Gel manicures give nails a gorgeous glossy finish that really lasts. No wonder they’re so popular! Try it once and you’ll be hooked. Plus, all the products you need for professional, at-home results are readily accessible at your local Uniprix.
So if the latest trends and gorgeous nails are your thing, this DIY technique is definitely something you should look into.
What is a gel manicure?
Gel manicures are no longer offered exclusively in salons. You can now take matters into your own hands! The technique is super easy to learn and you get fantastic-looking nails in a few simple steps.
The process involves applying several coats of gel polish to nails and then briefly curing the polish under a UV or LED lamp. The result is a smooth, streak-free, high-shine manicure that will not chip.
Much to our delight, gel manicure starter kits with lamps are easy to find at Uniprix. In some kits, the gel polish comes in a bottle, in others as strips. The colours offered vary from one brand to the next.
Sample of at-home gel manicure basics you can find on store shelves:
- Mini LED (light-emitting diode) lamp with timer
- Coloured gel polish
- Gel base and top coats
- Cleanser pads
- Cuticle stick and nail file
- Nail buffer
- Alcohol and acetone
Difference between LED and UV lamps
Most salons do their gel manicures with a UV lamp. If you are going to expose your skin to this type of lamp, you should, as a precautionary measure, apply sunscreen to protect your hands from ultraviolet rays. Lamps sold for personal use generally work with LED bulbs.
Here are the advantages of using LED over UV lighting:
- Drying time is faster (30 to 60 seconds vs. 2 minutes with UV lamps)
- Bulbs have a longer lifespan and use less electricity
- No need to apply sunscreen, since LED lamps are safe for skin. This factor is important, especially if you plan on making the gel manicure part of your regular routine.
Three steps in 30 minutes or less!
1. Prep. Push back your cuticles and file your nails to the desired shape and length. Gently file the surface of the nail with a nail buffer. Clean each nail with a little alcohol or acetone to dull it and ensure better adhesion.
2. Apply the polish. Start with the base coat and follow with the coloured gel polish (the number of coats depends on the desired level of colour intensity). End with a finishing coat. Between coats, place your nails under the lamp to cure the polish. The technique varies slightly for strip gel manicures, but the time under the lamp remains the same. Lamps have an automatic shut-off after 30 seconds.
3. Finish. Clean your fingers with an alcohol cleanser pad to seal the polish and remove any sticky residue. You’re done!
All you need to do now is pick your favourite shade and give it a try! You’ll get an awesome finish that will not budge for at least two weeks.
For best results and an iron-clad manicure, apply several thin coats of gel polish and keep it from bleeding onto your skin. If you do get some on your skin, remove it with a cuticle stick or cleanser pad before placing your nails under the lamp.
When you’re ready to take off the polish, gently file the surface of your nails and soak your fingers in acetone for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, remove the polish with a wood nail stick. If you do not want to soak your fingers or toes in acetone, you can always wrap each nail with an acetone-dosed cotton ball held in place with aluminium foil. Leave on for the required time.
Tempted to try an at-home gel manicure? Drop by your local Uniprix. Your beauty consultant can tell you exactly which products you’ll need for the job.
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