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How to use gel nail polish

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate statio...

Easy gel mani/pedis

Gorgeous color that lasts for weeks is easy to achieve at home with gel nail polish for perfect mani/pedis!
Durable and beautiful nails
Beautiful red manicure

Having a beautiful manicure and pedicure is a little luxury that finishes your look, but often women simply don't have the time or feel comfortable with the expense of regular salon appointments for the upkeep necessary to maintain their nails perfectly. Enter gel nail polish.

These smart new formulas for home manicures are easy to use and deliver gorgeous, glossy color that lasts without chipping. Best of all, you can do the manicure yourself for a fraction of the salon cost and get flawless results!

Ready, set, sensational

Prep your nails as you would for any manicure — remove cuticles and clean hands and nails to get rid of any oils and build-up of lotions. Gently buff each nail until they are no longer shiny — this helps the gel polish stick to the nail to ensure a longer-lasting manicure. Don't over-buff as it will weaken your nails. Wash your hands to remove residue from the buffing. When applying the color, always avoid the cuticles so the polish doesn't lift away as the cuticle begins to grow out.

Looking for more ways to update your manicure? Check out these cool nail designs before heading to the salon.

What color will you choose?

Try the salon-favorite OPI brand for their iconic colors in the new gel formula. These deliver intense shine with a fast application and quick curing time. Much like a normal manicure, you will apply a base coat before the color, then sweep on the first coat of gel color — sealing the nail tip by extending the color past it. Allow a minute of drying time for each nail under an LED light. These drying lights are inexpensive (around $20) to purchase at a beauty supply store or online, and are a good investment for women who will be doing home gel applications. By the time you've applied color to the second hand, the nails on the first hand will by dry and ready for the last coat of color. Give your nails two coats of color on top of the base, and let the color cure for a full minute with each application. Many women finish off with a clear top coat, again allowing nails to cure and dry.

No more chips!

You now have gorgeous color that dries hard as plastic and doesn't chip! There's no sitting around waiting for your color to dry only to smudge or smear a freshly-painted nail as you fumble for your keys or a credit card. The shine is brilliant and your gel color should last up to three weeks.

By choosing an OPI color, you'll also have the option to touch up nails as they grow out with a coordinating nail color in their regular line. These gels are really easy to apply and are self-leveling for smooth results. When you want to remove them, they soak off in as little as 15 minutes.

Quick tip

Take time when applying to start as close to your cuticle as possible -- carefully, with no gel on the skin so any regrowth will be less visible and your manicure looks fresh longer.

More beauty tips

Tropical-inspired nail designs
Summer-ready accessories we love
Perfect candy-colored look

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