Tuesday, January 26, 2021

how I do my own nails at home

I used to get really bad hangnails all the time up until I started getting professional manicures in 2016. It completely solved the problem and I've been blissfully hangnail-free ever since. That is, until the pandemic started, and I realized I'd have to learn how to do my own nails, post haste! At first I bought a kit to DIY my own acrylics but it was really, really difficult. It took me somewhere between 4-6 hours each time I did them, they were really bumpy, they wouldn't last very long, and to get them off I'd have to file them down with an electric nail file which added even more time onto the process. I gave up on doing my own acrylics in May, just two months after I started lol!

In the mean time I tried just doing gel polish, which would always chip after 1-2 days, the Kiara Sky gelly system, and just plain old regular polish which chipped even faster than the gel and didn't make any difference preventing hangnails. 

Finally I decided to just try glue-on nails with gel polish over them and that has been my go-to method for over six months now. They last about 2-3 weeks and the whole process usually takes me about the length of a movie. It still takes a little longer than it would if I went to a salon and it lasts about one week less than a professional manicure (and it definitely doesn't look as great lol) but I'm so happy that I figured out a way to stay hangnail-free, have pretty manicured nails, and avoid unnecessary outings during the pandemic! These actually feel like real acrylics, they are hard as nails, and perfect for opening cans and scratching itches lol

What I use

- UV Lamp - This is the one that I have, and I really like it.
- Alcohol wipes
- Nail file
- 100% acetone
- Glue-on nails (I like KISS brand)
- Gel polish (I like Beetles and Kiara Sky brands)

My process

1. If I am removing old nails then first I would soak the nail in acetone for 15 minutes and then use a cuticle pusher & nail file to remove any leftover product. If you aren't removing old nails, skip ahead to step 2.
2. Use cuticle softener on the nail beds and then clean up with a cuticle pusher & trimmer before filing and wiping the nails with alcohol wipes. 
3. Apply a small dot of glue to the nail & a small dot to my own nail. Press for 30 seconds.
4. File the nails down to the length & shape that I like, and then file the surface to rough it up a bit so that the gel polish will hold.
5. Apply one coat of base gel to one hand. Put hand under the light for 99 seconds.
6. Apply one coat of color to one hand. Put hand under the light for 99 seconds.
7. Apply second coat of color to one hand. Put hand under the light for 99 seconds.
8. Apply one coat of top gel to one hand. Put hand under the light for 99 seconds.
9. Wipe fingers with alcohol wipes.
10. Repeat the process for your other hand.
11. Apply cuticle oil and massage it into the nail beds.

Some tips

- Don't skip the step where you file your nails and then wipe them with alcohol wipes before applying the glue-on nails. It really helps them to stick better.

- Once you figure out which nail fits perfectly on each finger, make a note of the number (it's either printed on a little removable tab or on the inside of the nail itself, depending on which type of nails you get) and then write it down. Then next time you do your nails you immediately know which ones fit and you don't have to take the time to size each one.

- Hold the nail in place after you glue it for 30 seconds. I know that seems like a lot but I've found they stay on better if I hold them longer than the recommended 10 seconds.

- If you have a hard time holding the nail in place without getting glue on your fingers (speaking from experience lol) buy longer nails and then file them down to the length that you want them. I prefer short-medium length nails but I buy slightly longer fake nails that give me a little lip to hold onto when I'm gluing.

- When the nails have been on for about 2-3 weeks they might start popping off on their own. LET THEM. Just go a few days with some missing nails. It ends up being a gigantic time saver when it comes time to put on a new set. I used to keep gluing mine back on and then when I was ready to remove them I had to soak all of my nails in acetone and slough off the glue and old nails, and it just takes so much longer than letting them pop off on their own. Usually like 9 of my nails will pop off in a 1-2 day span towards the end of my set and I'll be left with one single stubborn nail that will need to be soaked off, but it's way easier than doing all 10. All this being said, if one nail pops off 3 days into a new set I do still glue that one back on :)

- When you're painting with your non-dominant hand, I've found that it helps a lot of I move the hand that I'm painting instead of the hand holding the brush. It helps me have more control and has resulted in much, much neater paint jobs. Sometimes my right hand comes out even better than my left, something that definitely was not the case when I first started this last March lol!