I am a relentless nail biter/picker. Its a horrible habit but in 25 years nothing has really cured me. Wearing acrylic nails helped but as soon as there was any lifting I would just pick and rip them off leaving the wake of destruction on my nail beds behind. When gel nail polish came out I was excited to have a tougher than nail polish but softer than acrylic covering on my nails. I still have tendency to pick but so far the gel has been great...the only problem was the time commitment and the cost. Being a stay at home mom is the greatest job ever but it doesn't exactly pay well. Often times I look at something and think I can make it or do it myself and it is a total disaster but when I saw an LED mini light on amazon for $30 (the cost of one gel application at the salon) I had to try it! I ordered the supplies which include the light, base, top cleaner and remover and set out for my DIY gel mani. After some trial and error I have to say it is actually pretty easy. If you are a type A perfectionist like me you will easily master it in no time. I have gotten the value out of my supplies ten time over in just 6 months. The best part is not having to go sit in the chemical filled salon for an hour! Here are my top 5 tips for gel mani's at home:
1. Follow the directions for prep. File, push back cuticles and buff your nails. Then wash your hands, use the cleaner and then the bonder to dry out any oils. If you skip any of these steps the gel wont stick as well.
2. When the bottle says apply a thin coat it means it! The gel has to cure to become hard and if the coats are too thick it can't do this properly and won't come out right. Its ok if you need 3 coats of color to have it look right as long as they are thin coats.
3. Refresh your mani without starting over. I can do a full set of gel nails in about 40 minutes, with a baby, a dog, a house and a husband to take care of, 40 minutes of alone time isn't something easy to come by. To stretch out my time in between full sets I lightly buff my nails apply one coat of base, one coat of color and a top coat. This take about 15 minutes and makes my nails last an extra 5 or so days.
4. Do one full hand at a time. If you are like me and doing this in between baby naps and loads of laundry, do one entire hand to completion, check your kid or whatever you are working on and then go do the other hand. Often times I have been halfway done with both hands and been interrupted and it ruins the whole thing. The gel is sticky until the top coat and cleaner and if any lint gets stuck to it before then it will bubble and be a wreck!
5. Don't rush. My best tip for you is to be patient and careful to get the gel to the edges of your nails without getting it on your cuticles. With a tiny bit of practice your nails will be fabulous with out the cost or the commitment!