How to: UV Gel nails/Shellac at home

First and foremost, can I just say how excited I am to finally share this with you?! I recommend this to all of my girlfriends who love taking care of their nails and keeping them all pretty and nice. I have been using Shellac regularly for more than 6 months and I have had it done occasionally in the past, so I finally feel comfortable to talk about it!

UV Gel nails are not your old gel nails or acrylics or whatever was in trend 7-8 years ago. This is basically a nail polish which you bake using a lamp and then wear until you remove it 2-4 weeks later. It is also called Shellac.

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Now, after we cleared that out, let’s start with the fun stuff.

Are UV Gel Nails for you?

UV Gel Nails are for you, if:
– Your nails chip on the second or third day.
– Your nails break easily.
– You don’t have the time to deal with your nails 2 or 3 times per week.
– You are into the simple, elegant and one-colour-per-nail look.

Basically, UV Gel Nails are for everyone. And everyone can do them.
They are easy to achieve and can survive a natural disaster. I was wearing Shellac during my summer trip to Bulgaria in 2016. They survived the heat and salty water at the sea side and the cold in the mountains, then they survived a heavy duty cleaning at home. Without a chip. The only reason to take them off was my nails growing. On that note: Please remove your nail polish after 2 weeks. Seriously, no matter how slow your nails grow, it is not pleasant to see them after 4 weeks of wear.

Step 1: Give yourself a proper manicure.

For me personally this means filing, softening and pushing down cuticles (and cutting some of them extremely carefully!) Don’t skip this part, one can always tell.
Here are my weapons of choice:

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Step 2: Prepare your nails.

File the surface of your nail very slightly (!!) to ensure that the nail polish will adhere to your nail and remove its natural oils. You have two options here – isopropyl alcohol or a special primer, usually called something like ultrabond. An example.
I have only used alcohol and it seems to work just fine.

Step 3: Apply nail polish in thin layers and bake 2 minutes after each.

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– Go in the usual order – a base coat, two layers of color and a top coat. You need to make sure that you cover all of your nail with each coat and don’t forget to seal the tips. Otherwise your nail polish will chip or lift the very next day!
– Do one hand at a time. Obviously.
Fix any mistakes immediately with a tooth pick. This is not a regular nail polish, you can’t wait until it dries and then just wash your hands and expect everything outside of your nail to fall off. It won’t. After you bake, there is no going back so make sure you keep the nail polish only on your nails and clean up your cuticles before baking.
– The lamp: Any 36W UV lamp will do. There are plenty on Amazon for 15-35 USD. You can get the same result with a LED lamp and only baking for 10 seconds, but I have never used one. Most UV lamps have two modes – one of them is baking for 2 minutes straight and the other one is baking until you shut it off. It is very straightforward process.
– The nail polish: Now, in the most ideal case you would use CND which is the original and costly option. I use a dupe brand called bluesky. They have glitters and pigment powders as well!
The base coat and the top coat together cost around 15 EUR on amazon.de and you can buy 5 colours for 35 EUR, which is a great deal 🙂 There are many nail polish brands with a higher price point.

You can also get bluesky from their official UK website, which offers free shipping to 20 countries!

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Step 4: Remove the sticky layer with isopropyl alcohol.

Yes, exactly! After you bake the top coat, your nails are pretty much done! You only need to wait a minute and then use isopropyl alcohol on a cotton pad to remove the sticky layer which was left after the baking process.
And that’s it! You can touch your nails, you can put on your jeans, you can go to bed, they will be fine!

I personally restrain from using cuticle oil and water for 3-4 hours. The whole process takes me around an hour, may be more if I really need to work on my manicure.

Enjoy your beautiful nails for the next two weeks!

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