How To Use Gel Nail Polish

Nail Polish Perfection: How To Use Gel Nail Polish

Friday 27th Oct 2023 |

Are you new to using gel nail polish? If so, we’ve got a post packed full of tips and tricks for applying gel nail polish and achieving the perfect gel manicure.

In this post, we’ll cover everything from using a nail buffer and cuticle oil, to prepping and finishing your mani and the best gel polishes for specific looks and trends tailored to beginners (and those who are re-visiting using gel polish!).

Gel Nail Polish vs Regular Nail Varnish

Gel nail polish has taken the beauty industry by storm, and for good reason. Unlike traditional nail polishes, which can chip or smudge within a few days, gel nail polish is designed to last for several weeks without losing its shine or colour.

It’s also known for its smooth and glossy finish that looks like it was professionally done.

This means you don’t need to go to the nail salon for a nail gel manicure – you can easily achieve the same results at home.

Preparing Your Nails For A Gel Nail Manicure

Before you start applying your gel nail polish, it’s important to prepare your nails properly. This will ensure that your mani lasts longer and looks flawless. 

Follow these steps for the perfect prep:

  • Start by removing any old nail polish with a gentle acetone-free nail polish remover
  • Use a nail buffer to gently buff the surface of your nails. This will create a smooth canvas for the gel polish to adhere to
  • Push back your cuticles using a cuticle pusher or orange stick. If needed, you can also trim any excess skin around your cuticles with a pair of clean cuticle scissors
  • Apply cuticle oil to each nail and gently massage it in. This will help nourish your nails and keep the cuticles from drying out

How To Apply Gel Nail Polish

Once your nails are prepped, it’s time to start applying the gel nail polish. Here are some key tips on how to apply gel polish perfectly.

  • Start with a thin layer of base coat, making sure to cover the entire nail. This will help the gel polish adhere better and prevent any staining on your natural nails
  • When applying the gel polish, use thin and even strokes to avoid any streaks or clumps. You can also use a toothpick or orange stick to clean up any excess polish around your cuticles
  • Make sure to cure each layer of gel polish under a UV or LED lamp for the recommended amount of time. This will ensure that the polish is fully dried and won’t smudge
  • Finish off with a layer of top coat to seal in your mani and give it a beautiful shine. Again, cure this layer under the lamp for the recommended time

Curing Gel Nail Polish

Curing gel nail polish is a crucial step in ensuring your mani lasts as long as possible. Whether you’re using an LED or UV lamp, it’s important to follow the recommended curing times for each layer of polish.

If you’re short on time, invest in a high-quality LED lamp that can cure your nails in just 30 seconds. This will save you time and ensure that your mani is fully cured and long-lasting.

Removing Gel Nail Polish

When it’s time to remove your gel nails, resist the urge to peel or scrape it off. This can damage your nails and leave them weak and brittle.

Instead, follow these steps for safe and gentle removal:

  • Soak a cotton pad in acetone-based nail polish remover and place it on top of your natural nails
  • Wrap each finger with foil to hold the cotton pad in place and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • After soaking, gently push off any remaining polish using a cuticle pusher or orange stick. If there are still stubborn patches of polish, repeat the soaking process.
  • Finish by washing your hands and applying cuticle oil to nourish your nails after the removal process

Best Gel Nail Polishes & Looks For Beginners

If you’re just starting with gel nail polish, it’s important to choose the right polishes that are easy to work with and have a good formula.

Some of the most popular beginner nail polish looks and colours are:

  • Nude shades: These are versatile and can be worn for any occasion
  • French manicure: A classic look that’s easy to achieve with gel polish
  • Ombre nails: Use two different shades of the same colour to create a trendy gradient effect
  • Glitter or metallic finishes: Perfect for special occasions or adding some sparkle to your everyday look

Whatever your style, there’s a gel nail polish for you. Just remember to always follow the proper application and removal techniques to ensure a long-lasting and beautiful manicure every time.

So go ahead and experiment with different colours, trends, and designs – the possibilities are endless!


Can gel nail polish damage my natural nails?

When done correctly, gel nail polish should not cause any damage to your natural nails. Just make sure to properly prep and remove the polish, and give your nails a break between manicures.

How long does a gel manicure last?

A well-done gel manicure can last up to 2-3 weeks without any chipping or fading. This is one of the main benefits of gel nail polish vs regular polishes!

Can I use regular nail polish over gel polish?

It’s not recommended to layer regular nail polish on top of gel polish, as it can affect the curing process and cause the gel polish to peel off. 

Do I need to use a base coat with gel nail polish?

Yes, using a base coat is important for protecting your natural nails and helping the gel polish adhere better.