With gel nails costing upwards of R390 a pop, your favourite monthly manicure or pedicure could cost you close to R5,000 a year. We show you how to get gel nails at home in a few easy steps and share our pick of the best budget products.
Luckily a new breed of high street vanishes which claim to deliver the same glossy, high-shine look of a salon manicure without the complexity of LED/UV lights, time-consuming removal and an expensive in-salon price tag have hit our shores.
Unlike hard acrylic products, these hybrid formulas combine pure nail vanish with a flexible high-tech gel, which bends and moves with the nail plate.
What does that mean for you and your nails? Well, if you catch your nail on the car door it’s less likely to snap. Plus, these clever polishes boast around 7-14 days of chip-free wear.
Of course, as with all things beauty (including self-tan), preparation is key. If you want to do gel nails at home and get a manicure that goes the distance, you will need to ensure you have a clean and tidy nail plate.
Here’s how to prime your nail plate at home…
Step 1: Wash your hands
It may sound obvious but always start by washing your hands, especially if you have recently used nail vanish remover – this will give your new application of varnish longevity.
Step 2: File your nails
File your nails into your desired shape – square, oval, “squoval” or pointed – but be careful to only shape the free edge (the white section). Resist the temptation to go further as it will weaken the nail’s structure and increase the chances of snapping.
Step 3: Apply cuticle cream
Once your nails are clean, apply a small bead of cuticle cream to each cuticle and massage it into the surrounding skin gently. Next, take a wooden manicure stick and rub the slanted edge of it across the nail plate in circular motions to lift away any dead cuticle and flaking nail.
Tip: Apply minimal pressure. If you press too hard you risk denting your nail plate or jabbing the delicate skin surrounding it.
Step 4: Remove cuticles
Pick up the cuticle cutters and carefully trim away any dead cuticle, skin or over hanging nail which has lifted. Be careful not to start cutting into the eponychium (healthy skin above the cuticle) – you will know if you do this as it will bleed.
Step 5: Wash your hands again
Finally, wash your hands a final time to remove the dust from filing and any cuticle cream residue.
Your nails are now ready for your polish application, and we’ve compiled the very best gel-like lacquers for a long-lasting home manicure…
Click here to see a list of at-home gel nail polishes from R49 – no UV/LED light or soak off required!