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- In-salon gel manicures can be expensive and time consuming.
- Many people are trying their luck with at-home gel manicures.
- One editor pieced together the perfect kit from Amazon for DIY gel manicures at home.
If you want something done well, do it yourself — and if you want to stop paying $35 every two weeks, buy some supplies and learn to do your own at-home gel manicure. Regular manicures are very important to my overall self-care routine, but the price tag that comes along with shiny gel nails often isn’t feasible, even for those with a bit of disposable income. A couple years ago, after paying $65 for a pedicure and a gel manicure, I hit a wall.
I logged on to Amazon and proceeded to spend two hours piecing together the perfect gel kit. I didn’t want to completely overspend — after all, I’m trying to save money here — but I also wanted to buy nice materials that would give me the same quality as a salon manicure. I bought a total of six products, but I also had an existing cabinet full of cotton balls and nail files. That said, if you don’t have the basics, you may need to invest slightly more money.
My first go-around was tense. Painting your nails is generally a low-pressure activity when you can just wipe off the polish with some remover, but gel requires a whole new level of precision. If you mess up, the fix may require you to completely file off your polish and start from scratch. I’m not terrible with a polish brush, and I made it all the way to the topcoat layer until really screwing up. I’m a topcoat fanatic, so I heaped healthy dollops on my thumbs . . . then watched the viscous liquid slide down onto my skin and instantly harden under the UV lamp. However, I clipped off the excess and filed down the shellac, and my thumbs looked near flawless. You can see the finished product above — not bad for my first try, hunched over my bathroom sink, eh?
Ahead, I rounded up the best items for at-home gel nails. Whether you’re looking to create the best at-home gel-nail kit from scratch or you just need to stock up on a few items, keep scrolling for the best options.