September 21, 2011

DIY Gel Nails?

Back when I had a real job in corporate marketing, I always took the time to get my nails done. Now that my days consist of keeping our house clean, chasing Manny, and well, doing damage control after he smears the contents of his diaper alllll over himself and the crib during naptime (true story - wish it wasn't)...the priority to get my nails done just isn't there.

As I mentioned, last week I was in a wedding. So I decided to get a manicure, but just had my nails polished with pink to match the wedding colors. And I kid you not - Patrick was all, "Wow! Your nails look so great!" And for the first time ever, admitted that he misses me getting my nails done. He said it's not a big deal, but he just thought it looked really nice. Which it did, especially considering what they look like now.

I've gone through stages of painting them, but unfortunately, my nails do not keep polish on well at all. In fact, it's not even been a week since I got them done and the chips are already horrible. I've heard some people talking about using gel nail polish, and how it works so much better for them, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I went to Ulta yesterday, and got so overwhelmed that I left with nothing, of course. Because turns out, you don't just paint on gel nail polish (duh Sarah). It's like, a whole system. There are a few different base polishes needed, plus an actual LED light to cure the gel polish. Which looks really cool and official, and could be very cost effective in the long run...but I'm just wondering if it really works or is worth it?

So that's what this post is all about, friends. Anyone have any experience with DIY gel nails? Or even just how to keep your polish from chipping so bad when you paint your nails with regular polish? I would love any feedback you have to share. Thanks, & happy Wednesday! :)

P.S. It is really weird for me to write a post without pictures, so I thought I'd just find an image online to share...turns out that was a bad idea. A little tip? NEVER google ugly nails. Disgusting.


  1. I'm sorry I have no advice to help you out, but I want to read the other comments. :)

  2. I always get the Shellac Gel Nails when I get a mani - last SUPER long. No chips! Love it, def worth the money. I've never tried the DIY gel nails, but did she the system at Ulta. It can't be that hard. I would have purchased it, but they were completely sold out, and have been for weeks. Someone must love it. :)

  3. I am with the previous poster. I haven't ever done the do it yourself nails but I love the Shellac nails. They cost like $30-35 (here in Arkansas) and they last 3-4 weeks. I had a dark color done and it lasted about 3 and then a french manicure and it lasted almost 4 weeks. I love them and it's totally worth it. I wash my hands a ton (I'm a nurse) and they never chipped. They just started growing out so I had the polish taken off. You have to go to the salon and they soak your nails and take the polish off. Hope that helps!

  4. I also just want to see the other comments! I would definitely consider buying it if it works!

  5. I just started doing the gel nail polish (at the salon) and I love it! I was one of those people who a manicure lasted a day and I could not grow my nails out, now they look so good all the time!

    I'm really interested to see if anyone does it themselves because it might be worth it to go that route!

  6. Hey! My nails don't keep polish well either. About a day is all I manage. I've had the gel done a few times and really like it. It will last a week to week and a half on me. Totally worth it in my book :)

  7. I haven't done it myself, just had it done at the salon. BUT, I have a friend who bought the whole Gelish system on Amazon, and her's worked just like the salon! Lasted for several weeks. I am curious about the removal at home. At the salon, they soak them in acetone FOREVER and have to scrape it of with a file. I mean, nothing you couldn't do at home, but I still wonder. I have looked up the stuff on Amazon before, just haven't purchased. I would like to at some point though, because like you, my polish chips basically the day after a manicure.

  8. I've had the gel nails done at the salon once and loved it! I think it would be cost effective to do it yourself, just my opinion. You could do it at your house, when you want. A bit of an investment at first, but you could have all of your supplies at your fingertips. Literally, ha! :) I saw they have the gel polish at Sally Beauty supply too. But Ulta usually has coupons so you could save a little $$ there.

  9. i'll be the lone dissenter. i have tried the opi version of gel nails. I don't know about the one on ulta (does a LED light contain UV rays?) but the salon dryers they have to use to harden the gel is a UV light. Very very bad for your hands in the long term. I don't think anyone ever thinks about that.

    also, you have to remove the gel fully before you can do it again. they have to use pure acetone to do that, and it is extremely hard on your nails and dries out your skin like whoa. i've heard from so many people who say it has damaged their nails.

    i love to paint my nails, but my manis only last 5 days tops. I think that is really all you can expect if you're doing actual work with your hands. it helps if you use a high quality base coat and top coat. I use opi skip chip, opi base coat, two coats of polish, and one really think top coat.

    honestly, I like to do my nails. I do them 2x a week and it is just something I do when I'm watching tv at night.

  10. I agree with AndreaLeigh. I've been in sales for so many years that I always did the tips to keep my hands looking great. So 80's but needed them to look good. I tried gel at my favorite salon and they looked great, but soaking in acetone to get the gel off is horrible for your nails and skin. Not only that but I had to use a smoother on my nails when I didn't want to use gel again which thinned them out presenting yet another problem. As of right now, I am opting for the natural, short nails with clear polish which just so happens to be in style. :) I finally decided life had better things to offer than wasted time and money at the nail salon. Now we just have to see if I stick with it! Enter skepticism...
    Wish you the best if you try it.

  11. Hey! Too funny I JUST posted about this topic a week ago! I've been getting shellac on my nails -- and it's totally worth the price if you're up for it. I got my nails done in a dark color about 2 1/2 weeks ago and my tips aren't even chipped only my nails have grown out a bit but if you can deal with that (I actually file them down even though I once heard that ruins the shellac? I haven't experienced it yet.) Also, one of the nail techs at my salon uses something called Glaze 'n Go -- you still need to cure under the light (which I know you mentioned is $$) but this supposedly does the same thing as Shellac and you can paint it over any nail color (the nail tech used it on herself.) Anyway...feel free to msg me if you have questions!! Cheers!

  12. Yes! I get the Shellac or Gel Nails (different yet the same pretty much) done at my salon. It costs $30 for a manicure and each time has lasted literally 3+ weeks (and although I don't have kids, I'm constantly doing stuff with my hands and not "easy" on my nails).

    I would recommend getting it done at the salon versus buying everything right away. I didn't know that now they were selling the products and equipment to those without a salon/license.

    It is really awesome and I think you would love it. It stays so well, looking great, for such a long time as compared to a regular manicure. I have gotten both just solid colors (dark in fall/winter, pinks, and light colors in spring/summer) and I have also gotten it done as a French manicure. The French cost I think $5 more but was worth it and looked great. I don't think you can go wrong with whatever color you do...I have no doubt that you will love it!

    Oh and FYI...they say to come back to the salon to get it taken off. No need for that. Buy pure acetone nail polish remover, pour it in a bowl, and soak nails in it for 10-15 minutes and it will come off. When you are nearing the end of your manicure and it's time for it to come off around the 3 week time period, some may start flaking or peeling. Do not start peeling it off as tempting as it is. I did and although it was entertaining while I did it (taking me back to the old days when they had the peel nail polish), I regretted it seeing as it took off the top layer of my nail along with it. So refrain from that!

    I know you'll love it!

  13. late to the party but I had to share my nail experience!

    I have not tried the gel polish but I hate anything that requires acetone b/c it is not a good combo with my psoriasis :-/

    I just use cheap polish at home. But I use Witchcraft as a base coat (it's an amazing nail hardener from Canada - then 2-3 coats of polish. Then I top it off with Seche Vite which is AMAZING SAUCE!

    My nails feel and look so soft and smooth ans shiny that they look like acrylics. And they last at least 7 days and I am a professional artist so my hands go through a lot.

    Definitely try this!

  14. I get Biosculpture gels done and I love them, but I really think I can do it myself for a lot less. My nail tech files them and recoats....NO acetone! Ben getting them done this way for years with no problems.
    I was hoping to read more about diy.....

  15. I just bought the starter kit with the uv light from Ulta yesterday. It was $80 and included everything you need. Even though there are quite a few steps it is a pretty quick process. You only have to set each coat under the light for 45 seconds. My nails dont look perfect today but I think after I practice a few times they will just as good as the salons :)

  16. Beyond amazing. Love the effects you got! Thanks for the attribution! Wish to see your at the next review! I feel very similar on this topic but have some new ideas also.

    Jane - Gel nail polish kit


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