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MP! Style Guide: How to give yourself a gel manicure at home


If you’re capable of painting your own nails with regular polish, then you’re capable of giving yourself a gel mani and saving loads of money. You’ll need:

  • Gel nail polish (base, color, and top coat)
  • Nail file
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • LED or UV nail light

Let’s get started.

  1. Do one hand at a time.
  2. Start by prepping your nails. Shape them and gently push cuticles back, buff the surface with a fine-grit file, and swipe them with rubbing alcohol to remove any oil.
  3. Paint the clear base coat onto your nails. If any gets on your skin, be sure to wipe it off before curing, because it will get hot.
  4. Cure the base coat under the light.
  5. Paint your desired color over the base coat.
  6. Cure under the light.
  7. Paint a second coat of your desired color over the first coat.
  8. Cure under the light.
  9. If necessary (for light or streaky colors) paint a third coat over the second coat and cure under the light.
  10. Paint the clear top coat over the color coats.
  11. Cure under the light.
  12. Swipe rubbing alcohol over your freshly painted nails to remove the tacky feeling.
  13. Repeat steps 1-12 on your other hand.

That’s it! Totally doable, and not at all intimidating. The cost of a gel kit is usually the same as the cost of two gel manis in the salon, so you’ll recoup the cost in no time.


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Written by Jackie Kolgraf

I'm the lead style/beauty writer & U.S. content coordinator here at Maximum Pop!, where I get to combine my love for Louis Tomlinson with his love for Adidas. I hail from Boston, and I'm obsessed with my wiener dog, nail art trends, One Direction, and perfume samples. I believe in daily pizza.

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