED, I have a 36w UV Lamp)

Then its onto your colour!!
Choosing which colour to use normally takes me as long as it does to actually do my nails. In fact I changed my mind and added a little extra whilst I was doing my nails for this tutorial! (Oops)
So paint the colour onto your nails, being extra careful not to get too close to the edges or your cuticles as this will cause the polish to peel off quicker.
Then let it cure for 2 minutes. (Once again this could vary)
This step often needs to be repeated depending on the depth of colour. Often I also I find that the colour shrinks away from the tips of my nails so repeating the step fixes that issue. 
The colour I have used here is Gellux Profile Pink Diamonds (Pearlised)

And as I said I change my mind a lot and just had to add some Sparkle!
So I did and accent nail on my ring fingers. I painted on some Sensationail in Gold Glitter on and cured for 2 minutes.

The final layer of polish to add is the top coat. I use the Gellux Clear Base and Top Coat. Any top coat that adds lots of shine is perfect though!
Paint the nails with the top coat, once again being careful around the edges. Then, surprisingly, cure for another 2 minutes.

Nails will still feel tacky once you take them from under the lamp. This isn't because they are wet! It is just a sticky layer that is left after each curing to help the layers of polish bond together (I think that is the reason anyway!)
This tackiness is removed with the same cleanser used at the start of the manicure. Just wipe over the nails and you will have lovely dry, shiny nail polish!!

So that is how I do my gel polishes, I hope this inspires some of you to try something new or even helps anyone with the same polish issues of my past!

Another thing is if you use a really neutral colour gel polish you can paint over in any normal polish and it lasts so much longer!



  1. oh wow, your nails look amazing!

    from helen at

    ps. you can win the rose gold GHD styler and hairdryer on my blog here!

  2. Great tutorial! I've been looking into investing in a UV lamp myself because like you said, getting them done every time gets expensive! It seems so straight forward and easy to do - might just have to go ahead and buy one! Thanks for sharing xo

    Sharan |