DIY Lightless Gel Manicure

7:00 AM

Well ladies and's been a long week. We have arrived at the seventh day of my lightless gel mani trial.  I know you're going to be impressed because the picture above it my seventh day of wearing this manicure. SEVEN. DAYS. Seven!  Color me gobsmacked because I really thought this was going to be a fail.  You can see that I even managed to break off the corner of my index nail and still my polish is near perfect. There is some growth at the cuticle (duh) and a bit of wear at the tip of my index finger. Also some VERY minimal wear on the other fingers (I attribute the extra to the break). I got bored about three days in and threw some Lime Crime glitter in Leo on my ring finger too! :P

 I use my hands a lot at work and my manicures do not last. With Seche Vite they manage to go for about four days without chips but that's been the longest I've had so far.  If you don't type and use your hands all day long every day you'll probably be able to wear this even longer. To have something that doesn't require an expensive light, doesn't require new polishes and doesn't require any special training to do....that really lasts is just fabulous. Another really wonderful thing about this is that there is no special removal method. You can simply remove it as you would any regular polish.  It comes off easy as that.  So now I know you're asking, how do I do this?  Well let me show you!!

 A few things I want to note for you quickly:

*Though this is not gel polish, it's VERY important that when you're wearing polish without changing it for long periods of time to use a cuticle oil everyday or at least once every other day.  This not only helps the polish last but it protects the nail underneath from damage due to dryness. 

*If you choose to do this more than once every two weeks, DO NOT buff your nails each time. ONLY buff them once every other week.  

*Use of a bonding agent is optional. I tried this once with it and once without and I found that it did help somewhat in extending the wear time.

*Keep your coats of polish THIN. The first time I did this on my non dominant hand I was a little heavy. Three hours after polishing this happened...

Fail. So just keep them pretty thin so that they have ample time to dry. :)  Now let's get this thing going!!

You'll need: 
A buffer (go with a 225 or above)
A fast dry topcoat (I'm using Seche Vite)
A bottle of polish
Polish remover of your choice

A bonding agent (I used OPI Bond Aid)
A clean up brush
Drying drops (I used Orly Flash Dry)
Cuticle Oil (I used CND Solar Oil)
Lotion (I used CND Almond Lotion

Make sure you allow yourself at least an hour the first time you do this procedure. Salons allow one hour and fifteen minutes for a gel manicure so that's not unreasonable. Once you have the technique down, you can get this done in thirty minutes or less. :)

How to apply the gel manicure:

Start by removing all old polish and making sure nails are clean and dry.  Then lightly buff the surface, just to remove the shine from the nail plate.  Wash your hands or swipe them one more time with polish remover or acetone to be sure there is no residue from the buffing.  Then apply the bonder if you're using it.  Apply one thin coat of the Gelous. Allow it two minutes to dry and then add another thin coat. Allow this three minutes to set. Then apply your first layer of polish. Allow it five minutes to dry and then apply another thin layer of the Gelous. Be sure to wrap the tips when polishing AND when applying the Gelous.  Allow the Gelous two minutes to semi-dry and then add one final layer of polish. Finish with your fast dry top coat and then if you wish, wait one minute and add the drying drops.  If you're skilled at this, you can do this entire routine start to finish in twenty minutes. I use the time in between coats while the polish is drying or the Gelous is setting to use my cleanup brush and clean the edges. If any polish dries on the skin it can cause this whole thing to lift off so it's important to get it all off before applying the top coat at the end.  Give your top coat about five to ten minutes to dry before applying your cuticle oil and lotion. Then you're all set and ready to go! 

 You can use this with ANY polish in your collection! I didn't even have to buy the Gelous so it turned out to be a totally FREE gel manicure for me. :) Win! Plus none of the scary side effects of LED/UV light (not that that stopped me before :P)  I'd love to hear the results some of you have if you try this at home! I'm very hard on my hands at work so if it lasts this long on me I can only imagine the results some of you will have! Happy polishing!

Original post for this at home gel manicure can be viewed at The Sweetest Thing.

You Might Also Like


  1. Agreed - genius! I'm digging through my stash now to find all these items!

  2. I've got to try this! Just got my first gel mani yesterday at a nail salon and I don't like that light.

  3. I've just finished this mani step by step. Took off gels and am hopeful, but expectations are low. I have always had crappy nails (hence the gels) and have never had a manicure last more than a day and a half. Fingers crossed.


Thank you for visiting and commenting! I read all my comments and love to hear from you! Please DO NOT leave links in the comment box. ALL links which are not relevant to the post are subject to deletion. If you'd like me to check out your blog, please email me at Thank you again!

Popular Posts

Like us on Facebook

Flickr Images