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Gel Polish Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Gel Polish Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Gel nail polish is changing the beauty industry as we know it. Suddenly, it’s possible to achieve salon-quality results from home! You don’t have to be a beauty guru or stylist to master gel polish. It’s all about your technique and you can learn the right technique right from home. Working with gel polish isn’t the same as working with traditional nail polish. As a beginner, it might take some practice to get the hang of the new polish, but once you learn, you’ll never go back! Here are some tips and tricks for gel polish beginners.

Take Care of Your Nails

Your first step to great looking gel nails every time is simply always taking care of your nails. It can be hard to get into a great nail care habit if you aren’t used to focusing so much on your nails. After all, they’re easy to forget sometimes! Focusing on your nail health will make sure you have a great foundation for the gel polish. You should never apply nail polish of any kind to dry or damaged nails! To take care of your nails, use cuticle lotion and let your nails breathe between nail polish colors. Your nails will thank you!

Clean Your Nails Before Painting

With traditional polish, you don’t have to do much prep work before you get down to painting. With gel polish, it’s all about prepping your nails. Aside from creating a healthy nail care routine, you should also clean your nails thoroughly before painting. Your nails need to be clean before you can paint! Since the gel polish adheres itself directly to the nail, if you have any lint or dirt your polish will stick to that instead of the nail. You can use an alcohol wipe to clean your nails before painting. Clean the nail and the skin around it to make sure you don’t miss anything!

Apply Lotion Around Nails

Everyone’s suffered from a sloppy at-home nail polish makeover at least once in your life. We aren’t perfect, and even if you’re a practiced stylist you still will make mistakes. Since gel polish can be difficult to remove, it’s especially important you don’t get much of it on your skin around the nails. To avoid this, apply lotion around your nails, especially around the cuticles! After your manicure, you can wipe the lotion right off and with it any extra polish!

Use the Right Supplies

Gel polish is all about your supplies. Since each polish has a unique formula, you need to make sure you’re using high-quality polish for your at-home manicures. Choose a high-quality brand with a lot of nail polish colors that interest you. Remember you will also need a light to cure the polish as well as a way to safely remove your manicure.

Gel Nail Tips for Beginners

Use Short Strokes and Thin Layers

If you’re not used to gel polish, it’s easy to mess up the actual painting process with the wrong strokes. Unlike regular polish, you only need short strokes along the nail. Gel polish is naturally very thick. If you use too long of strokes, the polish will run too thin. You also need to use thin layers to make sure you avoid any pooling of the polish. That’s why it’s so important to choose high-quality polish! You’ll make sure the color shines through even with a thin coat. When painting with gel polish you can do up to 3-4 thin coats until you reach your desired thickness and color.

Paint Over Your Nail Edges

One of the most unique parts of painting with gel polish is needing to paint over the edges. Because gel polish cures so uniquely, any free edges that aren’t covered will be prone to chipping. Since you want your gel manicure to last as long as possible, you should paint over the free edge of your nails. All you have to do is go over the end of your nail with a thin layer of gel polish. This will ensure your manicure lasts the longest time and looks great!

Never Pick Your Polish!

You might have heard that gel polish is particularly damaging to nails. This really isn’t the case as long as you’re doing everything right! The trouble comes in if you pick your nail polish after it’s been cured and dried. Gel polish adheres to the top layer of your nail, so when you pick at it you’re actually picking at the top layer of your nail! That means major damage that you won’t see until you take all the polish off. Instead, use a dedicated gel polish remover and go through the right steps to remove your polish safely without damage.

The Perfect Gel Manicure

Gel nail polish makes it possible for you to achieve salon-quality manicures at home, even if you’re not a professional. The perfect gel manicure is a reality if you follow the tips and tricks above. Remember, gel polish isn’t the same as regular polish, so it might take more time to get the hang of. Don’t give up! Learning to perfect your gel manicure technique is well worth the wait. Your nails will look amazing in no time!

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Elizabeth O

This was a really helpful article. You provided some really great and informative tips for handling gel polish.


Amazing article! All your tips are spot on, as a nail blogger I appreciate that you mention not to pick the polish! that really damages the nail bed.


i have never felt so enlightened on the art of polishing. haha love it


These are really good tips. I’ve only tried Sally Hansen’s gel polish & it only lasts a few days. If I try gel polish again, I want it to be cruelty-free.


These are some really great tips, I was looking for something like this to get started with the gel polish. I tried few times and maybe I was missing the short strokes due to which the finish was not what I expected.


I agree with you on the short and thin strokes. When I first ventured into the gel world I had it all wrinkling from underneath as the polish was too thick. I know how popular gels are but I still prefer regular polish on myself because I feel like I can take more frequent care of them. Plus nail polish on me is only on for a day or two!


I didnt know about applying lotion around nail before applying gel polish is one of the tricks. These are great information for a beginner like me. I use to apply those traditional nail polish but I guess is time to give it a go on gel polish.

Tanvi Rastogi

I have never applies gel polish …. but I want to know. Thank you for the tips. They are super helpful. I do have to let my nails breathe between colors. They are starting to break and be brittle. 🙁

❥ tanvii.com

Michelle Leslie

I must admit I was never a big fan of gel nail polish, but after reading your post I think I know why. The Salon I went to probably didn’t have a cooking clue what they were doing. I honestly don’t remember them doing half the things you mentioned and my nails took such a long time to recover afterwards too. I might just give it another try one day.