DIY Manicure Using Gel Nail Strips

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I’m one of those people that loves doing my own nails.  Partly because I’m just cheap or rather…ahem, frugal…but partly because it’s my version of spending time with myself.  For me, there is something kinda therapeutic about watching the paint go on, finishing it off with a shiny top coat, and seeing how pretty my hands are once I add rings, and get all cute and done up. 

I always think about how, back in the day, women did a lot of their own beautification routines.  They soaked in fragrant tubs, they curled their own hair, and they lotioned, lathered, glossed, and shimmered themselves to the nines!

I had a fairly normal nail routine before COVID hit, but lately, let’s just say things have fallen off a bit.  I’ve been seeing ads for gel nail strips and I’ve been pretty intrigued by it.  And you know how IG and the innanet works…once you look at one gel strip ad, they show up over and over and over until you just give in!  So I decided to buy some and give it a try.  What better way to spend a Saturday night, right?

I got my nail strips, read the instructions, gathered my materials, and jumped in.  And I love how they turned out!

Here’s what I used for my manicure:

Here are my steps:

  • Remove any nail polish if you have any on your nails
  • Push back your cuticles using the cuticle tool in your manicure kit
  • Use the swab from your nail strip kit to remove any remaining lotions, oils and debris
  • Put on one coat of ORLY nail bonder or a base coat.  This step is optional.  As with any base coat, this gives your paint something to adhere to.
  • One at a time, I did the sizing for my nails.  I selected the strip that was closest in size to whichever finger I was working on.  When in doubt, I sized down.  You do not want the strip to go past your cuticles.
  • Once you have selected a strip, use tweezers to remove the strip from the wrapper and place it in the center of your nail.  The tweezers help to eliminate excess touching, which can diminish the adhesive of the gel strip. As with anything sticky, the more you touch and manipulate it, the less sticky it becomes
  • Place the strip onto your nail and then use your fingers to smooth the strip onto the nail from the center, swiping outwards.  Wrap the strip around the tip of your nail as much as possible.
  • Using your nail file, file the excess strip from the tip of your nail.  Be firm when you file.  Also, you want to do your strokes in one direction at a time.  Doing back and forth filing will potentially rip the nail strip.  Once you file around the tip, you should be able to pull the excess off with your fingers.  You can also do some of the work with your clippers, but finish it off by filing the tip with your emery board.
  • Top with a top coat.  I used a gel top coat.  This is optional but could help seal around the edges of your strips and prolong the length of life for your manicure. 
  • Avoid soaps, oils, and lotions for an hour after you complete your application.

I LOVE how they turned out!  When I paint my nails, I’m lucky if I get a solid coat of polish to look decent.  I definitely have never gotten into designs and multiple colors.  This is such a fun and easy way to have designs and shapes and multiple colors without paying extra or without me killing myself following a youtube tutorial!  SO. EXCITED.!!

The packaging says that the gel strips can last up to 14 days.  I’m SUUUPER hard on my nails, so I don’t expect it to last that long.  If I get a week, I will be elated!  I will report back!

Have you been doing your own manicures during the pandemic?  Do you have any tips or products that have worked well for you?  Let a sista know!

In the meantime, here are a few more pics from my manicure photo shoot. I now have a whole new appreciation for hand models 🙂

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I'm a Maryland girl, cat owner, and music lover. I'm awkward and introverted and totally flawed, and learning to be ok with it all. Share this journey with me as I write about the various things I love about my state, my random ponderings, and this life of mine.