19 Apr 2018
Tutorial - Gel Nails with Pink Gellac
Happy Thursday, my lovelies! I’ve got a very exciting post for you today! But first, some backstory:
I tried gel nails for the first time over the 2017 Christmas season. I know, this is a bit bonkers for someone who runs a nail art blog, right?? ;) But I almost always do my manicures at home, and I was a bit intimidated by gel nails and the equipment they would require. But when I went to the salon and got my gel nails, I fell in love! Life over the last couple of years has been too busy to keep up with the once-a-week schedule I used to follow for my nail art, so my manicures became more and more infrequent as a result. And since I code for a living, any manicures I did would chip pretty quickly. But gel nails change that! Suddenly I have a gorgeous manicure that stays intact for at least two weeks, no matter the damage I do to my hands. Awesome!
So fast forward to about a month ago: I got an email from Ashley, a rep for Pink Gellac, which is an online nail polish company that specializes in colors and starter kits for at-home gel nails. Ashley had found Nails for Nickels and wanted to know, if Pink Gellac sent me one of their starter kits, if I would be willing to post a review on NfN.
Obviously I said yes! I got the kit, gave myself a manicure, and am writing today’s post to review the kit and show you how to do gel nails from the comfort of your own home!
If you already know how to do gel manicures, you can go ahead and scroll to the bottom of this post for my review on Pink Gellac’s starter gel nail kit. Be sure to check out Pink Gellac and all of the awesome products they have here! So let’s get started!
Tutorial: Gel Nails (with Pink Gellac)
Step 0: Supplies! (Featuring the Pink Gellac Starter Kit)
The Pink Gellac Starter Kit M (which can be found on the USA site here) comes with:
- An LED lamp (with power cord)
- Bottles of: primer, base coat, color (#182 Dynamic Pink), and shine top coat
- An instructional booklet
- 10 cleanser wipes
- 10 remover pockets
- Pink nail file
- Orange woodstick
For your typical gel manicure, you are going to need:
- A gel lamp (LED or UV).
- Gel base, color, and top coat polishes.
- A nail file (for buffing your nails).
- Gel cleanser (can also use rubbing alcohol) and lint-free wipes.
The above supplies are what I will be using in this tutorial.
How To Do Gel Nails
Step 1: Buff it!
Getting a smooth surface for your natural nails is CRITICAL for gel nails. When I got them at the salon my technician used a dremel-like tool for smoothing my nails, but you don’t need something that intense! Just take a nail file and gently run it over the surface of your nails in order to smooth out any bumps or ridges. Also do any shaping of the nail as well as pushing back your cuticles at this step.
Step 2: Clean it!
In addition to being smooth, your nail surface needs to be oil free to allow the base coat to properly adhere. Use your cleanser and a lint-free wipe (no cotton balls!) to swipe your nail and remove any oils.
I recommend doing steps 2 through 8 in four batches: the thumb of one hand, the four fingers of that hand, the thumb of your other hand, and the four fingers of the other hand. By focusing on small batches you ensure that your nails stay clean and oil free the entire time, and that will maximize the life of your gel manicure.
Step 3: Base it!
Once your nail is clean and dry, get your base coat and paint on a thin layer. Here are two tips to keep in mind:
- Keep your polish about a milimeter away from the cuticle. Trust me on this: once your cure the polish you can’t clean up the edges like you can with regular polish.
- After painting on the base coat, get a little more polish on the brush and “cap” the nail by running the brush against the curve of your nail tip. This will help seal in the manicure even more. This is also great practice for regular manicures to help prevent chipping.
Step 4: Cure it!
Now it’s time to use the lamp! I’ve had some people ask me if you can do gel manicures without a lamp, and unfortunately the answer is no. The UV light from the lamp actually breaks down the chemicals in the gel polish, which then re-form and create double-bonds with the other molecules. This process is what creates the hard, plastic-like feeling of gel manicures, so you can’t skip it!
Place your finger(s) in the lamp and, if there’s a switch or button on your model, press it and turn on the lamp. Leave your finger(s) under the lights for the duration of the curing time.
For Pink Gellac, the base coat needs to cure for 15 seconds under an LED lamp. The length of cure time (a.k.a. the time the nail needs to be under the lamp) will vary depending on the polish brand as well as the type of lamp you’re using (LED or UV), so be sure to look up the instructions for whichever brand you use!
Step 5: Color it!
Now it’s color time! Same as a standard manicure, get out your color and paint a thin coat onto your nail.
Step 6: Cure it!
Once you have the color coat on, put your finger(s) back under the lamp and cure it for the required time. For Pink Gellac colors, you cure for 60 seconds under an LED lamp.
If you need another coat for full color coverage, no problem! Repeat steps 5 and 6 for every coat of color.
Step 7: Top it!
Once you’re color is cured, it’s time to break out the top coat! Gel top coats are what really seal in the manicure, and also give it a gorgeous glossy and smooth finish. Paint on a thin coat. And finally…
Step 8: You Guessed it: Cure it!
Come on, by now you’re a total pro - once the top coat is on, cure the nail under your lamp. For Pink Gellac, the top coat cures for 60 seconds under an LED lamp.
And there you have it! Now you’ve got a rock-solid manicure that you can show off for weeks!
Pink Gellac Starter Kit Review
So what did I think about the Pink Gellac Starter Kit? I loved it!
It’s funny: I had actually purchased my own gel kit a few weeks before Ashley reached out to me, so I knew what I was doing by the time I tested this kit. I think this is an awesome gel kit: it gives you everything you need, comes with detailed instructions, and the polish is awesome! The only issues I had personally were with the lamp itself, but even those were very small issues. Here’s a breakdown of my thoughts:
- Polish bottle size! The other gel kit I have came with some polishes as well, but they were mini bottles. The Pink Gellac kit comes with full-size bottles of base coat, top coat, color, and primer. And since gel manis last so long, I know it’ll be a long time before I need to refill!
- Everything you need is in the kit! Like I said above, once you get this kit you can start on your gel manicure right away.
- Great pigment in the color! I only needed two thin coats of the “Dynamic Pink” to get a rich, fully saturated color on my nails. There’s nothing I hate more than finding a color I like in the bottle, only to discover I need a ridiculous number of coats to get that same shade on my nail. I didn’t have that problem with the Pink Gellac color - I actually think I could have gotten away with one coat, but I went ahead with two and the results are gorgeous.
Like I said above, my cons are a bit nit-picky, but I want to give you a totally honest review. So here they are!
- The lamp beep. When the lamp has been on for 15 seconds it beeps, and it shuts off automatically at the 60 second mark. The beep noise is pretty jarring, especially if you’re in a quiet environment while you’re doing your nails. I actually jumped a couple of times when it went off. The other lamp I have flashes when it hits the 15 second mark, and I like how non-disruptive that is.
- Can’t shut off light before 60 seconds. As I mentioned above, the base coat only needs to cure for 15 seconds under an LED lamp. The lamp beeps to let you know that 15 seconds have passed. When I was doing my first nail I tried pressing the button at the top of the lamp to turn it off after the 15 seconds, but that didn’t do anything. The only way to turn off the lamp is to either wait for it to automatically shut off after 60 seconds, or to reach around to the back and flip the power switch. It would be nice if pressing the top button turned off the lamp.
This is a great kit! I would definitely recommend you try it out if you’re looking to start doing gel nails at home. Right now the starter kit M (the one I demo’d in this post) is $49.50 USD, which I think is an amazing bargain!
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post! Thank you so much to Pink Gellac for letting me try out your starter kit! And don’t forget, my dear readers, you can follow the link here to see Pink Gellac’s online shop and all of the great products they have.
Until next time, lovelies! <3
Nail Polish Used:
- Pink Gellac gel polish in “Dynamic Pink” (#182)