Can we talk about gel nails for a second? We love the plump look and long-lasting finish they give, but there’s something about going to the salon, baking your fingertips under a UV lamp, and then heading back again to get them removed that feels like such a hassle. The good news is, there are DIY, UV-free options available. But how do they work? And will they still look as flawless? We’ve got the full lowdown on ditching the lamp…
Let us count the ways. For starters, you don’t have to book an appointment each time you want a new shade. In fact, you could just go ahead and try a fresh colour right, uh, now. Not only does a gel-look polish save time, but it also saves money, hassle, damage - the list goes on – and it doesn’t cause peeling and dryness every time you take it off. We’re completely hooked.
1. Find Your Formula
Doing gel nails without a UV lamp means finding a high-shine, chip-resistant nail polish. Super Gel is our favourite for the look of a pro manicure without the major time commitment. Not only does it come in 25 shades – from barely-there nudes to on-trend blues – but it also lasts for up to 14 days, just like a salon polish.
2. Glide it On
The Super Gel brush means one swipe should be enough to cover your whole nail bed, so give it a glide from cuticle to tip, before painting a horizontal line along the free edge of your nail. Make sure you apply in thin coats only, as this will help your colour dry quicker and more evenly, meaning you’ll be less likely to cause any pesky smudges.
3. Cure the Colour
Next, pull out your UV lamp and… just kidding. You don’t need a lamp for this gel nail polish; simply let your colour dry for two minutes before you apply a second coat for an opaque finish. If you’ve already got your two coats on, complete with a swipe of Super Gel Top Coat, which is basically a shield for your favourite shade, protecting it from chipping, peeling and smudging. Prefer a glitter effect? The Top Coat also comes in a Glitter Finish that will have your mani sparkling in no time.
4. Switch Your Shade
Forget covering your fingertips in foil and waiting. When you’re ready to switch up your Super Gel shade, simply remove with your usual nail polish remover, then get painting on a fresh coat. It’s that easy.
Top Tips for Your Tips
Looking for more ways to get a pro-level manicure? Try these quick fixes…
• Even if your nails are already bare, swipe on some nail polish remover before you apply your Super Gel shade to ensure nailbeds are clean and free of oils.
• If you’re prone to chips, choose an oval or squoval nail shape over stiletto or coffin nails. Rounded nails don’t catch as easily, so it’s less likely you’ll dent your polish.
• Fix smudges on still-wet polish by dampening your finger and pressing colour back into place. Then, seal with a top coat.
• Put the hairdryer down. Heat actually prevents your nail polish from drying, so a quick blast can do more harm than good. Let your nails dry naturally instead.