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To gel or not to gel? That is the question. The answer is hell yes! Gel polish lasts weeks without chipping and never loses the high gloss shine. When experimenting with nail art there will be many fails (trust me) but, you can easily wipe it off and start again without wrecking the polish underneath.
You will need either a UV lamp or an LED lamp to cure (dry and harden) the gel polish. I use a UV lamp but LED's cure faster (30 seconds compared to 2 minutes for UV). I'm not sure how an LED lamp will hold up when using thick builder gel to extend nails or encapsulate glitter though. I found an amazing bundle at Born pretty store that has everything you need to get you started for the price of 1 mani/pedi! Check it out here.
When using gel for the first time make sure to prep the nails, apply a base coat and cure. If you're not sure how to prep your nails, check out my post on DIY manis.
Paint the gel in thin layers. Wipe most of the excess off of the brush before applying. Gel likes to run if it's too thick and it doesn't stay put until you cure. You don't want to flood the cuticle area. Make sure to wipe off any gel on the skin and cuticles before curing as it will cure to the skin. I use 3 thin layers of gel to get the richest colour.
One of the many benefits of a gel mani is that you don't have to wait forever for the polish to dry. I used to paint my nails late at night so I wouldn't have any "adulting" left to do and ruin my polish. Dishes and nail polish are mortal enemies or so it seems. Resist the urge to touch it after it comes out of the light though. There's a sticky layer and you don't want to get and dirt/oil in the gel before you finish it off with the top coat.
Another tip when using gel is to cap the free edge. That just means to put polish on the edge of your nail to prevent chips and lifting. Do this for every coat (even the base and top coat) and your mani will last for weeks.
Try it! You'll get a chip free, high gloss, salon quality manicure that lasts for weeks! Comment below and let me know how your first gel experience went!
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Any tutorial requests? Contact me or comment on this post. I'd love to hear from you!
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