Well...life is still getting in the way. But lets get right to it. PS: I've been working on this for a week+
I love having a DIY gel mani. Being a working mom, I feel guilty spending my hard earned money on nails... especially if I can do them myself. So 2 years ago I convinced my husband to buy me the Sensationail kit by Nailene (it was readily available- not so much anymore). I paid R799 for the kit- which supplies enough polish to give you 5 full manis. Your investment will be paid up by the 4th.
I started using the Essence Gel Nails at home top coats with normal polish- but it was still a schlep- waiting for the nails to dry and then adding top coat- most often the next day. And it's really difficult to work with vs gel polish so it was really diffucult getting ONE even thin coat on the nail. But it did the job.
Forward 2 years on I've found the precision gel polish range from Planet Nails. In general- they are THE MOST AFFORDABLE place to buy DIY beauty products- hair, wax, nails, massage...they have it and the quality is great. I've used their acrylic as well and they really last on my problematic nails.
Back to they DIY. These are the steps I follow to apply the precision gel polish. I applied Bubblegum Pink Number 040.
*I use a LED lamp and cure for 30 secs- if using UV cure for 120secs*
I spray everything (cuticle pusher, file, etc) I will be using with sanitizer and let dry- including my hand and nails.
Push back cuticles with cuticle pusher (I apply Malava cuticle remover the day before and roll back the cuticles from the nails)
File and shape nails.
Lightly buff away top layer of natural nails to remove shine (I use their white buffing block)
Use sanitizer on a lint free wipe to wipe away all the dust
Apply Bond-It to all the nails- not touching the skin or cuticle
Apply base coat to the nails capping each one- avoiding the cuticle while getting as close as I can to it- cure for 30 seconds
*I do four fingers left, for fingers right, thumbs. I do them all from start to finish in these sections*
Apply colour polish- be sure to cap the edge- and cure 30 seconds
Apply second coat and cure for 30 seconds (you can apply a third coat if needed- apply and cure)
Apply top coat and cure for 30 seconds *You can also use UV glaze but it only cures under UV light- cure for 90 seconds*
Wipe with lint free wipe saturated in gel finishing wipe (or alcohol that you can buy at dis-chem in the first aid isle). If you opted to use the UV glaze do not wipe- the nails cure to a super shiny finish and no wipe is needed.
And you're set for the next 2 weeks:)
A few tips I have:
*TAKE YOUR TIME. You cannot rush application. You will be set for 2 weeks and mistakes cannot be removed unless you soak off!
*Sit in a well lit area- you can't avoid your cuticle if you can't see where you're applying
*Make sure you cure your layers for the right times! I once undercured and only realized the evening when the polish was moving around and there was a liquid layer in the middle.
*Apply THIN layers. This also leads to undercuring.
*Cap the edges to seal the nails.
*Shake colours before applying- sometimes they settle at the bottom
I changed my colour after 1 week:) and removed after a week so 2 weeks full wear. Could have gone longer but I was getting bored and another colour change makes for super thick nails.
I did the following:
Buffed off the topcoat off from my nails
Pushed back cuticles
Sanitised the nails
Apply Bond-IT on natural nails (I had a few chips- my nails are my tools)
Apply Base and cure
Apply new colour and cure- 2 coats
Apply topcoat and cure
New Charcoal mani for the rest of the week.
REMOVAL:I would remove the gel polsih the fillowing way: THERE IS NO EASY WAY.
File down the topcoat- I have an electric nail file so would file as far as I can)
Cut cotton rounds in half
Cut 10 foil squares
Soak (and really SOAK) the cotton rounds in PURE acetone
Apply to nail
Wrap in foil
Wait 15 mins
Remove foil- if it removes easily go forward, if not... reapply
Remove the gel carefully with orangewood stick.
Here is the initial mani, still need some practice at the cuticles...