Gel Manicure

For the past few seasons, nail art has been spotted everywhere from the runways to the sidewalks to the boardroom—whether it’s neon hues, preppy patterns or bejeweled bling.

Our fingers have been looking feisty for months now, but as we move into spring, we’re looking forward to more subtle—and long lasting—styles.

A classic manicure, like a bold red or subdued blush, is timeless, making you look polished and pulled-together in no time. Speaking of time, we don’t have much of it! If you can’t book it to the salon, you can still get a budge-proof mani thanks to at-home gel kits. Peruse our favorite kits below and read on for our gel manicure tutorial.

1. SensationalNail Starter Kit; 2. Red Carpet Manicure Must Haves Kit; 3. Sally Hansen Salon Pro Gel Nail Polish; 4. Red Carpet Gel Polish Pro Kit; 5. Sally Hansen Salon Pro Gel Kit

What You’ll Need:
Salon Pro Gel KitThis kit comes with everything you need, including a special LED light to harden the manicure for a diamond-tough finish.

What You’ll Do:

1. Start with clean, dry nails with pushed-back cuticles and apply the base coat to one hand, curing the coat under the LED lamp for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other hand. (You might need to dry your fingers and thumb separately.)

2. Once both hands have a base coat, use the same process to apply the gel polish and top coat—one coat of gel polish, 30 seconds of dry time under the lamp. If any of the gel polish gets on your fingers, use a cuticle stick to wipe it off.

3. Repeat until both hands have two full coats of gel polish and one layer of top coat. Then use one of the enclosed cleansing pads to remove any residue.

4. Voila! That’s it—nails will be fully dry and your manicure will be hardened, ready for two weeks of doing dishes, digging through purses, typing, cooking, folding laundry and all the other activities that we like to call normal everyday life. Except now, your nails will look fabulous as you do them.

5. Once you’re ready to change polish, don’t pick or peel it off—soak a cotton ball in the gel polish remover (or 100% pure acetone) and use a small square of aluminum foil to wrap it around your nail. After about 15 minutes, the gel will easily come off your nails with a cuticle stick.

Click through the full step-by-step photo tutorial below

Start with clean, dry nails with pushed-back cuticles
File nails to desired shape
Wipe nails clean with nail polish remover
Apply the base coat to one hand
Leave under LED lamp for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other hand
Once both hands have a base coat, use the same process to apply gel polish
For one coat of gel polish, dry for 30 seconds under the lamp
Repeat on other hand
Use the same process to apply the clear top coat, dry for 30 seconds under the lamp
Use one of the enclosed cleansing pads to remove any residue
Voila! Looking gorgeous with an at-home gel manicure

Photos by Chris New

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