How to: Gel Nail Extensions from Start to Finish – A Step By Step Guide.
In comparison to regular nail polish, gel is incredibly long-lasting. And using extensions gives you the opportunity to extend and play with your natural nail shape & length.
There are several types of gel, but they all require a UV lamp to cure it, there are three main types of gel;
- Hard Gel (which must be removed by filing),
- Soak of Gel (which is removed in acetone),
- Gel Polish (which is applied like a nail polish and is also removed with acetone).
This guide will focus on the application of Hard Gel Extensions, as it is stronger and harder than the other forms of gel, so it better protects your nails from bending and breaking meaning it stays on longer than soft gels.
If you want to try gel extensions but don’t know where to start, this guide will give you a step-by-step explanation on how to apply gel extensions to ensure that your manicure or pedicure is absolutely foolproof.
1. Cut & File
The first step to a beautiful gel mani is properly preparing your nails, this will ensure the products apply with ease and that your polish will last. Start with cutting & filing your nails. Use a nail clipper to trim them to the size & shape you want, use a nail file to round out the edges for a smooth application.
2. Cuticle Care
Hydration is key for nail health. You should be using cuticle oil daily, but particular in combination with gel polish. Use cuticle pusher to push your cuticles back and remove any dead skin from your nail plate. Then, apply cuticle oil to nourish the skin surrounding your nails.
TIP: One thing to be careful of is not to apply oil too late in the process. If there is any oily residue still on your nails when you apply polish the base coat will have trouble adhering.
3. Buff Nails
Buffing your nails will help to ensure the surface is smooth for application and primed to bond with the gel.
4. Clean Nails
Clean your nails thoroughly with rubbing alcohol or cleanser to allow the polish to adhere directly the nails & extensions. Any impurities, such as remaining cuticle oil or dust particles can cause the polish to lift prematurely.
5. Nail Extensions
If using tips apply now and cut to desired length. You may either decide to apply tips using nail forms.
Pick up small bead of clear gel and place it in the centre of the nail, work it up over the free edge and down to the cuticle area in small circular motions, covering the whole nail, being sure to leave a clear margin around the sidewalls and cuticle. Nails will need to be cured under the UV lamp as you go, at this stage all fingers will have a base of clear gel.
Once tips are finished, you will need to shape and buff them repeating the previous preparation steps 1 & 3 to ensure for an even and smooth nail surface.
6. Apply Base Coat/Primer
Use a good gel base coat, which will ensure that the polish adheres properly and lasts as long as possible. Apply a thin coat over the whole nail, then cure each nail under a UV lamp to dry it. You’ll want to cure your base coat for at least 30 seconds to a minute before continuing to ensure that it has thoroughly dried.
7. Apply Gel Polish
Next you start on your selected colour. It is important to apply each layer in a thin coat, all the way to the edges of the nail. You want to apply the gel polish as close to the cuticle as possible. If you do make a mistake, simply wipe off the stray polish before curing.
Nail Technicians recommend at least two coats of colour, but the more you do the more opaque your application. Don’t worry if the first one looks streaky – thin layers will do the job better than thick uneven ones. Cure polish between each coat, placing your nails under the lamp for 30 to 45 seconds.
TIP: Shake your polish well before application to ensure that the formula is properly mixed.
8. Apply Top Coat
Once your nail colour is applied to your liking, apply a top coat to ensure that the colour is sealed and to give your nails that characteristic shine. It is extremely important to cover the entire nail with a top coat, and cap the edges for a perfect seal. Cure your nails one last time, for at least a minute, so you can ensure that they are perfectly dried and sealed.
TIP: Sometimes gel will leave a tacky residue after curing, which you can simply wipe off with a cotton pad dipped in alcohol. Then you’re good to go!
If you’re interested in becoming a pro at Gel Nail Extensions or would just like to broaden your current skill set, check out our Gel Nail Extensions Course. All products mentioned can be purchased at KMK Salon Supplies.
Check Out Our Range of Course Here!