Gel nails first graced the nail service industry a few years ago and instantly achieved huge success worldwide. Since then, their popularity hasn’t faded a bit; in fact, it has grown stronger and still continues to increase.

Traditional nail polish manicures are still popular, but they are overshadowed by brand-new, exciting, and long-lasting alternatives, such as gel nail polish.

Let’s see what makes gel nails so special and what their key benefits are that contributed to their grand success.

Once you read this article, you will know:

  • what is a gel polish manicure,
  • what are the key benefits of gel nails,
  • how to do gel nails at home.

What is a gel polish manicure?

In fact, gel manicures look like traditional manicures with a little bit more shine. Nevertheless, instead of using traditional nail polish, they are applied with a soft gel.

The gel serves as an overlay on the nails and can last up to four weeks with no damage. As a result, you can have a perfect, shiny manicure with no chipping, peeling, or cracking for a whole month.

It is also worth mentioning that the gel layer needs to be cured under UV or LED light. Once it is exposed to the specific wavelengths of such lengths, there is a chemical reaction known as polymerization that converts the liquid gel into a hard, solid one. Consequently, you end up with a sticky layer on top of the hardened gel that you can remove by rubbing it with a lint-free pad soaked in alcohol.

What are the key benefits of gel nails?

Long-lasting effect

As already mentioned, a traditional nail polish manicure stays in impeccable condition for up to one week if you are especially careful when exercising, cooking, or cleaning up. Unfortunately, it is highly vulnerable to losing shine and chipping.

Luckily, gel manicure can last intact for at least 2 weeks, even up to 4 weeks. In fact, if you are not a physical worker and don’t expose your gel manicure to difficult conditions, it should remain in a perfect state until the removal process.

It is worth mentioning, though, that the long-lasting effect of gel nails can only be achieved when your gel manicure is applied with high precision and using the most reliable nail products. Therefore, always make sure you use the services of a reliable nail technician or purchase exclusively high-quality products for DIY gel manicures.


If you have manicured your nails with traditional nail polish, you know how slowly it dries. And how tricky it can be when, after an hour, you can still easily damage it with a simple gesture.

Truth be told, the process of drying traditional nail polish is lengthy. It is said to last around one hour, but, in reality, it can extend up to three hours to fully curate.

Although gel nail polish doesn’t dry naturally, the process of curing is quick and smooth. Moreover, it won’t chip when you get back to your daily routine.

In the process of gel manicure application, a high-quality LED or UV light is one of the most important manicure tools because it dries the coat of gel polish, which would remain sticky otherwise.


Apart from the quick-dry effect, a LED or UV lamp secures the durability and resistance to any kind of damage (for example, smudging) to your gel manicure.

It is also worth mentioning that the color of your gel nail polish remains bright and shiny even after 4 weeks, when it is high time to refresh your manicure anyway.


Gel manicures have a bad reputation for damaging your natural nails. Nevertheless, it is the most common myth about gel nails and has nothing to do with reality.

In fact, gel nail polish doesn’t influence your natural nails’ condition if you remove it correctly without scraping it off.

It is worth mentioning, though, that the removal process of gel manicures is not as easy as removing traditional nail polish. Therefore, it is advisable to have it done by a professional nail technician if you don’t have a lot of experience with nail art.

How to do gel nails at home?

Gel nails are so popular these days that the majority of professional nail salons offer them at a slightly higher cost than traditional old-school manicures. If you don’t have much experience with nail jobs, using the services of a nail technician is a secure and easy way to go, which also allows you to play with additional nail art if you wish.

Nevertheless, you can also try to do gel nails at home once you equip yourself with a few appliances and go through the process step by step.

What equipment do you need for a DIY gel manicure?

That being said, to do a perfect gel manicure at home, you need:

  • LED or UV light,
  • high-quality gel nail polish,
  • primer, protein base coat, and top coat,
  • rubbing alcohol,
  • standard manicure tools like a file or cuticle tweezers.

Although the initial cost may seem high, you will eventually come out ahead, as you will be using all these appliances for multiple gel manicures.

How to apply gel manicures step-by-step?

As already mentioned, remember that to do a perfect gel manicure, you need to be patient and precise. The whole manicure process can be broken into a few steps, such as:

  • trimming and shaping your nails,
  • grooming your cuticles meticulously,
  • dehydrating and cleaning the nail bed with primer,
  • applying a protein base coat,
  • applying two coats of gel polish of your choice,
  • applying a top coat,
  • wiping your nails with rubbing alcohol to remove the sticky layer on top of the gel layer,
  • applying cuticle oil to the nails.


Keep in mind also that each layer of the polish coat, including the base and top coat, needs to be cured under a UV or LED lamp for 30 to 60 seconds before you apply the next layer.

As you can see, apart from a few additional products and using LED or UV light, the manicure process is a lot like the traditional one. Therefore, if you have already done your manicure at home, you can also try out a gel manicure.

Summing up, gel nails are long-lasting, shiny, and durable. By using an LED or UV light to harden the nail polish, it quickly dries, remains resistant to chipping and smudging, and has a beautiful shining effect for up to 4 weeks.