Gel nails are not the cheapest beauty item to indulge in on a regular basis. Most salons in Singapore offer gel manicures for about $ 60-70 for a full service (such as cuticle care, massage etc) and about $80-90 for a similar pedicure.
There are shops that offer express gel nails. Basically, this only includes the painting of the gel. No extra frills such as pushing the cuticle further back. Express gel manicures are about $30 and pedis at $40. Head down to places like bugis market or I prefer far east plaza for such services.
** thing to note: it might be cheaper to go express but the mani and pedi might not be the best as most will paint the gel over the cuticle. As the nail grows, the gel will tug on the cuticle making it uncomfortable for you. For those who do not apply gel on the cuticle, this will mean that the mani/pedi will not last as long since 1 mm of nail under the cuticles have been left bare.
If you not wish to do gel nails all the time, heading to the shop to get it done might be a better idea. In my previous post, gel nail home kits are a pretty hefty investment. They require more equipment and special products like the uv light, cleansers etc.
If you are not as accurate with your nail polish, I suggest you do lots of practice with regular polish first until you get a steadier hand. Applying gel polish is a lot tougher than regular polish since its self -levelling.
There are pros and cons to this. Pro is that you don’t get bumps or dips in the polish. However, since the gel moves to fill into the crevices, you need to be careful in applying just the right amount of gel on the nail. My first mistake was applying too much (you probably need half the amount of gel vs regular polish). The gel flowed all around my cuticles and it took a while for me to completely remove it with gel cleanser and even having to file it off once the gel cured.
So if you would like to DIY at home, here are the things you will need:
**I purchased all from enamour beauty (bugis and some from far east branch) they are really sketchy about the “buy this and I will give u extra discount for that” so its hard for me to give u the rrp.**
1. UV Light – check with the retailer if its big and wide enough to do mani and pedi or the machine can only do mani. Those that can do both are usually bigger, bulkier and more expensive. I got mine for $59. this can be used for pedi too and comes with a sliding base board. very useful for correctly gauging the depth of the machine without destroying your wet gel
2. Gel cleanser – this is for removing the excess un-cured gel. I got mine for $16. there might be a cheaper alternative so look around.
3. Lint-free wipes – didn’t manage to include this in the pic. But you can use an old cloth that doesn’t shed or paper towels. Its not easy to find a cheap lint-free cotton in sg. Worst scenario, cotton wool. Just be careful that you dont get cotton stuck on the edges of the nail.
4. Nail File – it has to be rough such as the OPI Edge 150 grit. You need to sand down the nail so that the gel can adhere to it. Plus its easier using this rough file when you are trying to sand off the old gel mani u have on. (next post will be on how to remove gel nails) $9.90
5. PH bond base – I forget which way this goes. But something about your nail being alkali (or acidic) and the gel is opposite. So in order for the gel to bond, you nail has to be the same ph as the gel. This changes the ph of your nail. It will loook extremely dry and matte. It is normal. So don’t fret if you see your nail changing colour. $19.90
6. Foundation/base gel – you need this for the colour to stay on well. This is just like the base coat when you do regular polish. This is part of the ‘2 for $48.80 ‘ deal for gel polish
7. Gel polish – it could be colour or glitter. I am using a purple colour base and silver glitter. Gel polishes are quite sheer. You will need at least 2 coats for it to get opaque. Apparently korean “brite” is better than usa “gelish”. Makes no difference to me although brite’s glitter collection is a lot prettier. ‘2 for $48.80 ‘ deal
8. Cuticle orange sticks – clean up the edges before curing 1 pack of 5 should go around $4
9. top coat – the gelish top coat is apparently not as shiny as this IBD one. $26
10. timer/watch (if needed)- each coat should go in for about 1-2 mins and top coat is 3 mins. If your uv machine does not come with a timer, you would need to be mindful of the time
Step by Step
1. start off with clean nails with cuticles pushed back. File and shape as you please. Use rough file to remove the shine on your nail. Nail should be full of scratches.
2. apply ph bond all over your nail. One thin coat is enough. this brand does not need to cure.
3. apply foundation gel all over nail. One thin coat is enough to act as a base coat. If you intend to do gradient nails, you might wan to apply a foundation gel that is slightly tinted with pink or you could do 2 coats of clear foundation gel. Cure for 1 minute per coat.
4. apply thin coat of colour. Cure for 1 minute per coat. Reapply another coat or as many as you wish. (3 should be the max or it might get too thick).
** thumb and index is 2 coats whereas the rest are 1 coat**
5. apply glitter to the tips. Cure for 1 minute per coat. You might need 2 coats of glitter depending on what you would like to achieve. Usually I would put one coat on 3/4 of the nail and another coat nearer the bottom half of the nail for a gradient effect.
6. file away any excess cured gel on the sides of the nail or cuticle.
7. use cleanser gel and lint free wipe/cloth and wipe away excess gel on nail.
8. apply top coat and cure for 3 mintues
9. depending on your top coat, you might need to repeat step 7. the top coat I had shown above by IBD intense seal does not require wiping the excess gel away.
10. ta daaaa! Uve got gel nails now!
– apply gel (foundation, colour, top coat) to the free edges of your nail. ths is the part that you abuse when you type on the keyboard haha
– take your time. Remove any gel that touches the skin
– the process takes longer. So be patient.
– keep your nails straight in the uv machine since gel levels automatically and you want a nice even coat
Do let me know if you found this useful 🙂