care for gel nails image

Since the country has gone into lockdown I have had to stop working at the beauty salon which means a lot of my clients are having to do their own nails until we can open again. I have also seen that a lot of you are buying your own lamps and doing it at home which is great, so I thought I'd give you some tips on how to care for your gel nails ad to keep them lasting longer!

1. Preparation is Key 

When you're wanting to do your gels and make them last for 2 weeks the most important tip that I would give is to fully prep the nails. When I say prep I mean to fully cut, file, cuticles and buff the nails making sure that the nails are smooth and clean making it the perfect base for the gel polish. If the nails are rough or have ridges it is more likely that the gels won't adhere to the nails and they won't last as long as you want. Most gel polishes are supposed to last on the nails for two weeks and if your lucky they can even last longer. Before I do each gel set I make sure that my nails are fully shaped the way I want and make sure that all the edges are smooth with no rough edges with a nail file. The second thing I do is make sure that my cuticles have been pushed back and removed If you haven't used cuticle nippers before I would probably just push the cuticles back with an orange stick and a cuticle remover, I like to use the Sally Hanson Remover and leave the cutting of the cuticles as you can cut yourself if you haven't used them before. I do the cuticles because if you apply gel over any cuticle they won't last you long at all and will probably start to lift within a few days. The last step in the prep of your nails is to make sure that you lightly buff over the surface of the nails with a buffer to make sure that there are no rough parts so the gel will apply smoothly onto the nails. 

2. Make sure to cleanse 

My second tip that I would recommend everyone do is to cleanse the nails to remove any dirt or oils to make sure that the gels stick strongly onto the nails. With most of the gel kits that you can buy you should get a nail cleanser with that might be called prep + wipe which isn't a step that you want to skip. When I first started doing gels at the salon I would practice on myself and there were a few times when I forgot to wipe my nails before applying the gel and they didn't even last a week. The cleanser is very important to make sure that there isn't any leftover cuticle remover or cream on the nails which will stop the gel from sticking to the nails completely. 

3. Apply the gel in thin layers 

After you have prepped and cleansed the nails the next step is actually applying the gel. Like when you are using ordinary polish the way to apply gel polish is to do it in thin and even layers. First the base then you cure under the lamp for 60 seconds depending on the lamp you have, then you move on to the two colour coats. When you apply the colour I would suggest to apply them pretty thin, it doesn't matter if the colour is transparent you can still apply more layers. If you apply the layers thick onto the nail then they may not cure properly under the lamp a create bubbles which means you'd probably have to start all over again. With gels, you can actually apply more than 2 coats if you need so it's better to apply thin layers with more coats as it will all cure properly and you will get the look you want. The last step is them to apply the topcoat to create an extra shiny look. 

Flatlay of pink nails

4. Always use cuticle oil 

The key to your gel nails lasting long is to keep the nails and the cuticles moisturised. When the nails are dry and brittle the gel again won't stick onto the nails and then there is a much bigger chance of the gels either chipping off which shouldn't happen or lifting before the two weeks. I would suggest everyone use cuticle oil I like to use the CND Solar Oil, whether you are wearing gels or not as it helps to keep the nails moisturised and smooth. I wouldn't apply cuticle oil just before you apply the gel I would wait until you have finished the nails and apply a small amount of oil to the cuticles then massage it in. 

5. Remove the gels properly 

Hopefully, if you have done all of the tips above the gels should still be on and you are ready to take them off and apply a new set. This tip is to make sure that you remove your gels properly because I know a lot of you are guilty of just pulling the gel off before its ready to be removed which can take layers of the nail off which we do not want. The best way to remove gels is to use the gel remover that should have come with your kit and apply it to a small piece of cotton pad and then wrap the nail in tin foil and leave it for around 5-10 minutes depending on what gel you are using, This will help to loosen the gel from the nails making it super easy to remove. When you have removed the foil the gels should be lifted and all you need to do is use an orange stick to lightly scrape the gels off the nails. After this, you may need to lightly buff over the nails to remove any excess gel and then you're done! 

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Doing gels at home can be tricky but with a little bit of practice and using the tips above you will be able to have a long-lasting gel manicure! Have you tried doing your own gels at home since the lockdown? 

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Aaliyah xo


  1. This is so helpful! I don’t personally have gel nails on but I know a lot of my friends are in need of this advice so I will pass it on! Thank you for sharing 😊

    1. Thank you! That’s great I hope they find this helpful x

  2. I don't get gel nails done often as my nails are so weak, but these are great tips Aaliyah! I love getting gel nails though, if only my stupid nails wouldn't be so weak! x

    Lucy |

    1. It can be hard for people to have gels all the time especially if their nails are weak. Taking breaks in between getting gels done is really important and keeping them moisturised is really important x

  3. THese nails ALWAYS look so lovely, I'm just not sure I"m ready for the maintainance. Again though - LOVE how they look.

    1. It does take quite a bit of maintenance but once you get the hang of it it isn’t that hard and it’s actually quite relaxing doing your nails x

  4. I have a lamp so brilliant tips, thank you!

    Leigh xx