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25th Apr 2020

Everything you need to know about doing a gel mani at home

Anna Rourke

You’re desperate to get your nails done and it’s looking like that won’t happen for a while.

Would we suggest that giving yourself a gel mani is easy? Not necessarily. Is there any harm in giving it a try? Probably not.

If you have a steady hand and are up for investing in some key equipment, this could be the new skill you promised yourself you’d learn during lockdown.

Be sure to do your research, shop around and take your time – and if you’re really not feeling confident, maybe leave it to a professional.

Want to have a go? Read on for everything you’ll need.



You might find some of these in your local chemist but beauty industry suppliers online are your best bet for a good selection and quick delivery.

Overall we don’t think you’d need to spend much more than €80 or €90 to get started.

  • Acetone, cotton pads, tinfoil and a steel cuticle scraper for removing existing gel polish
  • A nail lamp – these start from around  €45; see here, here, and here.
  • A strong nail file and nail clippers
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Cuticle oil
  • A base coat, top coat and gel nail polishes (popular brands include Gelish, OPI and Shellac)



To remove existing gel polish:

  1. Buff the polish with the nail file.
  2. Soak your cotton pads in acetone, wrap around your finger tips with tinfoil and let them sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Take off the pads and use the steel scraper to remove the polish.
  4. Apply cuticle oil.

To apply a new manicure:

  1. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly.
  2. Clip and file your nails to the desired length and shape.
  3. Buff your nail surface and wipe down with an alcohol wipe.
  4. Apply a very thin layer of your base coat and pop your nails under the UV lamp. The time you need will vary based on the strength of the lamp – check them after 45 seconds and go longer if necessary.
  5. Apply a thin later of your gel polish and put nails under the lamp again. If you get some polish on your skin or cuticles, be sure to remove it with acetone on a cotton pad before going under the lamp.
  6. Repeat this step once or twice until you have the opaque colour you want.
  7. Apply a thin layer of your top coat and go under the lamp again.
  8. Rub some cuticle oil on again and you’re good to go!