How To Do Gelish Nails At Home

How To Do Gelish Nails At Home

Are you tired of not being able to get a nail appointment? Fed up with looking at your nails growing out?

What if I told you that there was a way of getting salon results at home for a fraction of the price you would pay in a salon? 

Having your nails done is a large part of our modern beauty routines. As different types of products continue to hit the market there are now many ways that you can give yourself a cute manicure at home.

While you could always use regular polish these tend to chip easier and are usually lacking in that post-salon nail shine. 

Gelish nail polishes have changed the game. Not only can you apply this polish yourself, but it can also last for up to two to three weeks when properly maintained. 

Another fantastic thing about gelish polishes is that there is a choice between self-curing and UV or LED cured polishes meaning you can avoid subjecting your hands to the harm of frequent UV and LED exposure.

Mastering an at home manicure may seem intimidating but we have put together a useful guide to help you get the best results possible.

How To Do Gelish Nails At Home

How To Do Gelish Nails At Home

Getting a perfect manicure at home has never been easier! Below we outline the basic steps you need to follow and the tools that you will need to achieve a flawless salon look.

What You Need

  • A clear space.
  • Your favorite Gelish Self-Curing Nail Polish.
  • A cuticle stick & trimmer.
  • A nail file.
  • A nail buffer.
  • Cuticle Oil.
  • Alcohol wipes.


  1. Put all the tools you will need in the one place so you don’t need to go and grab anything while your nails are wet,
  2. Wash your hands and nails in lukewarm water and then pat them dry.
  3. Using your cuticle stick, gently push the cuticles back. If you have long cuticles you may need to trim them. If your cuticles are stuck to your nail apply a cuticle oil to loosen the cuticle. Ensure you do not push them too far back, stop as soon as you feel pain or resistance.
  4. Next file the nail to your desired shape and length. Almond-shaped and squared-off nails are the best shapes for preventing chipping or snags.
  5. Gently buff the nails to create texture for the polish to stick.
  6. Wipe your nails with a sterile alcohol wipe, this will remove the natural oils on the surface of the nail and any cuticle oil or other products on the nails.
  7. Apply the Gelish base layer and allow it to dry.
  8. Next, apply your colored polish. Depending on the consistency and color pay-off you may need to do more than one coat. Ensure your coats are thin to prevent bubbling and the nails from not fully drying.
  9. After applying the necessary number of coats of colored polish and once this is dry you will apply the Gelish top coat polish. This gives the nails a lovely sheen and prevents chipping.
  10. Lastly, once the nails are completely dry apply cuticle oil and hand cream to hydrate the nails and the hands. This is not a necessary step but we recommend it for hand and nail health.

Different brands of Gelish nail polish will offer different products. Some Gelish nail polishes don’t require a top or bottom coat and they may also vary in the way that they dry. 

Self-curing Gelish polishes are fantastic but be aware that they do take slightly longer to dry than other Gelish polishes.

In the case of LED-cured and UV-cured Gelish polishes instructions on the curing times will be found in the user manual that comes with the lamp. 

You can buy kits that will provide a curing lamp and the necessary polishes.

This can be cheaper than buying each item separately, especially as UV-cured and LED-cured polishes always require a top and bottom coat of polish.

After taking the time to apply your polish properly you should also ensure that you remove the Gelish polish in a way that won’t be damaging to the nails. 

Gelish nail polishes cannot be removed using generic nail polish remover. They require acetone which can be damaging to the nail if applied frequently.

A number of Gelish nail polish brands have created soak-off Gelish polishes which are easier to remove at home and cause less damage to the nails than other products.

Top Tips

Here are some useful tips that can help you get the most out of your freshly manicured nails and your Gelish nail polishes.

Shake Your Bottle

Shake your bottle of polish before use as often polishes will settle when left closed for a period of time. Shaking before use will also ensure there are no lumps in the polish for a smoother and easier application.

Invest In Gel Polish Thinner

Gelish nail polishes are more expensive than regular nail polishes and so you want to get the most value out of your polishes. Gel polish thinners are a fantastic product to have in your nail kit.

Like all nail polishes, Gelish polishes thicken over time. By adding a few drops of gel polish thinner your polish will last for longer and go further.

Allow Drying Time

Always apply your polish when you have time to sit for up to 60 minutes to allow the nails to fully dry.  

Although some polishes may say fast-drying, if you want to get the most out of your freshly painted nails you should give your nails 60 minutes to fully air dry. 

If you are using a cured polish it is still worthwhile doing this. Put one of your favorite TV shows on and relax as your nails dry.

Look After Your Nails

Having healthy nails is key for applying any kind of nail polish. 

You can keep your nails healthy and strong by filing them often. This prevents any snags that could lead to breakages. 

Another great way of caring for your nails is by applying cuticle oil to the cuticles regularly. You can apply cuticle oil after applying your fresh polish to help keep your nails and cuticle moisturized. 

After removing a Gelish polish it is worthwhile leaving the nails bare for a few days, applying cuticle oil frequently, to allow the nails to breathe and rehydrate.

If you are using a polish that requires UV or LED to cure, apply SPF to the hands and skin around your nails to prevent damage from these harmful rays. 

Don’t Forget About Your Hands!

Our hands are often the place where we notice the first signs of aging. By caring for your hands you can help prevent, or fade, signs of aging that may occur.

Apply hand cream liberally twice a day or anytime your skin is feeling parched. 

Caring for your hands gives the nails a fantastic base to grow strong from and helps to keep your hands looking youthful and radiant for longer.

Massage your hands while applying hand cream for the ultimate relaxing experience, helping you to work out any tension that may be in the hands and fingers. 

Related: How To Make Gel Nails Last Longer

Gelish Brand Products For You:

Gelish Base Gel and Sealer

Gelish dynamic duo soak off gel nail polish foundation base and top sealer,0.5 Fl Oz
  • The first brush-on/soak-off gel polish, Gelish's innovative formulas have only just begun to revolutionize the nail industry. With brush-on color lasting up to 21 days and hundreds of chic tones, there's a Gelish polish that defines any look.
  • FOUNDATION: Creates the adhesive bond between the nail plate and gel products without damaging the nail plate. Cures 5 seconds in the 18G LED light.
  • TOP IT OFF: Seals Gelish Soak-Off Gel Polish to a high shine finish that will not dull, chip or peel. Removes with Artificial Nail Remover. Cures 30 second in the 18G LED light.
  • Cures in 5 seconds in LED 18G light, 10 seconds in LED light, and 1 minute in UV light. The Top It Off Soak Off Sealer Gel seals your Gelish Soak Off Gel Polish to a high shine finish that will not dull, chip, or peel.
  • Gelish stays on nails for up to 3 weeks with no chipping or peeling, and soaks completely off in only 10 15 minutes. Requires use of Gelish LED Drying Curing Lamp (not included)! Laser-cut domed bristles give the smoothest application and better control when near the cuticle; Increased bristle count picks up the ideal amount of product and ensures full coverage that is streak free.

Gelish Nail Polish

Gelish Mini Spring 2022 Full Bloom Easy Removal Soak Off Chip Free Gel Nail Polish Bottle Manicure Set for 3 Weeks of Wear, 6 Pack
  • 6 PACK FULL BLOOM POLISH: Spring 2022 Full Bloom polish collection gives you a spring-inspired gel manicure in minutes
  • SOAK OFF GEL: Gel polish is easily removable by soaking in nail remover for 10-15 minutes
  • QUICK CURE TIME: Polish cures in 30 seconds under a LED lamp, or 2 minutes under traditional UV lamps
  • 3 WEEKS OF WEAR: Color provides up to 3 weeks of wear without chipping or peeling for less upkeep
  • INCLUDES: 1 bottle of bloom service polish, 1 bottle of best buds polish, 1 bottle of pick me please! polish, 1 bottle of I lilac what I'm seeing polish, 1 bottle of plant one on me polish, and 1 bottle of feeling fleur-ty polish

Gelish Curing Light

Gelish 18G Plus with Comfort Cure with 36 Watt LED, High Performance Gel Curing Light for Your Gel Nail Polish, Gel Lamp, Nail Lamp
  • The Gelish LED 18G Plus with Comfort Cure Gel Light is a scientifically-engineered, precisely calibrated authentic LED light of exceptional quality. 18G LED Plus dries traditional gels 4x faster than UV lights and is precisely calibrated to cure all five fingers simultaneously.
  • This uv lamp for gel nails is the perfect gel nail lamp to put on your Christmas list or to give as a gift for mom, a gift for teenagers, a gift for girlfriends, a gift for everyone, and even a gfit for you!
  • Comfort cure setting builds LED power over a 60-second period which helps mitigate heat spikes. Plug into an electrical outlet. Press desired cure time and place hand in unit.
  • Light creates the ultimate professional curing experience with Patented Safelight Technology with eyeShield to reduce light exposure for your gel nail experience.
  • Consistent power and performance from 0 to 50,000 hours of use for your gel nail experience.


Is It Worth Doing Gel Nails At Home?

Gel nail polish requires a steady hand and a lot of patience. For beginners, it’s better to leave this task to professionals.

Before attempting a DIY gel manicure, you should first check your local drugstore or beauty supply store for a UV or LED lamp. You also need a UV or LED nail polish top coat base coat gel polish. 

Gel polishes are better than regular nail polish because they dry faster and last longer. By the way, while using a gel polish may seem more expensive than using a regular polish, it lasts much longer and is easier to apply.

What Causes Gel Polish To Peel Off After A Few Days? 

Peeling nail polish is usually a result of three main reasons. If you don’t cap the nails at the top with the top coat polish then the nails can chip and begin to peel due to everyday life and tasks. 

Another reason why your Gelish nail polish may peel after a few days is that you may have painted over the cuticles and as they grow they push the polish, causing it to peel. 

The final reason why your Gelish at home manicure isn’t lasting as long as expected may be as a result of not coating the entire nail with the top coat. The top coat acts like a sealant and a protective barrier. 

If you do not cover the entire nail then your polish will most likely chip and begin to peel very easily.

If none of the above causes are the reason there may be an issue with the Gelish polish. Shake before use for the best results.

Final Thoughts

Buying a kit of polishes is usually cheaper in the long run and gives you a bigger choice of colors. When you feel like you have mastered at home manicures why not delve into the world of nail art?

No one will be able to believe your stunning nails were designed by you in the comfort of your own home. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Invest in some new gel nail polish if you want your nails to last longer.

Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API