Hello everyone! I hope that you are all doing all right. I never really wrote anything about doing gel nails at home on my blog. Gel polish and I have a bit of a difficult relationship. Sometimes we were succesfull together, and sometimes it was a disaster. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still going strong, salons over here are slowly opening their doors again, but I still like to do my (gel) nails myself, and I find this the right time to share this. I have a couple of reasons for this:
I’m able to work quite quick, so doing my nails myself saves me a lot of hassle and time.
Once you have all the equipment it is cheaper to do gel nails at home than in a salon.
You can do it exactly the way you like.
Currently I find it safer to do my own nails at home.
Of course these reasons are all quite personal, but I know a lot of women feel the same way. If you’re good with painting your nails with regular polish, using gel polish is not that different.
Before you start there are a couple of things you might want to pay extra attention to:
Always push back your cuticle, this will make your gel polish last longer. I’m usually using this cuticle pusher (affiliate link), or orangewood sticks (affiliate link).
Make sure your nails are fat free before applying the polish. You may use a special cleaner (affiliate link) or just rubbing alcohol (be careful though).
If you paint on your finger or cuticle, remove before curing. It won’t last as long if you leave it there.
If you’ve had problems keeping your gel polish on, try using more primer. When you have problems removing, try using less primer or skip the primer next time.
If you keep having problems of the problem popping off, you might want to give your nails a very light buff before applying the primer.
You can combine products from different brands, however if you keep having problems you might try sticking to one brand, in order to make sure the formulas match well together.
Gel polish Brands
I’ve used four different types of brands for gel nails at home so far, Masura (a russian brand), Sensational, Impulss and Alessandro striplac (affiliate links). I also have experience with OPI Gel Color, because the nail tech I went to used this (affiliate link). With Sensational and Impulss I have good experience for staying power but when I cured them they have a lot of shrinkage. Masura was nice but a bit difficult to remove. For this post I am using Alessandro striplac for the first time.
Application of gel polish
The Alessandro striplac system consists of two steps: a color coat and a top coat. I am using the color Good Spirit (from their new Northern Beauty collection), but I did not buy their top coat and used one from Masura (I had no problem doing this).
Before I started I used the Sensationail primer around the edges (affiliate link). Because Good Spirit is such a light color, I had to apply two coats. I cured it under an Essence LED lamp, which is unfortunately no longer available, but you might check here for alternatives (affiliate link). Finish with a gel top coat.
Alessandro completely changed their striplac line. I used to hear complaints that their polish didn’t last very long, and that’s why I never bought it. However, since they changed it and Good Spirit is super pretty, I gave it a try. I’ve worn this polish for 10 days and then I got tired of it. I think it would have easily reached 14 days. You can remove the polish by using Alessandro’s peel off activator or their soak off soluation (affiliate links). However I opted to just use pure acetone (again, be careful with this stuff) and tin foil wraps (affiliate links), this worked also fine.
Northern beauty (Spring 2020)
I immediately started to look for more colors of Alessandro Striplac, but I didn’t buy any since I find them a bit expensive and I use regular nail polish more often. But, this is the first gel polish I am super satisfied with! I definitely recommend the Alessandro colors. For swatches of the other colors of the Northern Beauty collection, check out this post (in dutch). I really enjoy the color of Alessandro good spirit; it even contains tiny shimmer! I also feel like it might even be more beautiful on people with darker skintones.