Skip the Salon: Your At-Home Gel Nails Guide

WE LOVE GEL NAILS for a couple of reasons: They last longer than a traditional mani and look fabulous. We also dislike gel manicures for a couple of reasons: Salon visits are time-consuming and inconvenient, and they can get expensive. That’s where this fabulous solution comes in—at-home gel nails. Our pick for a simple and fabulous at-home gel manicure? Nutra Nail Gel Perfect UV Free Gel Color. The Nutra Nail Gel Perfect comes with three parts: gel polish, activator, and cleaner. Here’s our guide for using this system—remember to work fast!

1. Prep
a. Remove existing nail polish.
b. Shape and file nails, washing them with soap and water to remove any oils.
Tip: Use alcohol pads to remove any lingering oils.

2. Set Up Your Workstation
a. Shake the gel-color bottle and unscrew all three caps; you’ll need to work quickly.
b. Make sure you have a paper towel to clean the brush.

3. Application
a. Step One: Activator
i. Brush on a coat of the activator. Use enough activator on all five nails on one hand so the coat is still wet when you come back to apply the color. Cover nails completely but avoid the cuticles.
b. Step Two: Gel Color
i. Apply a thin coat of gel color over the still-wet activator nails.
Tip: Be very precise about your application, and use a bit of pressure while applying to ensure the gel color and activator can blend.
ii. This coat will probably appear streaky; that’s okay! You’ll come back for another coat later.
c. Step Three: Clean Brush
i. Wipe your gel-color brush on the paper towel and place in cleaner to avoid buildup.
ii. Take brush from cleaner and place in the gel color so it’s ready for your next application.
d. Step Four: Repeat
i. Repeat Steps 1 through 3 on your other hand.
Tip: Watch this video for a great tutorial on the application process.

4. Second Coat
a. This is where you can get rid of that streaky look from the first application; repeat steps 1 through 3 on both hands! This includes the activator as well.
Tip: For truly long-lasting color, three coats will do the trick!

5. Clean Up
a. The activator brush does not need cleaning, but you should clean both your gel color and cleaner brushes after every five nails.