July 14, 2014

DIY Gel Manicure with NO Lamp!

Helllllo, lovers! I deeply apologize for my blogging absence as of late. I have been enjoying this summer weather with my little guy and have spent almost the past week battling the worst sinus infection from HELL. I think you'll like what I have for you on this fine Monday morning. Or should I say on this fine #manimonday (Good God I swore I'd never use that hashtag). Whelp! I hope you're ready to save some SERIOUS SCRILL because what I'm about to show you makes me so excited that I feel like if I had to explain this in person, I'd be fumbling and jumbling and stuttering all my words up because I just couldn't get them all out in time!


I can't remember how I stumbled on Hairspray & Highheels AMAZING post about DIY gel nails, but boy howdy!! Am I glad I did! Angela (the blog owner over at H&H) wrote the coolest post including a tutorial and 7 day photo test. She makes it SUPER simple to follow and made the cutest little "how-to" that you can "Pin" to your nail themed Pinterest board (here's mine)! I had made a mental note that I wanted to try it and told myself next time I was near Sally's Beauty Supply, I'd pop in for this incredible little bottle of clear miracle polish.

If you love gel and shellac manicures as much as I do, then you know how frustrating it can be when you have to do your own manicure at home and wait for the inevitable first chip. Sometimes it happens the next day, sometimes you're lucky and you can make it a few days. I wash my hands A LOT. I do a lot of dishes. I change a lot of diapers (more hand-washing), I do a lot of laundry. My point isn't to tell you that I keep up my end of the bargain in the housekeeping department, it's that my hands see a lot of abuse and a lot of water which means manicures don't tend to last long around these parts. That's the beauty of shellac or gel manicures. They are cured with a UV lamp and they don't budge. At all. Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of running to the nail salon every 2 weeks to have my shellac properly removed and reapplied. With this method, you just need the bottle of American Classics GELOUS Advanced Nail Gel Coat, any polish of your choice, and top coat of your choice. I will tell you that if you haven't used Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. Out of the billions of clear top coats I've used, this one is leaps and bounds above the others. It really does dry insanely fast AND it gives the glossiest, shiniest finish. Do yourself a favor, and pick it up when you get your bottle of Gelous. The two together make the cutest couple since Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.

Here's what you do:

Step 1 | make sure your nails are bare and don't have any oils or lotions on them. If you want to moisturize or rub a cuticle oil in beforehand, make sure you take a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover and carefully remove any residue from nails before you apply your first coat of polish.
Step 2 | apply a very thin coat of Gelous to nails. Make SURE you wait at least 45 seconds before you apply your nail polish.
Step 3 | apply a very thin coat of the nail polish color of your choice (I used China Glaze in color "Japanese Koi" which is kind of a neon orange red). Again, wait at least 45 seconds to dry.
Step 4 | apply another very thin coat of Gelous to nails. Wait 45 seconds to dry.
Step 5 | apply another thin coat of the nail polish color of your choice.
Step 6 | apply top coat of choice. Again, I used Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Wait 45 seconds to dry.
Step 7 | apply one more coat of Gelous and let dry.

That's it! You're done! No curing under a UV light! You won't believe how shiny and glossy and sexy your new nails are and no worrying about them chipping off before you can say "Hey YOU! Check out my nails!" If you want your manicure to look as great as day 1, make sure you rub a good cuticle oil, coconut oil or olive oil into your cuticles daily to keep the skin around them soft and healthy. This easy step also keeps a bit of elasticity to your nails and polish which will give it major staying power. This makes a HUGE difference in the lifespan of a manicure.

You should be able to remove your new gel manicure with regular nail polish remover (you may have to soak a cotton ball in remover and let it sit on nails for a minute or two). If you have 100% pure acetone nail polish remover (you can find this alongside any normal nail polish remover) it will work a bit faster to remove your polish. Just make sure you wash your hands every well afterwards and then moisturize and rub some cuticle oil or coconut oil (or olive oil) into your nails and cuticles.

Here's how my mani held up after a week! I would have left it on longer, but I wanted to give myself a festive glitter mani for the 4th of July!


71 comments:

  1. Every time I do this it chips after 2 days. What am I doing wrong?

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  2. Hi Christina! Hmm...could be a few things (according to the original gal's post). I know she mentioned certain brands of nail polish don't hold up as well. Here's what she wrote:

    UPDATES & NOTES: 12/9/13
    *For anyone having issues with the ’45 second’ dry times, be sure you’re applying in thin coats and you could try dipping in ice water after the manicure sets for about 5 minutes.
    *When I say thin, I really mean thinnnnn! Like barely there strokes.
    *Like I said you can use ANY polish, just keep in mind that different brands are going to get different results. I’ve found that China Glaze, Barielle, and Sinful Colors polish work the best! OPI, Essie, Wet N Wild, & Sally Hansen it really seems to be a matter of which shade I choose, some work great and some not so much, it’s kind of a toss up at this point! I tend to reach for China Glaze first when doing this manicure.
    *Same thing with the top coat, I have found and heard from others that Seche Vite has worked the best. I’ve tried it with a Julep top coat and it was an absolute failure so I think it really depends on the formula of what you’re using. China Glaze, Gelous, and Seche Vite seem to play nice together!

    Not sure if this will help or not, but I hope so! Good luck!

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  3. Love this! I just bought the UV cure top coat from Seche Vite and was not impressed. I'll have to give this a try! I love long lasting nail color. :) Thanks for stopping by SLS, have a great weekend!

    Lulu
    simplylulustyle.com

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    1. I haven't tried the UV cure top coat from Seche Vite but I'm OBSESSED with the fast dry top coat. Hopefully this one works better for you! So glad you popped by! Enjoy!

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  4. Just tried this. Can't wait to test it!!!

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    1. Yay! I hope it works as well for you as it did for me! I'm going to do it again this weekend with kind of a denim blue color I got at Ulta. I'm crossing my fingers I have as much luck this time around as I did the first! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. My nails look so beautiful and I have never been happier, today I got so many compliments. They look better than when my salon does them. I saved $75 dollars. Thank you for this wonderful idea.

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    1. Oh that makes me so happy! I'm thrilled it worked so well for you, too! I just did mine again today :) SUCH a money saver! Have an awesome weekend with your sassy nails!

      Xo,
      Coll

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  6. How do you remove the product?

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    1. You can just use regular nail polish remover :) no need to soak or scrape off like you would with a salon shellac. 100% acetone remover works a little faster, but if you don't have it, non-acetone will work just fine.

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  7. Did u think it changed the color of your nail polish? When I tried it, it seemed to make my polish darker!

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    1. I just tried this last night using gelous, Essie 'Butter Please', and Seche Vite. The color is a tad darker, but not totally changing the tone. I am a nurse and have short/thin/peel-y nails. I'm excited to see if this will both protect and help me grow my nails.

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  8. Where can I find both Gelous and Seche Vite? thank you :)

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    1. Sally's Beauty Supply. I included the online links in the blog post in case you don't have one near you :)

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  9. How come there is no grow-out on the day 7 photo?

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    1. Because my nails don't grow enough in 7 days to get a visible mark. Lol. I wish they did. I have nothing to prove by taking fake photos of my manicures and lying to my readers. It's not like I was paid to do this post, unfortunately. I really hope you're not implying that I was lying to my readers. That's not how I roll and if you read my blog regularly, it's pretty obvious that I'm nothing but straight forward about any products I use. Hopefully that's not what you were implying by your question and if it is, we're all adults here, you don't have to ask passive-aggressive questions.

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  10. I'm going to try this, with 3 kids one being 17 months old I don't have much time to get to the nail salon :)

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    1. I hear ya, sister! It's a major time-saver as well as a money-saver! Good luck!

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  11. Colleen, I will be trying this and will update you accordingly. Thanks so much for the post...I have been looking for a while but was a bit hesitant. Now I can ditch my nail tech and save some dough!!!!

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    1. Haha! I just did it again last night with a deep purple shade and it turned out lovely! I have noticed that certain brands hold up better than others (China Glaze is still the best for me). Hope it works as well for you! It saves MAJOR dough! Good luck and let me know what you think!

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  12. Have you used glitter? Either polish or dry glitter? I really like using it and wonder how this method would stand up...

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    1. I haven't used dry glitter (yet) but that'll be interesting. I just used glitter polish (Ulta brand in color "Boogie Nights") and it held up beautifully. Almost 2 weeks!

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  13. I use an opi base coat, whatever polish, and the seche vite top coat and my polish usually lasts about 10 days. So if anyone sees this it's definitely worth the purchase! Also we have the same wedding ring :)

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    1. I'll have to try the OPI base coat! I used to have a bottle of it and I have no idea where it went....

      That's so cool we have the same ring! Great minds think alike ;)

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  14. I tried this last Thursday evening (7/31/14) and it chipped on one finger the next day, so I took it all off and did it again that night (8/1/14). One finger chipped Sunday, two more today (8/4/14)... I used China Glaze, the Seche Vite, and the Gelous... I'm going to try it again tonight with a different China Glaze color, but so far I'm really bummed.
    Oddly enough, the two "accent nails" I did with Ulta's "boogie nights" glitter polish have held up the best, but maybe that's because it's on my ring fingers, so not as chip-prone as my index fingers or thumbs.

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    1. You know what's so weird? I did the EXACT same manicure that I did in the original post and I totally got a chip, too! Not a bad one, but still. I don't think I did my coats as thinly as I did the first time around. I'm going to do a new one tonight and see what happens.

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  15. If you do the coats so thinly, how are you able to spread them evenly over the nail?

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    1. When I did the super thin coats, they weren't terribly smooth. But once I kept adding the other coats, they evened out and looked smooth :)

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  16. How long did you have to let it dry after the final coat?

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    1. I let it dry at least 45 seconds for each coat applied and then I let it dry about 15 minutes for the final coat.

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  18. I have tried waiting 20 min between coats and/or using a drying light but whatever color I use always bleeds onto the brush of the gel or top coat. Any ideas how to prevent this?

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    1. You should really only need to dry about a minute or so between coats IF you are using the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. If you're using a different top coat, it could be taking longer to dry. Additionally, the only time I ever experience "bleeding" of colors onto the brush of my top coat is if I'm applying my coats too thickly. I really hope that helps, it's hard to say exactly what it could be without being there to see it. I wish I could do your nails so we could figure it out! :)

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  19. Just tried it with all of the products you used! I've got pretty short nails @ am tough on my hands! Hoping they last at least 5 days :) Thx for the tips!

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    1. Yay! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you! I hope it works out! Happy Friday :)

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  20. SO excited to try this. Your nails looked so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Yay! I'm about to do it again tonight! Good luck!

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  21. I justtriedit, did half Jamberries and half your polish. If it stays on me, it will on anyone.

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    1. Oh how cute!! I have a cute Jamberry sample to use that I'm going to put on my ring finger tonight along with the gel mani! It's the "tea party" one :) so glad it worked for you, too!

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  22. Do you apply a base coat prior to applying the first coat of Gelous or do you apply it directly to bare nails? (just making sure, thanks!)

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    1. I apply the Gelous to bare, dry nails as my base :) make sure to keep your coats verrrrry thin. Good luck!

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  23. I went out and got the products after reading this. You are right they are so shiny and fresh! However mine chipped on the 5th day which was slightly disappointing. It still keeps the polish on longer than normal which makes it worth it.

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    1. So happy it worked (mostly) for your! Haha. I noticed that some colors do better than others as far as how long they last. Not sure why, but so far, the China Glaze has been the longest lasting. Thanks for commenting!

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  24. OMG your a genius did my nails on Saturday removing a week later and only because I'm tired of the color. Thanks Thanks Thanks

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad it worked so well for you, Pam! I had the same thing happen the first time, it lasted so long that I was the one that pulled the plug on it so that I could switch colors. Not a bad problem to have huh? Hope you enjoy it and thanks for stopping by!

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  25. Worked for me. It would lasted longer if I hadn't done so many kitchen chores that week...tks!

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    1. Story of my life. LOL. Damn those dirty dishes and laundry. I always know that if my manicure can withstand housework, then something is definitely working! Thanks for stopping by and for commenting!

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  26. I take it you couldn't do this look with any fancy designs? I have tons of awesome designs on my pinterest account.

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    1. You know, that's a great question! I suppose you could do all the steps and then on the final "nail color" step, apply your nail art and then do the two clear polishes over the top! It's worth a shot! That's a great point with all of the awesome nail designs that are out there right now!

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  27. Just went out and bought the gelous coat. Can't wait to try it!

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  28. What happens if the coats are not super thin? I'm right handed, so, when I use my left hand to do my other hand I'm a bit clumsy and the coats don't come out really thin like you suggest. Thank you!

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    1. I've been a bit "heavy handed" a few times when I've been in a rush and I've just noticed that it doesn't last quite as long. Seems like my edges and corners chip and "lift" a bit earlier than if I get my coats really thin. Good luck!

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  29. Do you have to use a color polish?? My nails are extremely short and would like to try and grow them out a bit before adding color..Any suggestions???

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  30. Will this damage my nails like getting gel manicures do? I did one for a month and my nails became so unhealthy, you could bend them.

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    1. Mine have been SO much healthier from this method because it just comes right off with acetone nail polish remover just like normal nail polish does. What damages my nails is going and getting actual shellac manicures since the removal process is so much more invasive. And I've been known to "peel" off shellac which is a HUGE NO NO! Hope this helps!

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  31. Have you tried Gelous over jamberry? I can only get my jamberry to last a few days.

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    1. That's actually a really good idea, Mary! I may need to try that out!

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  32. How long does it take to dry?? Have you ever used this many with a fast dry spray? I normally do a normal mani with fast dry top coat before bed, spray, and sleep with no marks overnight, so I want to know if I need to change my routine. Thanks!

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    1. With the Seche Vite top coat, it's dry in less than 2 minutes. I haven't tried the fast dry spray with this top coat because I haven't needed to :) I imagine you could though, shouldn't hurt! Worth a shot!

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  33. So I am a nail polish addict I have a whole box full of Essie but am so sad when my manicures cant get pass day 4 =( when I saw this I was a bit skeptical but said hey! let me just try it I've tried nail stickers as an alternate to make my manis last longer but stickers can be kinda pricey. Anywho I tried this method on sunday and its Thursday and my mani is beautiful! I only chipped like the fourth day my index nail because of a stupid clip that I had an accident with but had that not happened my mani would b flawless right now. The only thing that I did do was add another thin layer of seche vite top coat today just to add some shine cuz I like my mani extra glossy but just had to stop by and say thank you!!!! This is a mani changer!! I've been telling everyone about this like as if im their nail therapist or something hahaha. Thanks again Colleen!

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    1. Oh yay! This makes me so happy! Yes, go and spread the gospel of this new nail method! Haha :)

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  34. If I just want a clear manicure do I repeat the same steps with the gel and the top coat or do I just put one layer of each? Thanks in advance!

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    1. I would do two thin coats of the Gelous, then Seche Vite top coat and then finish with one last coat of Gelous! Good luck!

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  35. Been trying to find a good method without light because I feel the UV light is harmful. Will be trying to this on a client today. Thanks a bunch!

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  36. Tried this on my client and I loved and it and she loved it as well. She said that it stayed on for over a week and uses her hands in water alot. So it worked out well for her. Awesome DIY! Thanks Colleen! :-)

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  37. This worked awesome. I ended up using some old cheap nail polish I had lying around and it still worked great. I'm on day 5 and still looks just as good as day one. I'm very hard on my hands and do a lot of typing. Not one chip gouge or blemish so far. Love it!

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  38. Hello,
    This is a really good post. Must admit that you are amongst the best bloggers I have read. Thanks for posting this informative article.

    Gel nails in Romford & Gel nails in Brentwood

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  39. I have been pretty blessed with fast growing nails, and good polish would stay good for at least 7 days with my usual nail care regime, BUT breaking occurred frequently. I decided to try the Gelous and have been pleasantly surprised that in last 8 months of using, I have only broke partially 1 nail. My nails are quite long too. I found that the seche vite tends to shrink a bit from the ends so I added 1 coat of Gelous and seche vite on top of that the next day and the wearing on ends was much better. So I do 1 coat of bonder, 1 coat of Gelous dry 3 mins, 1 coat polish wait 5 mins 1 coat gelous,dry 3. 1 coat polish and put seche vite on after 1 min. Then next day I put 1 coat Gelous, 1 coat of seche vite and then my usual routine of 1 coat of seche vite every few days. All in all, Gelous has been the best of the "thickener" type gels I have used. Most of the other brands tended to get air bubbles and was really thick to put on and didn't seem to add much to the manicures look. I think it has helped my nails not break as easily as before.

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  40. will this work on acrylic nails ?

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