The start up costs to do at home gel nails. A basic starter set from the drugstore will cost around $40-$60. To do a startup on a more professional level, you will need the following:
- topcoat and basecoat= $30
- basic powerful UV light= $50
- gel color polish= $15
- acetone= $1
- alcohol= $1
- lint free cloth/papertowel=$1
- cuticle pusher= $1
Optional products would be cuticle removers and cuticle oils.
If you know this is something you want to invest in, I would save up and go pro. It makes the process go faster (the more powerful light makes the most difference). I would also say that the UV light is more versatile since it can be used with different kinds of gel systems. I have tried Shellac and Red Carpet Manicure, they both can be used with UV. Some systems cannot use LED making it less versatile but more "safe". You can use gelish, red carpet, whatever. The most important tips IMO are to use Shellac with shellac, Gelish with gelish, etc... don't mix and match (for best results)
Fairly easy. You make sure you remove your cuticles/shape your nails. Clean your bare nails with alcohol. Put on the base coat, cure. I put on 2 coats of color, cure. Then the topcoat, cure (wipe with alcohol with lint free cloth after each step). You have to be more neat and careful so that it does not get on your cuticles. You have to master the art of thin coats, some of mine were clumpy but not very noticeable. It takes me about 30min or less for the whole process and the pics above is how it held up.
The process I am currently experimenting with is the gelly sandwich. It makes it more versatile where you can try and incorporate your reg polishes. I do a base coat (cure and wipe), then top coat (cure and wipe), then color x2-3 coats. Let it dry overnight, then apply another topcoat, cure and wipe. I am noticing that it does not last as great, but still testing it out, so I will do an update post. I will say that so far it is holding up better than regular polish alone. This second try was more even than the first try, I suspect my third try will look "professional".
Some people do the gelly sandwich by doing a base coat, cure and wipe. Applying your reg nail polish and dry overnight, then apply a top coat the next day, cure and wipe. You really have to let your reg color be completely dry or it will NOT work.
I found the red carpet removed better than the shellac. I did use the gelly sandwich with red carpet which is "weaker" so that could be why it removed better. The only damage that happened was due to my own mistakes. I have a really good metal cuticle pusher, I over zealously scrapped some nails and that caused minor damage. Had I been more gentle and patient, I would not have had any damage. Take your time soaking.
Well, if you have any questions let me know, I hope that this was brief but informative. Let me know if you have any tricks or have tried this at home.