The DIY life has really got us good.
We all know that nail technicians are artists. You leave your appointments with the most gorgeous glossy nails, sometimes with a bit of nail art to keep it interesting, and feeling like you can take on the world.
But now we’re on our own (thanks corona, thanks a lot).
If you’ve still got your acrylics or shellac on, they’re probably so grown out they’re hanging on by a thread. Or, like the majority of us, you’ve resorted to having to soak them off and now have naked baked bean fingers (we’re crying with you).
So, we’re here to save the day and teach you about doing your shellac, from the comfort of your own home.
Step one: Shaping
First things first, you’ll need to get your nails shaped, and ready for action. Have a really good nail file at the ready and buff until they’re your desired shape; whether that be rounded, squared or coffin.
Step two: Cuticles
I’ll give you a quick basic science lesson on cuticles.
Cuticles are the layer of skin that lay at the bottom of your finger nail. Their purpose is to protect the nail from bacteria and infections. When nail technicians get rid of your cuticles, it is purely for aesthetic purposes, to give you that even, perfect application.
The best method for treating your cuticles when having a manicure, is to push the cuticle back. You can use a little tool to help you do this, or just your other fingernail. Pushing back the cuticle keeps it intact, meaning that there are no breakages in the skin to allow bacteria in.
Cutting your cuticle leaves the skin open to bacterial infections. You’ll know if you’ve got an infection if the skin around the base of the nail is red and inflamed.
Step three: Cleaning
Next, you need to give your nails a quick clean. You can use the Mylee Nail Prep and Polish Wipe to sanitise the nail, get rid of any oils, and help ensure the perfect adhesion of your shellac. The CND Scrub Fresh Gel is also another great option to give you that squeaky clean nail.
Step 4: Light
You’re ready to start painting but, as we all know, Shellac doesn’t just air dry, it needs a UV light to set it. These lamps range in prices but here are a few of our favourites.
Mylee UV Lamp retails at £25.99, so not too bank breaking. However, this lamp only has one setting so you’ll have to time how long your nails are under the light yourself.
The NailStar Professional UV/LED lamp retails at £39.99. This lamp features three settings for perfect results, and also has automatic sensors which turn the light on your hand is inserted. Fancy!
This one is for the pros. If you really want to splash the cash and get the top of the range kit, then this CND lamp is perfect. With a starting price of £195 they’re tough to find. They rarely pop up on Amazon, and you can usually only buy them from other sites if you are a qualified technician, but it is possible to get your hands on one of these bad boys.
These lamps don’t need bulb replacements and claim to cure nails twice as fast. They also have different settings which either pulse or stay stationary for a set amount of time.
Step four: Base
Let’s get started! First things first, you’re going to need a base.
There are so many brands to buy from, and Amazon is a great place to have a browse through them all. Bluesky are a great option for bases, they also have some gorgeous colours too.
Step five: Colour
The most exciting step! Time to get creative with your colours and designs now!
Step six: Top
Now it’s time to seal off your design. Make sure you cap the end by running a thin layer of top coat over the front part of your nail.
NYK1 have a top coat that works for all nail systems, UV or LED. The top coat will also seal normal polish – great for getting the most out of your current nail polish collection.
Step seven: Tacky
Now that you’ve applied all the coats, you can probably notice that your nails are slightly tacky. To remove this you just need to put some finishing solution onto a cotton pad and wipe over each nail. Don’t worry, no colour will come off as long as you’ve cured them under the light correctly after each layer.
The Mylee Nail Prep and Polish Wipe that we mentioned earlier has a 2in1 property that will remove this tacky layer. But you can also use the Bluesky Cleansing Solution.
Step eight: Oil
We’ve probably all been there at the end of our nail appointments where our nail technician is trying to flog us almond oil and your sat there trying to politely think of a way to say no.
Well, actually almond oil is really beneficial to your shellac. It is a rich source of Vitamin E which helps to keep the nails moisturised and prevents the cuticles from cracking. This will maintain your manicure for longer as a dryer nail is going to cause your shellac to dry out and crack faster.
CND’s SolarOil is a really lovely nourishing oil that retails for £8.45.
And there you have it, your own at home manicure.
If you’re feeling creative, try out the new French Manicure trend.