DIY Gel Nails at Home

DIY Gel Nails at Home

Beautiful gel nails can be achieved at home at a fraction of the cost of what you would pay at the salon.  The cost of a gel nails starter kit is the equivalent of getting your nails done only twice or three times at the salon. This will save you so much money in the long run, and your home manicure will last just as long as salon nails, too.  So, what are you waiting for? Let's see what you need to get started!  Our list below gives you a run down of all of the tools you need. 


  • Cuticle Pusher
  • Nail File
  • Buffer
  • Lint Wipes
  • Base coat
  • UV or LED Nail lamp
  • Gel polish
  • Top Coat (generally the same as the base coat)

See our top 2 picks for DIY gel nail starter kits below - both kits contain everything you need to get started and have the best ratings from verified customers on Amazon! Our experts here have reviewed over 100 starter kits and found these to be the best for technical specification, variety of polishes so you can experiment, and value for money.


#1 Gelish Harmony Complete Starter Kit #2 Modelone's Gel Nail Starter Kit

Why We Love It:

❤ Gelish are a leading and reputable brand - providing a wide variety of high quality gel polish that is also used by professionals in the salon

❤ Includes 5 gel polishes and all essentials needed to get started

❤ Comes with a LED UV light with 30 second curing time

❤ Guarantees beautiful salon gel nails that last up to 21 days

❤ LED light is compatible with other nail polish brands

Why We Love It:

❤ Comes with 4 beautiful glitter gel polishes. Extra colors can be added from the Modelone's range (see bottom of table for more colors)

❤ Includes bonus accessories: clippers, toe separators & nail brush

❤ Compatible with all brands of gel nail polish

❤ Includes extra non-essential accessories: clippers, cuticle oil, toe separators & nail brush

❤ Fast curing times - 30s, 60s and 90s timer



  1. To get started, we are going to prepare the natural nail for gel polish. The first step is to push back your cuticles to create a longer looking natural nail. Be as gentle as possible as this part of the nail / finger can be sensitive.
  2. A nail file should then be used to shape your natural nail so that edges are even and nails are tidy.
    Once you have finished filing your nails, it's time to buff the top of your nail using a soft buffer (a softer version of a nail file). This will enable the polish to stick better and it will get rid of any uneven surfaces.
  3. Using a lint nail wipe, clean all of your nails to ensure that no fibres are left behind

  POLish application

  1. The next step is to apply the base coat. A base coat is needed to: stop your natural nails from staining, act as a protective coat between the gel and your natural nail, and help the gel stay longer. An important step that should not be missed!  To start with the base coat, apply to your first 4 fingers, and then move onto step 2.  Follow steps 1 and 2 once your 4 fingers on each hand have been done.  The thumbs are recommened to be done separately as this will help to get a more even cure when it comes to putting your hands under the UV lamp.

  2. Once the base coat has been applied, you will need to use your UV nail lamp to cure the polish. The amount of time will depend on the brand of polish you are using, so be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended time. The usual time is between 30-60 seconds for a LED lamp.  

  3. The next step is the most exciting - applying you gel nail polish! Once you have chosen your colour, apply your gel nail polish to the 4 first fingers (doing the thumbs separately again).

    The number of coats you need will depend on your preferred outcome. For a deeper solid colour - apply 2-3 coats, for a lighter sheer gel finish, apply only one coat.  Each coat must be cured.

  4. The final step in applying the polish is to apply the last coat - the top coat. The top coat is generally the same polish that you would use as the base coat. This clear polish will give a shine to your color, and will protect your gel polish from chipping. Again, on the first 4 nails apply a coat of the final layer of polish and cure this for the recommended time as advised by the manufacturer.