DIY Gel Nails

Two weeks ago, I posted a picture to my Instagram account of my nails after trying DIY gel manicure that I had found on Pinterest. I received A LOT of feedback, asking for me thoughts on the manicure and to share the process on the blog, so here we are! I can’t take credit for this because I found it via Pinterest on The Sweetest Thing blog, but I’ll share the process with you from my perspective!

Now, I am not the type of girl that normally has her fingernails painted. I WISH I was fancy like that, but because paint chips SO quickly, I can’t ever keep up with it. For our wedding, I got my first shellac manicure because I found a Groupon for like $15 or something ridiculous like that. And I LOVED it. I couldn’t believe how long it lasted without a single chip and how shiny it still looked at the end of 3 weeks. However, I just cannot bring myself to spend $35+ on my fingernails every 3 weeks, so this DIY gel manicure was so perfect for me. If you’re used to getting the salon-quality shellac, this probably won’t satisfy your beauty needs, but if you’re like me, this would be perfect to fit into your weekly routine.

Here’s what you’ll need:

-Gelous, Advanced Nail Gel Coat.
-Your favorite nail polish in any color.
-A top coat. I have two pictured because the blog I followed recommended Out the Door, but it wasn’t my fav. Next time, I’ll try Essie’s 3-way glaze.
-A nail file & cuticle pusher (not pictured).

Gelous and Out the Door can be purchased at Sally Beauty Supplies.


1. Remove any nail polish from your nails, and use the file to go ALL over your nails. (I did not do this step, and that was a BAD idea.)
2. Push back your cuticles. (I also did not do this, and it was another bad idea. More on that in a minute.)
3. Wash your hands to remove any oil, dirt, etc.
4.  Apply a thin layer of Gelous, Advanced Nail Gel Coat.
5. Allow a few minutes for that coat to dry, and then add another layer of Gelous.
6. Allow those 2 coats to set (about 7-8 minutes).
7. Apply a layer of your choice of nail polish. I used China Glaze’s “Dance Baby”. Allow it to set.
8. Apply another layer of Gelous, and allow it to semi-set.
9. Apply one more layer of your colored nail polish.
10. Apply your top coat.

VOILA! You have yourself a DIY gel manicure! Now, the instructions I followed assured me that it would take 20 minutes tops, and everything would be fully dry. This is definitely not true! With allowing the multiple layers to set, it ended up taking about 35 minutes from start to finish, and this did not include drying time. If you use Out the Door as your top coat, the top coat may feel dry, but the layers underneath will still be gummy. Because of this, I do not recommend doing this before bed because you will probably wake up with sheet marks on your nails. I did it before heading to church, and everything was completely dry by the time we were home about 2 hours later.

This manicure lasted about 5 days for me, which is about 4 days longer than a normal at-home manicure would have made it. I definitely wasn’t doing myself any favors by skipping the first few steps and not cleaning, filing, and pushing back the cuticles of my nails. If I had done those steps, I would bet that the manicure would have lasted at least a week, making the $6 bottle of Gelous TOTALLY worth it. I love how shiny this manicure turned out, but it didn’t stay very shiny past the day 2 mark. I supposed I could have added another top coat, but I didn’t think about it at the time. When it started coming off, each finger’s polish peeled off almost like a sticker, which made for very easy clean-up. (I’m not a fan of having to soak my fingers in acetone.) What I DIDN’T like was that it made my nails very thin and brittle, but I guess that’s normal with any type of gel/shellac manicure.

I definitely recommend giving this a try if you are a paint your nails at home kind of girl. $6 for the bottle of Gelous, using any color of polish that your heart desires, and a little bit of patience will make for a BIG payoff! Let me know if you give it a try and have any other tips for making work beautifully!

Happy Monday!

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