How To Use Gel Nail Polish At Home

Creating your own gel manicure at home may seem intimidating at first. However, with the right tools and a few simple steps – you can learn how to apply gel polish so that your nails look professionally done, every time.

You may have noticed that gel nails are a widely popular choice for nail enthusiasts. There are a few reasons for this widespread favor, as gel nails come with a number of advantages over other manicure options.

Advantages of Getting a Gel Manicure

For starters, gel polish causes less damage to the nail than some acrylics as it’s relatively more flexible, yet still hardens well upon curing. Aside from being a long-lasting manicure option that is ideal for working hands, gel polish is also easier to apply at home. It involves simple techniques that are easier to master – regardless of your experience.

Lastly, if you’re looking to express your creativity and style through your nails – both beginners and advanced artists can easily learn how to use nail art supplies on top of a gel polish manicure. 

How to Use Gel Nail Polish In 6 Steps

The key to learning how to apply gel polish is the three step gel polish system. This usually consists of a gel color of your choice, along with a base coat and top coat. Depending on your preferences, you can also use other products to improve your gel manicure, such as nail treatments, cuticle oil, and nail art.

Step 1: Prepare the Nails and the Nail Bed

Before you begin, it is necessary to prepare the nails and the nail bed. Doing so ensures that your gel manicure will lay well and last longer. Start by removing any existing nail polish from your nails. Then, use a nail file and shape the nails to your preference.

To prepare the nail bed, use cuticle pushers to push back the cuticles and trim them using cuticle nippers. Learning how to use these tools will make your gel nail polish last longer.

Step 2: Apply the Base Coat

Typically, the top and base coats should belong to the same brand of gel color you’re using since their formulas are made to complement each other. Apply a thin layer of base coat to dry nails and cure them under an LED/UV lamp according to the instructions on the bottle. Learning how to use an LED/UV lamp is crucial for a gel nail polish manicure at home. 

Step 3: Apply a Gel Color of your Choice

Woman applying gel polish at home in bathrobe

This is the fun part of learning how to apply gel polish. Apply a thin coat of your chosen color and cure this under an LED/UV light for around 30 seconds. Follow this with a second coat and cure it again for the same amount of time.

Step 4: Apply a Top Coat

Choose a top coat that suits your needs. There are several options, including mattifying, high shine, or no wipe variations that leave no residue. Apply the top coat and cure it under the lamp.

Step 5: Wipe Off Nails

Unless you’ve used a no-wipe top coat, you should clean your nails with an alcohol wipe to get rid of the tacky residue.

Step 6: Finish With Cuticle Oil

Congratulations, you’ve learned how to use gel nail polish at home! This final step is optional but still good to implement: finish off with some cuticle oil after your manicure. This ensures your nails remain hydrated and healthy.

Tips & Tricks to Keep in Mind

While learning how to use gel nail polish on your own, there are a few tips that can be handy to keep in mind.

Maintain a Clean Workstation

Whether you’re an experienced nail tech or an at-home artist, it’s best to keep your workstation clean. To try and have fun while learning, you can play some music or put on a podcast.

Prepare Design Inspiration

A ring displaying different nail polish colors

Save some designs as inspiration so you have a vision in place before you begin. You can even practice them on a sheet of paper or nail display wheels to make sure you have the technique down.

It’s Easy to Start Over

Once you know how to apply gel polish on your own, remember that if you make a mistake, it’s easy to start over. You can wipe the polish off before it’s cured and start fresh, or remove your gel polish at home as well. 

Our Popular Gel Polish Collections

Now that you know how to use gel nail polish, it’s time to explore some of our popular collections and get started!


As one of the few national distributors of OPI products, we offer them at competitive prices. Browse the OPI Gel Color collection and find your favorite gel color shades for every occasion.


The Caramia Duo collection is a popular soak off gel option. Each set includes a bottle of gel polish with a bottle of nail lacquer. Explore an array of shades for all skin tones.


Our DND Gel Polish collection is exciting yet reliable for any level of experience. Choose from numerous shades of matching gel and nail polish to upgrade your manicure.

Nail Supplies for Everyone

Learning how to use gel nail polish is possible for all artists, regardless of past experience. All you need is the right tools, and a bit of guidance! Now that you’ve got the knowledge, go and find your tools. Explore our wholesale nail supplies for your next dream look.

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