How To Do Your Own Gel Nails

OK, first things first – if you’re not following my instagram yet, that would be the first place to start! My handle is: thebasicsofbrittany – or just click the “instagram” option at the top!

If you’re serious about doing your nails at home start with the starter kit: – This will save you money from all the links in the captions below. I restock because I’ve used mine so much.

I would read once before you start your nails just to get an idea of what you’re doing and then keep this open until you’ve gotten the hang of it.

If you have gel on your nails already and unsure how to get them off – this is how!!

First, buff/file your nails with a filing block or file to get the top coat off or “open” so the nail polish remover can sink in,

Next, go into your kitchen grab your aluminum foil, then go to your bathroom and grab your fingernail polish remover and cotton balls. Then rip your cotton balls in half, put the nail polish remover on the cotton ball, (I just put the cotton ball on the top of the fingernail polish remover bottle and flip and I’m good to go). Then put the wet cotton ball on your filed fingernail and wrap with aluminum foil. I like to leave enough room for the foil to be wrapped around my finger and enough to fold over the top of my fingers to I don’t have to hold it.

Cotton balls:
Clips to hold foils(I’m so purchasing these):
Nails polish remover:
Foil with cotton:

Then wait about 5-7 minutes before taking the cotton balls and foils off.

Nifty tool:

There is this nifty tool which I don’t know the name of, all I know is it takes the gel off my nails. Clearly my gel wasn’t ready to come off so just put your foils and cotton balls back on and wait a few more minutes. The gel should come off pretty easily.

Cotton balls:
Clips to hold foils:
Nails polish remover:
Foil with cotton:

After you waited, check your nails again. They should be good to go.

Nifty tool:

Yep – good to go.

filers(this is the exact one I have & it comes with so many colors):

This is that “filing block” that I was talking about a little earlier, I found these and my filers that you’ll see next on Amazon for superrrrr cheap. I’ll link them here!

So what you’ll do with the filing block is buff your nails. Not too much because you don’t want to damage your nails more than you already are. Buff them until the gel and what looks like a base coat is off of your nails and all of your nail looks “dull.”


When the tops of your nails look dull like this, it’s time to shape your nails! I am trying to get a square look but my nails clearly need to grow a little bit more. When I do my nails in two weeks they will be the perfect length!! When you’re done shaping them, go rinse your hands off with just water – trust me you’ll want to do this because if there is anything like dust/dirt whatever on your hands it’ll get in your gel and it’ll ruin a whole bottle of your gel polish.

Gel cleanser:

Now that you’re back from washing your hands and making sure your hands are super dry, grab your gel cleanser. Add a little bit to a paper towel or a “lint” free paper towel – this stuff comes out fast so be careful. Use the wet part and rub it on all of your nails, it’s easier to keep your nails clean if you do one hand at a time. I file and shape all of mine and then do my left hand and then my right.

Primer & base/top coat:

Next is your gel primer, give the cleanser about 30 seconds to dry then apply your primer to all 5 of your fingers on whatever hand you’re starting with! This takes a little longer to dry/settle so I normally give it 30 seconds to a minute before I go in with my base coat.

Gel base & top coat:

Now you’re ready to start painting! Finally right? This is what your nails should look like after you put the primer on.

Now put a thin layer of this base coat on your nails. The thinner coats you do the better the end result of your nails will be! Just make sure you have the whole nail covered and light cure. I normally press my button twice for this one. I believe that makes it a minute but I have the older version of this kit so I’m not really sure.

Gel Polish:
(These are so much cheaper at Walmart!)

Once your base coat is “dry” (it will be sticky so don’t touch any part of your nails) add 2-3 THIN coats of your color. With lighter colors I normally do 3 coats – no matter what. Darker colors cover better which is why I normally just stick with 2 coats. So in between your color coats I just click my button once for the first and second coats, on the third coat I will light cure for the 2 clicks.

Gel base & top coat:

Obviously I’m not a licensed nail tech/artist so you can see where the gel builds up if you do too thick of a coat (on my pinky). No worries though, it’ll just break off and look so stinking good after as long as you don’t peel it off yourself. Just let it fall off. Now put your final coat of top coat – again thin is the best and I cure this for 3 clicks because I need to make sure my nails are hardened. The dishes are not going to do themselves.

Gel cleanser:

Now that your top coat is hard get a new section of your paper towel and add a little gel cleanser, you can be rough with this part, your nails are dry! This is where I like to literally scrub around my nails and get any of the extra polish off my skin, and I like to make sure my gel has a nice shine after – which is what this is for.

This is the final product! Not salon quality but so worth saving that extra penny. The more you do this, the better your nails will be… trust me, I have come a long way with this!

Let me know if you have any questions!!


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