Thinking of purchasing an at-home gel nails kit?
I have tried both CND Shellac and Bluesky Shellac and in my opinion Bluesky is overall the best! Shocking – especially as the polish costs a third of the price (£5 compared to £15).
Here are my observations on Bluesky and Shellac:
- CND Shellac base coat is easier to remove
- CND Shellac also has slightly classier colours
- You may need an extra coat of colour with Bluesky
- Bluesky colours are generally brighter
- Bluesky top coat is glossier than CND
- Most importantly, Bluesky lasts as long (if not longer) than CND shellac
What you’ll need
You can buy various Bluesky Shellac or CND Shellac starter kits from Amazon, or purchase the following separately.
- UV or LED lamp (LED is quicker and doesn’t need bulb changes, but more expensive)
- Nail file
- Cuticle sticks or pusher
- Nail buffer block
- Nail cleanser liquid or sterile alcohol wipes
- Lint free dry wipes
- Gel base coat
- Gel colour
- Gel top coat
- Finishing liquid (isopropyl alcohol)
- Gel nail removal liquid (acetone)
- Cuticle oil
How to apply
- File and shape your nails
- Using a cuticle stick or cuticle pusher, push your cuticles down and remove any excess skin or residue
- Using a nail buffer, buff the nail face gently (just enough to remove the shine)
- Using acetone and a lint-free wipe, cleanse your nails and fingertips.
- Apply a super thin base layer to your nails and cure (set) under your light (2 minutes for UV, 30 seconds for LED).
- Apply a thin layer of gel colour and cure under your light. Repeat for a second coat (and third if you wish).
- Apply top coat (this will come out much thicker but try keep it as thin as you can) and cure under your light.
- Apply isopropyl alcohol (finishing liquid) with a lint free wipe.
- Finish with cuticle oil. Done!
How to remove
Removal isn’t such fun, you’ll need patience and a good TV show while you wait!
- File some varnish off the nail face to give you a head start.
- Dip lint-free wipes in removal liquid and wrap round nail.
- Wrap foil around the wipes and leave for 15-30 minutes, depending on thickness of your gel.
- Rub varnish off with a lint-free wipe.
- Finish with cuticle oil.
Tips for DIY gel nails
You can buy colour changing nail varnishes, which activate depending on the temperature.
When applying gel colour, always wipe any excess that spills onto your skin. Otherwise, the lamp will dry the excess colour onto your skin, which will start to peel and take the rest of the varnish on your nail with it.
If you have real trouble keeping your gel varnish on the nail and not the skin, try using a water-based moisturising lotion around your nails. This way, if you do spill over it will go into he lotion, and you can just wipe when you’re done! Just be careful not to get the lotion on the nail! moisturising lotion will also stop your skin drying out too much under your lamp.
I find it easier to use little strokes when applying colour – and with gel you don’t even have to worry about streak marks. It just glides right on.
Use thin layers on the base coat and colour coats to avoid having huge, globby nails. It stops the varnish pooling around the edges, and gives a nice smooth finish. Remember, you can apply as many thin coats as you like! As long as you use your lamp each time.
Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap to get any dirt, oil or fluff off your nails. Otherwise the gel colour won’t last as long.
Always shake the nail polish. The top and base coats don’t need a shake, but the colour definitely does. This will ensure a clump-free, even manicure.
I always cure my top coat twice to ensure my nails are solid. Bear in mind that the finished gel will not feel as hard as your original nails, but will have a little gel ‘bounce’. This is normal.
Always paint the tip of the nail when applying layers. This will seal the gel nicely at the end to avoid chipping or lifting, and will make your manicure last longer.
Make sure you’re thorough with your top coat, and cover all of the colour. Otherwise the bare colour will just wipe off when you use your finishing solution, or at best it’ll last just a couple of days.
If you’ve heard of people having damaged nails from gel colours, it’s might because they haven’t kept their nails and cuticles hydrated. Moisturise every day, and use cuticle oil as often as you can.
Do not pick at your gel nails! This will likely damage them. I speak from personal experience and still have a nice big dent in my thumb nail!
Remove your gels properly by soaking them for the recommended time, and let the old polish slide off easily. Do not run or you’ll likely damage your nails.
Make sure your lamp is a 5 finger or large lamp, otherwise you’ll be curing your thumbs separately.
If you have any further questions about gel nails, comment on this post and we’ll do our best to help!
Good luck and enjoy!