gelish

Valentines Day Inspired Mani

As you know, I am in love with my gel manicures– when I was home for the Superbowl I did the cutest Valentines Day inspired Gelish mani on my sister, and I couldn’t wait to share.

We used three Gelish mini colors:

Stand Out is more vibrantly red than the above image, we decided to paint that on her thumb and pinky nails, Rendezvous dries much more hot pink, we put that on her index and ring nails and Exhale, a light pink/mauve color went on her middle.

I love how this manicure came out- it’s still clean, but it has a fun twist. We even considered adding a small white heart to a couple of fingers.

Valentines Day is one of my favorite holidays, and pairing it with a cute manicure makes it that much better. 🙂

What will your V-Day mani look like?

How-To: At Home Gel Manicures

I am a devout gel mani enthusiast and regularly do them at home. People are always asking me where I get my nails done and are surprised to learn that I do them myself. It is SO much easier than you’d think. Those contemplating buying a kit for home, I would highly suggest it. I wanted to share just how easy it is with my step by step tutorial:

(Just a heads up- I use a combination of OPI Axxium and Gelish products. Gel manicures consist of a base coat, nail color, and top coat. Mixing products is not totally taboo)

(My friend Stephanie sent this to me! ^ I died when I saw it, I had to share :))

Okay, so here are my nails at the start. I had experimented with tips the week before so they were looking pretty rough to begin with…

1) Using a buffing cube and nail file- buff and shape your nails until they are smooth on top and have your desired shape/look.

2) There is a clear, liquid solution that is applied to your nails before you begin applying any polish- it helps dry out the nail so the gel will adhere (I apologize, I forgot to photograph it-nothing too exciting lol).

3) Base coat. This is a Gelish Mini Foundation base coat- apply a thin layer to all nails on your first hand without touching the surrounding skin or cuticles.

4) Cure nails in the UV light for about a minute.

*TIP* Don’t touch your nails with anything but the polish brushes throughout the manicure until they are completely done, beacuse they will be tacky each time they come out of the UV light.

5) Paint your first coat of color onto all five nails, again making sure to refrain from touching the edges of your nails or cuticles. I chose to use “Exhale” a Gelish Mini color.

6) Cure under UV lamp for another minute.

7) Apply second coat of color.

8) Cure under UV lamp for another minute.

9) Apply a thin layer of clear gel top coat. I use the OPI Axxium top coat.

10) Cure for 2 minutes.

11) Spray all 5 nails with the nail cleansing solution to help remove any tacky-sticky residue. I use the NAS-99 nail cleanser that comes with the OPI Axxium starter kit.

12) Rub each nail with a cotton ball to remove the solution and tackiness.

13) Repeat steps 1-12 on your second hand.

And there you have it! Your nails are 100% dry, super shiny, and should last for about 2 weeks!

If you have a steady hand and like to do your own manicures, I would highly suggest investing in your own gel manicure system, it is definitely affordable and worth every penny! 🙂

Does anyone else do their own nails at home?

**UPDATE**

I wrote this post last Friday and waited a week to share so I would have an updated picture. Here are my nails this morning… 8 days later 🙂

They are still flawless, but I’m so tempted to paint them a new color! Decisions, decisions 🙂

My take on gel manicures (Hint: I’m in favor!)

I have a legitimate obsession with fingernails, nail polish, nail products and creating the perfect manicure. It’s slightly sick. I never get my nails done at a salon because I know I can do them better.

When the Shellac craze hit, I didn’t think much of it. I was still a student, I had plenty of time to keep up with my regular manicures. Once I started working full time I found I was unable to paint my nails the usual 2-3X a week, so I booked a shellac appointment to see what the hype was about. Of course I researched the proper application technique before I went- no oil on your nails, the polish should never touch your cuticles, make sure they cap the edges, etc. So I went in all amped that I would be leaving with super shiny nails that would last for 2 weeks!

Fast forward through my appointment…it was horrible. The woman who did my nails didn’t follow any of the rules, and I honestly wanted to grab the polish out of her hand to do it myself. It was torture forking over $35 dollars for something I hated (including the color!) but I’m not one to complain. So I bit my tongue and vowed that’d be my LAST trip to the salon.

Fast forward to today- I purchased an entire gel system over the summer, UV light included…

…and now do my own gel manicures at home (my Mom, sister and roommate benefit as well ;)).  I don’t know how else to explain it, but gels are so amazing! I will never go back to regular polish. If you learn nothing else from me…remember this GEL MANICURES WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE! (That’s kind of dramatic, but I promise it’s true!)

I will do a post on “How-To Do Your Own At Home Gel Mani ” in the near future, but today I just wanted to convince you with pictures. I basically photograph my nails daily, just to document the longevity of each manicure. Below are a few gel manicures I’ve done- see for yourself 🙂

Gelish Mini "Stand Out"
Gelish Mini "Bella's Vampire"
Gelish Mini "Sweet Chocolate"

I use a combination of OPI Axxium and Gelish products. You can see each manicure generally lasts two weeks- once in a while there is minor peeling in the second week, but the polish never chips, it withstands long showers, dish washing, and normal activity that a regular manicure would never sustain. The polish always remains shiny, and it makes my nails super strong- allowing them to continue growing (normally my nails are really weak). As you can see my cuticles grow out, and that’s when I’m usually ready to remove the polish and pick a new color.

I would highly suggest that if you haven’t tried a gel manicure yet, that you do so. Be sure to find a good salon and book an appointment- you will not be disappointed.

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