DIY Nails: A Guide to Gel Nails
There’s nothing that makes someone feel more confident than successfully taking their nails from zero to hero, all from the comfort of their couch. The innovation of at-home manicures and pedicures for nail enhancement has been a big one, and we are the better for it.
In 1978, when Orly CEO Jeff Pink patented the first-ever at-home DIY nail kit for the French manicure — coining the phrase in the process. Back then, a French mani was intended for Hollywood actresses to achieve a simple and universal nail look quickly at home that would suffice for all costume changes in almost any film. The classic white nail tips have remained a staple of the nail industry since.
Since those days, the idea of bringing the nail salon to your house has boomed in more ways than one. People have more access than ever to the equipment for nail enhancement. You can find almost anything you’d need shipped to your door the next day.
Almost any major store you go to will sell a set of cheap press-on nails, nail glue, and a spread of polishes in every color. Online, you can find dip powders and acrylic nail kits, base coats, topcoats, nail polish remover, nail hacks, tutorials, nail care, and anything else that suits your fancy. Still, while all these options are available, they may not be worth your time and money.
While the market for nails is saturated with endless options, we know the best at-home nails are semi-cured gel nails. They are durable, long-lasting, gorgeous, and affordable. So, we thought we’d give you the lowdown on how the DIY of semi-cured gel nails and how easy they are to use.
Keep reading if you’re curious about how these little gems could take your nails to the next level.
Prep Is the First Step
As it goes with anything you set out to accomplish, preparation is vital for success. This is no different in the world of nails. The way you prepare your nail plate for the application of the gel can completely alter the longevity and quality of the nails once they are on.
There are a few necessary tools you’ll need for the prep of your own nails to ensure you’re getting the most out of your manicure. You’ll need:
- Prep pads — these wipe away oil, water, and any other moisture present on your natural nails
- A wooden cuticle stick — this is for apply even pressure on the your gel strips so the nails adhere well to your nails
- Nail file — for shaping your natural nail before applying the gel strips.
It’s as simple and easy as using these few tools. And don’t worry — they’re all included in your nail kit from ohora. Just open your box and you’re ready to prep.
First things first: You’ll want to file your natural nail to your desired length and nail shape.
Whatever your own nails look like before applying the manicure is the same shape and size they’ll be afterward.
Once you’ve achieved the perfect nail shape, you can make use of the prep pad provided for you in your ohora manicure set. Another great way to help your gel nail better adhere to your nail plate is by buffing them.
Think of it in the same way that potters will score or buff part of their clay pots so that they can add handles or other elements and ensure they stay put. It makes for a better base all around.
Once you’ve prepped, shaped, and buffed, you can finish up the initial prep of each nail by methodically pushing away any excess cuticle growth that might’ve made its way along your nail.
The more space you make on your nail for the gel to mold to, the better the result.
How Do I Apply Gel Strips?
Now we’re getting to the fun part. Not that prep isn’t the best, but the nail art itself is where the real party is, and we all know it. No matter what DIY manicure you decide on, the application is quick and easy every time.
With your nails fully prepped and ready, simply remove each gel nail one at a time and fit them to each nail. This is where that multipurpose tool will come in handy again. Use it to smooth down all the seams and edges of the gel polish directly to the mold of your nail. It couldn’t be easier.
Once your manicure has fully adhered to your own nails, you can trim away all that excess gel material. You can do this with any pair of nail clippers you have lying around by clipping away whatever length of gel doesn’t fit your nail plate.
Then after your semi-cured gel nails are manicured in place, it’s time to mani “cure” them under our at-home UV lamp. Your gel will go from semi-cured to fully cured in two to three sessions under the lamp, and who doesn’t love that?
Just like that, you’re almost done. Only a few steps left until you’re ready for youryou night out on the town or your day of fun in the sun. Now that you’ve got fully cured nail art decorating your fingertips, you can snag that nail file again and clean up any rough edges, polishing your finished product.
We also offer a Pro Glossy Top Gel topcoat for those out there that are seeking that extra sheen of perfection to wear out. This is cured the same way any gel would be under the UV lamp, and wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, you’re all done.
Congratulations on achieving your new home manicure for a fraction of the nail salon price. If you’ve been looking for a more affordable and nail-healthy method against dip powders, acrylic nails, and the harshness of acetone, then you might’ve just found it.
Now, you can take all that newfound nail knowledge to all your friends as the nail educator that you are.
As awesome as it feels to have a fresh manicure, all good things must come to an end. We know what a sad affair it is to reset your new favorite design — until you find your new new favorite, of course. So, we wanted to make the removal process quick and easy.
Here’s one big DON’T when it comes to the removal of any nail: Don’t peel it directly off. Peeling and pulling nails that have been fully bonded to your nail plate aggravates the nail beds beneath.
If your nail beds are damaged, then the overall health of your nails will decline — and that is the last thing any of us want.
Instead, you want the proper removal tools at your disposal. For other types of nails, such as dip powders or acrylic powders, you’ll be soaking the thick, cured material in acetone — a chemical solvent in nail polish remover. This loosens the bonded chemical makeup and softens it to the point that it can be gently scraped away from your nails and not pulled away.
In the case of our gel nails, you’ll need just a few amazing tools to make the removal mess-free, quick, and easy. To remove the strips as safely as possible, you’ll want to simply drip some nail polish remover onto your cuticle line or the multipurpose wooden tool provided to you for application.
Using that to carefully drag in the direction of your cuticle along each edge of the gel will see it removed painlessly and perfectly, leaving behind a very happy and healthy nail bed ready for its next design. Wipe away any excess adhesive from your nail plate, and you’re all set to go.
The Beginner Becomes the Master
Now that you have a comprehensive, everything-you-need-to-know tutorial for your journey into DIY home manicures, you can have salon-quality nails all year round.
Try out a fresh set of ombre pink, a black French tip, or maybe a sleek and sexy gloss red. You could do a delicate floral accent or luminescent pearl decals to up the ante. Maybe you’re a quirky pattern kind of person and want to try a set full of mismatched textures and colors. Whatever your style, ohora has you covered.
At ohora help make your nail dreams happen and you can bring them to life all on your own this time. And if you feel like changing your mind and switching up the style, you don’t have to wait weeks for your next nail appointment.
You’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment every time you see your nails in action — and you’ll look good, too.