Wednesday, 8 February 2012

How To Do UV-gel Nails

I bought a UV-gel nail set from Ebay about four months ago and have been using it ever since. My own nails are thin and break easily, so it's hard to keep them looking good. I'm a crafty person, so I dug up a few UV-nails tutorials and thought to myself that it doesn't look too hard. I chose a nail set that included an UV-oven (36W, I wanted a powerful one since I hate waiting), builder gel (in clear, pink and white), top coat, cleanser fluid, lint-free wipes, a brush, some nails forms, a nail file, a few nail tips and a glue. The file was rubbish, so I didn't use it at all, but everything else was really nice.

Here's what you need: an UV-oven, UV-gel (any colour is fine, I used pink), cleanser, some lint-free wipes (mine are pieces of an old bed sheet) a brush and a nail file. I don't know why I took out the top coat, since I'm not going to use it ;)
Lay all your tools out so you can reach them easily. You should also cover the table with something, I was too lazy to do it.

Remove all traces of old polish from your nails. I also filed off all old gel, except for my ring finger, because the gel on it was still fine (Pro tip: Don't stab yourself with the nail file under a nail like I did). The nail surface should be filed so that it doesn't shine and feels slightly rough, so the gel has something to hold on to. It's actually really hard to work the surface near the cuticles, but it's very important to get the gel to adhere well, otherwise your lovely nails will just pop off. File your nails to the form you want them to be. This process will only harden your nails, not alter the shape. Oval shapes last best, but I like a square shape better.

My nails looking horrible.

You can wipe your nails with the cleanser after filing to get rid of the dust and any oil that might still be on the nail surface. Don't use a nail polish remover that has oil in it, the gel will not adhere well. The cleanser is just pure acetone, you can find it cheap in any pharmacy.

Continue with painting each nail with the gel. You can use quite thick layers if your gel is light or clear, the oven will harden it just fine. You can also do multiple layers. You should avoid getting gel on your cuticles or on skin, because it heats up when it hardens and can feel uncomfortable. It's not harmful, so don't panic. You can clean it with cleanser if you make a mess.

Take some gel on the brush.

One nail with unhardened gel on, the other is still bare.

When your layers is finished, just pop your hand in the oven and switch it on. Mine automatically goes on for two minutes at a time. If you feel uncomfortable as the gel heats up, just take your hand out for a few seconds and put it back in. The burn doesn't last long. You can do two rounds of hardening if you have to take big breaks during the first. If you want to add more layers, just paint more gel on the nails and put them in the oven again. I usually do two or three layers.

In the oven!

If you get some lumps on the nails, you can wipe them with cleanser to remove the stickiness, file the lump down, and add a new gel layer.

When you are happy with the nail thickness and shape, just wipe the nails with cleanser. They will lose the shine, but also the sticky residue. I also clean the brush with the same wipe, just add more cleanser and swipe the brush across the wipe until it doesn't stick. You don't have to get the brush super clean, if you use it with only one gel colour and store it in a dark place with no dust to stick to it.

Cleanser on a wipe with cat hair.

You are done! Now the nails are ready for polish, or if you want to leave them bare, you can put the UV-topcoat on, put them in the oven once more and wipe them. The topcoat can also be applied on sticky nails, but it lasts just as well with non-sticky nails. You can file the nails if you want to, just be careful not to pull the actual nail away from the gel covering it.

Finished nails!

My nails usually last about two weeks without fixing, sometimes more sometimes less, depending on the nail shape and what kind of stuff I do with them. Putting together Ikea furniture will ruin them fast, trust me ;) I've also tried tips, nail forms, glitter gels and black gel, they all work well, but usually I'm so lazy that I just slap gel on my own nails. Forms and tips last a lot longer, I'd say about four weeks, but they take more work.

Would you like tutorials of other techniques also?

Tip: Finish the manicure with something delicious! I had waffles with strawberry jam and whipped cream :) 
Edit: I've had to shut down comments due to large amounts of spam. Please feel free to send me any questions to other posts or via email :)


  1. Really interesting! I'd like to see more! I was thiking of trying one of these sets at some point.

    1. Mine is by Fraulein 38, but anything with a decent lamp would be fine. I've been very happy with my set, it took a few nails to get my technique right but now I've done my nails for months and there's no extra cost, and the gels will last forever :)

  2. HOMG! Sooooo doing this! Thanks for the tute!

    1. You are welcome! Nice to know it was useful!

  3. You can use any kind of polish after you put the clear base gel on?
    COOL! Almost all the ones I've been checking out have special bases, special polishes (colored), and special top coats that have to be purchased... And it's $$$$ which I do not like very much!

    Gorgeous nails too- and hooray for sweet treats!

    1. There are also gel polishes and colored gels, they just last longer than regular polish, but there's nothing to stop you from using regular polish. UV-gel is also resistant to acetone, so you can use regular nail polish remover just like you'd do with your own nails.

  4. I would love to see more gel nail tutorials

  5. Great thanks. Just bought one of these kits off ebay but there are no instructions with it which is rubbish. Just done my first set of nails with just clear to start with. They look fine but don't look like they do when the nail salon does them sadly so lots of practicing needed. There's no base coat with mine so i just went straight in with the clear one (same as yours).

  6. I'm doing the same thing! I have a bunch of stuff coming from eBay to do my nails. so how hard do you find it to do both hands yourself and not screw up? I'm very right handed and can't use my left very well lol so I'm scared.

    1. I'm quite ambidextrous, so I think it's easier for me than for most right handed people! But I have friends who have learned to do both their hands with practice, so it's not impossible. You should also ask around if a friend might want to help you out, it's great to have someone helping and then you can make each other's nails :)

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