How to Do Gel Nails at Home (Like Acrylic)

by Heather Dewar ; Updated September 28, 2017

Unlike acrylic, gel nails do not chip easily.

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Acrylic nail manicures look clean and professional, but having them done by a professional is costly. Additionally, acrylic nails cannot withstand much abuse, and the polish often chips away within days of your costly manicure. Acrylic nails also can permanently damage your nails. Nail stylists often use gel nails to replace this outdated form of nail care. Gel nail manicures are indistinguishable from acrylic, but they last much longer. You can easily perform a gel nail manicure at home. Purchase the supplies at most beauty supply stores, either individually or in kits.

Thoroughly wash and dry your hands and nails, paying special attention to your nail beds and cuticles.

File your nails. Use an orange wood cuticle stick to push back your cuticles.

Buff each nail lightly with a buffer.

Apply gel primer to each nail, including the tips, and allow them to dry completely.

Coat each of your nails with the gel foundation or base. Cure the gel under an LED light for one minute.

Apply a coat of gel polish and cure in the light for one minute. Repeat this step for all your nails.

Paint a coat of gel topcoat to all your nails and cure for one minute.

Apply the gel cleanser to a lint-free cloth or paper towel. Wipe your nails to remove any sticky residue.


  • A gel manicure will last about two weeks.

    Remove gel nail polish by soaking your nails in regular acetone nail polish remover.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Heather Dewar is a writer and homeschooling mother. She has been writing professionally since 2007, specializing in wellness, parenting, child development and education topics. She has worked professionally in the fields of early childhood education and massage therapy. Dewar is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in special education.