Why pay salon prices when you can get the perfect gel nails at home in no time for a fraction of the cost?
Thanks to a new breed of hybrid gel nail polishes that don’t require an LED/UV light to set or an expensive soak off, you can save a lot of time and money.
We’ve rounded up the best budget gel base and top coats and polishes from R45 to R200 for shiny, long-lasting gel nails.
Gel nails at home for under R100
Our pick of the latest budget gel polishes and treatments – available at your local pharmacy.
Essence The Gel Nail Polish Base Coat, R54.95, www.redsquare.co.za
When doing gel nails at home, don’t forget to start by applying a protective base coat, like Essence The Gel Nail Polish Base Coat, for maximum durability of the polish. It was voted “Best Base Coat” in the 2016 woman&home Best in Beauty Awards.
We also love Essence Better Than Gel Nails Top Sealer High Gloss, R51 (www.takealot.com). One to be whipped over any nail polish for a gel-like shine, volume and longevity, this top coat casts a protective shield that keeps smooth manicures intact.
Sally Hansen Triple Strong Advanced Gel Nail Fortifier, R71.95, www.clicks.co.za
If you’re a gel regular, your nails might have taken a knock from too many back-to-back applications. Opt for this transparent, flexible gel fortifier that will reinforce your nails and stop splitting and breaking.
Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish in Urban Turquoise, R49, www.zando.co.za
Want to experiment with colours? This bright pop of turquoise will give your nails a bold hit of fun whether you keep them short or long. Best of all, it only sets you back R49 – all the more excuse to stock up on the other chic shades.
Rimmel Super Gel Nail Polish in Darling Dahlia, R89.95, www.clicks.co.za
When pillar box red and hot pink won’t do, reach for a hot coral glaze. This 2-in-1 formula offers a built-in base coat and lasts for up to 14 days and is particularly pretty when paired with a tan or all white ensembles. You heard it here first.
Gelish Mini Nourishing Cuticle Oil, R85, www.takealot.com
To get even longer wear out of your DIY gel nails, make sure you apply a cuticle oil every night before bed. Gelish Nourish Cuticle Oil contains a unique blend Grape Seed Oil, Kukui Nut Oil, Sesame and Vitamin E to hydrate the skin and stop you picking at your cuticles.
Essence Nail Art Express Dry Drops, R44.95, www.redsquare.co.za
The best part about getting gel done in a salon is that your nails dry instantly and you don’t mess up your expensive manicure the minute you walk out the salon and dig in your bag for your keys. If you’re doing gel at home, make sure you invest in a quick dry solution like this product from Essence.
Gel nails at home for under R200
Slightly more expensive, these hybrid polishes will give you salon-quality nails at still half the price of getting gel nails professionally done.
Sorbet Pro Gel Effect Nail Polish Minted, R110, www.clicks.co.za
We’re forever fans of mint green nails, which flatter all complexions. Send your friends green with envy by snapping up Sorbet’s wearable jade polish.
L’Oréal Infallible Nail Polish in Gris Eternel, R124, www.clicks.co.za
Grey nails were all over the runways last year, and this year we predict a return in winter. Stylish and chic, this pastel grey long-lasting nail colour will you a shiny, fuller and gel-like effect. No one will know you did it at home! We love the 2-in-1 polish and top coat combo.
Avon Gel Finish Nail Enamel in Dazzle Pink, R119.90, contact an Avon representative at www.avon.co.za
The kind of shade that makes your nails appear naturally flawless, this soft, pastel pink will give you additional shimmer, a pleasing plumpness and a hue that makes all hands appear more groomed. You’ll want to wear it every day.
Essie Nail Gel in Bubbles Only, R169.95, www.clicks.co.za
You can’t go wrong with a deep red mani, and this plumping polish is as classic as it gets. The rich hue smoothes over ridges and dials up shine in just two coats. Best of all, it lasts up to 2 weeks.
Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Enamel in All or Nothing, R129.99, www.redsquare.co.za
Chalked up barely there lilacs are quickly becoming the new nude. If you are tempted to experiment with colour, make it this delicate pastel hue.
The gel cures in natural light and you’ll have shiny salon nails for over a week. Best of all, it will come off with normal nail polish remover – no expensive soak-off required!