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DIY Gel Nails

DIY Gel Nails

For those of you following me on Instagram I know that you have been patiently waiting for this tutorial to be posted! Gel Nails are a favorite of some people because you can get up to 14 days of wear time out of them and still have that gorgeous, chip free, and newly polished look for two weeks. For me, I have no interest in paying upwards to $30 or more for gel nails from the salon I would much rather find a way to do it myself. DIY Gel Nails are a great alternative to the salon & for me even more spectacular because you don’t need a curing lamp and the gel polish that you need ‘Gelous‘ you can grab from Sally’s for $5.99. Having the ability to do DIY Gel Nails for that cheap & at home will save you a pretty penny in the long run!

The lovely Bethany, from PitterAndGlink sent me a video of a DIY Gel Nails tutorial so I went out and grabbed what I needed insistent on being able to achieve this look at home and I am so glad that I can share it with all of you! I had to tweak a bit of what these other tutorials were showing because they would still chip fairly soon, so I feel like my last two steps are what really made this rock!

DIY Gel Nails

I have to tell you, I usually change my polish once a day… Every two days at the most but I wanted to be able to show you guys just how amazing this little $5.99 trick is so I forced myself to rock the same color on my nails for seven days, for the first time in over two years. I made it, and the best part most you got to follow along on Instagram and see daily photos showing that there was no chipping in site and just how shiny these nails stayed all the way to day seven. I am confident in saying this is as good, if not better then any gel manicure at the salon. I am thrilled that I can share with you DIY Gel Nails! I’m obsessed! Now, the moment you have all been waiting for.. DIY Gel Nails


*When I say ‘let dry’, I let it set for about 45 seconds each time before moving on.
*Each coat should be a thin one
*You can use ANY nail polish, it DOES NOT need to a ‘Gel’ polish. (I used ‘Pool Party’ from China Glaze)
*For the top coat, I used Seche Vite but you can feel free to use whatever you have one hand; just be sure it’s a good quality because certain top coats will bubble. *Removal is easy, I used 1 cotton ball for all 10 fingers. I do use 100% acetone remover to remove my polish.



Follow Hairspray and HighHeels’s board BEAUTY – Nails on Pinterest.

UPDATES & NOTES: 12/9/13
*For anyone having issues with the ’45 second’ dry times, be sure you’re applying in thin coats and you could try dipping in ice water after the manicure sets for about 5 minutes.
*When I say thin, I really mean thinnnnn! Like barely there strokes.
*Like I said you can use ANY polish, just keep in mind that different brands are going to get different results. I’ve found that China Glaze, Barielle, and Sinful Colors polish work the best! OPI, Essie, Wet N Wild, & Sally Hansen it really seems to be a matter of which shade I choose, some work great and some not so much, it’s kind of a toss up at this point! I tend to reach for China Glaze first when doing this manicure.
*Same thing with the top coat, I have found and heard from others that Seche Vite has worked the best. I’ve tried it with a Julep top coat and it was an absolute failure so I think it really depends on the formula of what you’re using. China Glaze, Gelous, and Seche Vite seem to play nice together!




Did it live up to the 7 Day Chip Test? Hell yes!! I typed all day on a laptop, scrubbed my kitchen floor and my bathroom all while rocking this manicure and it never came close to chipping. I completely believe it would have lasted a full 14 days but I just couldn’t handle having the same color on my nails any longer! This is the perfect DIY Gel Nail manicure and for only  $5.99 & under 10 minutes of ‘work’ what more could you ask for?

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Let me know if you try this out!! 


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  • This is awesome I know some people that will be getting some of that Gel stuff and link to this post for Christmas 😉

  • When I use Gelous just as a top coat, it’s not very good. That’s exactly why I discredited it. I’m glad some had figured out this gel method. I’m going to try it out soon!!

  • Oh my goodness! This is so awesome! I MUST try this. Thanks for testing it out, nail diva, and for mentioning me in your post. Hugs!!!

  • Oh, one question. Were you able to easily remove it with nail polish remover after the seven days?

  • So cool!!! I’ve wondered about an at home gel manicure. What’s the overall cure time? You said wait 45 sec between coats…but after the final coat how long do you wait before it’s completely set up?
    Also, how did you remove it? 😉

  • I love Gelous! I haven’t done mine exactly the same way as you did yours, but I need to try since mine usually last 2-3 days then they start to peel and crack. For me 2-3 days is A LONG TIME! I’m excited to try the way you say and see if I can get a week out of them!

  • I have been using Gelous for 6 months and it has become a staple in my polishing. I don’t use it as a base coat though. I use Barielle’s Hydrating Ridgefiller as my base, use 2 – 3 coats of color, a layer of Gelous, and then Seche Vite. It makes my nails rock hard. Love it.

  • oh man I’ve been looking for an at-home gel nail system, but I really really wanted to use the polishes I already have…so you are my hero!

  • I need to try this! I hope you will share this post at my blog hop today xo P.S. don’t forget to enter my latest giveaway too

  • I only use Gelous when I do my own manicures now. I absolutely love the stuff. Another blogger got me hooked. It makes my mani last so much longer.

  • You are a life saver!! I do shellac, but I have been too busy to get them and I am going away this weekend and wanted my nails looking nice! I bought the Gelous last week and tried your tip out last night. My nails feel so strong with it on. Thank you SO much for this!!

  • So, I wanted to test just how effective these gel nails could be. I went camping from Sat to Tues and painted my nails on thurs. By the time we left the campground, I had three chipped nails on my right hand and minimal east on my left. The polish that remained on my nails was still shiny and pretty. Definitely will do it again. Thanks for the tutorial!

  • I’m in the process of doing this now and Im following your steps but the last step… I feel like its taking foreverto dry. I used seche vite also.

  • I’m in the process of doing this now and Im following your steps but the last step… I feel like its taking foreverto dry. I used seche vite also.

  • Tried this tonight and got lots of bubbles, even though I did thin layers as suggested. I also made the mistake of using a new nail polish that I ended up not liking for this time of year LOL! So, I’ll probably try again on Tuesday.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • I too get bubbles no matter what brand polish I use! Also, the Gelous is always tacky to the touch and by the next morning I have lines on my new manicure! What am I doing wrong?

  • I ran across your post from a pinterest pin and you pin was a suggested post. I always have to change my nail color at least 2-3x a week -____- I’m so glad someone found a way to get long nail color wear. I love to change my nail color but can’t I at least get one week wear lol I’m heading to Sallys when I get off work, seeing as no other beauty supply store carries Gelous hehe I will Def @ you on IG! Thanks again 🙂

  • This doesn’t work for me. Gelous, Seche Vite, and OPI- peels off in sheets in the shower. I’ve tried it several times with different brand polishes and I get the same results. Sad I wasted $7 on the Gelous.

  • do other brands work? can’t get gelous in asia. also 45 seconds doesn’t seem long enough with the gel I’m using and no lamp. what should the consistency be before applying the nxt layer?

  • Just thought I’d add a positive comment. I’ve been obsessed with having pretty fingernails since I was a little girl so I have a good amount of years of home manis under my belt (I’m 28). This combo of Gelous and Seche Vite works great for me and I’ve done it every single time since I found your page on Pinterest. I do find that some polishes and different top coats don’t tend to have the best result but it works way better than my old technique. It’s also important to remember to have clean, oil free fingernails and the shine is lightly buffed away. Also, your approximate 45 seconds between coats is plenty with this combo; I only have to be cautious for a short period of time before they’re dry and hard as gel polish. Thanks again for sharing, you’re a mani genius!

  • Thank you, Ashley!! I definitely agree, some polish brands just don’t work as well but I have found a lot that do! It’s worked every time I’ve done it and I’ve been so happy with it 🙂

  • So sorry it didn’t work for you! I’ve actually only tried it once with an OPI shade and it did chip quicker then the others but I believe I still got around 4 days out of it.

  • The bubbles can be from a few different things, you want to make sure you’re starting with clean, oil free nails and applying each layer in very thin coats, which will hopefully cut down on the bubbles that are popping for you! You want to make sure to add the final top coat of seche vite in a thin layer as well which should take care of the tacky problem! (Another suggestion would be to dip your nails in ice water after the manicure sets for about 5 minutes, and get them to harden quicker) 🙂

  • Finally got my hands on some Gelous today. Going to try this weekend! I’m so excited to try it, I’ve seen rave reviews about it. I will update with my results but I am confident it’ll work 🙂

  • I LOVE having my nails done and HATE when they chip!! I have tried so many things and have never had good results. If i had the time I would polish once a week, but that aint happenin around here! I am trying your method tonight…. hoping it works out! 😀

  • Hey! I’m about to try this and I have the China Glaze in rose gold with glitter in it– have you ever done a glitter one with success or should I just stick to more matte polishes?

  • If u have the money, stock up!!! Gelous is amazing! I didn’t use as many applications. I use Bonder By Orly as my base because the polish adheres to it. Then I applied only 1 coat of Gelous, 2 coats of polish and Orly In A Snap as my top coat. My manicurie stayed beautiful for 2 weeks. The only reason I took it off was because I wanted to change the color. U can also give yourself a slight buff and I mean “slight” buff on your nails before the base coat. Happy manicures ladies!

  • Need more info on removal. Work as a nurse, not allowed to use gel polishes. Management does not realize that gels are better than torn nails and ragged cuticles. Would love to know if there are ANY gels that can be removed with regular nail polish remover or just a quick swipe with acetone. Not interested in any that require a soak. Thanks for your help.

  • I’ve tried this method numerous times and it usually chips after 2-3 days. I used gelous and the top coat you mentioned. I’ve used OPI and Essie nail polishes with the same results. I don’t know why it works for everyone else but not me. It is shinier than a normal manicure but lasts the same amount of time so that’s why I don’t do it anymore. I can’t figure out what I did wrong.

  • I stopped at Sally’s today and was told that any of the Gelous products require the lamp for curing. That isn’t mentioned in the instructions–is that an assumed step?

  • Thanks so much for the tutorial! I love it :). Although my mani is lasting well, the polish is cracking in quite a few places. Any suggestions? Maybe I applied too thickly?

  • I ran across this on Pinterest today, on my phone, while traveling. I went straight to google and searched for the nearest Sally’s. Only 5 minutes away! I bought the Gelous and did my nails in the car! So far I love it! I hope it lasts through the week. Thank you for posting!

  • Ok, so I’m on day 4 with no chips! A miracle. I used China Glaze bonder first, then China Glaze Strawberry Fields color, then gelous, then color, then gelous, then seche vite. A day later, another coat of gelous! I’m just curious to see how long I can get them to last. Thank you SO much for your tips!!!!

  • I just saw this yesterday and ran to Sally’s to get the stuff. I followed your steps exactly, including using China Glaze. I just finished my manicure and it looks great. I can’t wait to see if it lasts! Two other comments… 1, China glaze is BOGO free at Sally’s right now! And 2, I think the people in prior posts saying they need a lamp to cure may have been looking at Gelish instead of Gelous…. it took me a while to find the right one. Anyways, thanks for the great post!

  • i usually use Revlon NO CHIP top coat and it seems to last a long time, you can see where my nails have grow out and thats when i know its time to change nail polish. although I am always looking to make my nail polish last even longer. i always tend put on a thick layer of top coat though. but i was curious about the gel nails and thats how i stumbled across this and i think im going to have to try this most def.!

  • I found the best success for keeping your manicure good is to protect your nails when washing dishes and cleaning. I had trouble with peeling after a dish washing session. Rubber gloves protected them and I’m on 8 days. I’ll re do them tomorrow before leaving on a trip. It is nice to be able to make the manicure last!

  • Do you apply one final coat of seche vite over all of it? Or do you finish with the gelous?

  • Hi! Visiting from the Sits girls link up! I’ve tried this before and my nail polish chipped the next day so I did them again and had the same results. I’m wondering what I did wrong, because your nails looked great! I think it’s worth another shot!

  • Hey! Which top coat did you use? What polish did you use (certain brands don’t play nice with this method for some reason) ! Feel free to email me and I will try and give you any help I can 🙂

  • Can you use nail polish thinner in the Gelous when it gets thick? My manicure lasts a week, which is great!

  • So excited to try this! I generally wear a French manicure….any recommendations for doing it with these products??

  • Thanks for the post.!
    I tried this with a Wet and Wild and it wasn’t great, so today I bought some China Glaze. I’ll have to update you on how well it stays. I’m a food blogger and am always cooking, then washing my hands, then cleaning and doing dishes…
    I don’t know much about polish, but the China glaze was a little hard to apply. The brush is small and the polish was drying before I could cover my whole nail with it. This means my nails have a bit of texture.
    Maybe I just need to get better and faster at applying. Any advice?
    But even just hours after I applied I already feel like this is working and staying better than any polish I’ve tried before. I’ve even been playing the piano, so I sometimes hit the keys with my nails.
    Thank you!

  • I am SO excited to try this! I just went and got the “ingredients” today and am just waiting to put my toddler to bed so I can sit back with a glass of wine and do my gel mani and pedi! Thanks for the heads up! I’ll blog about it later and make sure to link back to your original post so all my readers know where I got the idea!


  • Did you know that the blog A Beautiful Mess basically plagiarized this entire post? Just thought you might like to know.

  • Yeah, unfortunately they seem to believe that they are above crediting anyone for obviously stole ideas, down to the shade of polish. It’s super sad that such *big* bloggers think they can do whatever they want! Thanks SO much for stopping by to let me know, I really do appreciate it!!

  • Fabulous post! Pinned. We couldn’t think of anyone better to party with! Thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm.
    Happy Saturday! Lou Lou Girls

  • Thank you for sharing your wonderful blog post with us at the #PureBlogLove recipe and DIY craft Link Party. I enjoyed dropping by and checking your blog post out and look forward to seeing you next week on Thursday at 8pm est- Sunday at midnight! Thanks again!
    Heidy L. McCallum

  • How would I apply if the polish needs ore than 2 coats to look good? Would I just keep going with polish and gelous?

  • Hi can’t wait to try this tonight. Another tip wipes your nails with plain white vinegar before the process it balances the natural oils on the nail bed allows the polish to adhere better! Happy No Chips!

  • Hi, I’m super excited to try this, but I don’t like paying over $10 for a bottle of nail polish. Could you tell me how much China Glaze and Seche Vite are? Thank you so much!

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