How to Make Gel Nail Polish (7 Steps)

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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Are you tired of spending a fortune on gel nail polish at the salon? We have good news for you! You can actually make your own gel nail polish right at home. Did you know that gel nail polish lasts longer than regular polish and gives your nails a beautiful shine?

In this article, we will guide you through the simple steps to create custom-colored gel nail polish in the comfort of your own home. Get ready to save money and unleash your inner DIY manicurist with this easy tutorial.

  • Making your own gel nail polish at home offers cost savings compared to salon visits.
  • Homemade gel polish allows for endless customization options with different colors and nail art embellishments.
  • To create your own gel nail polish, gather essential supplies like a UV or LED cure lamp, glass or crystal nail files, a nail buffer, cuticle oil, rubbing alcohol, base coat and top coat, and gel polish.

5 Supplies Needed

To make your own gel nail polish, you will need the following:

LED or UV cure lamp

To achieve professional-looking gel nails at home, you’ll need a crucial tool: an LED or UV cure lamp. These lamps are essential for curing the gel polish, ensuring it stays in place and creates a long-lasting finish.

When the gel polish is applied, it needs to be exposed to specific wavelengths of light emitted by the lamp. This light triggers a chemical reaction in the gel formula, hardening it and adhering it to your nail bed.

A UV or LED cure lamp is a must-have for DIY gel nail enthusiasts looking to create beautiful manicures that stand the test of time.

Glass or crystal nail files

Glass or crystal nail files are essential tools for achieving professional-looking gel nails at home. Unlike traditional emery boards, glass and crystal files have a smoother surface that allows for precise shaping and filing of the nails.

These files are also more durable and can be easily cleaned, making them an excellent investment for long-term use. Additionally, glass and crystal nail files help to seal the edges of the nails while preventing chipping and splitting.

By using a glass or crystal file, you can create smooth, evenly shaped nails that will enhance the overall appearance of your gel manicure.

Nail buffer

To achieve a smooth and shiny surface on your nails, you’ll need to use a nail buffer. This handy tool helps in removing ridges and unevenness on the nail bed, giving you a perfect canvas for your gel polish application.

Gently buffing your nails also promotes better adhesion of the base coat and prevents chipping. Remember to be gentle when using a nail buffer to avoid causing damage or thinning of the nails.

The result? Beautifully prepped nails ready for your DIY gel manicure!

Top coat

To complete your DIY gel nail polish manicure, don’t forget to apply a top coat. The top coat is the final step that seals and protects your nails, giving them a glossy and long-lasting finish.

Apply a thin layer of the top coat over your cured gel polish, making sure to cover the entire nail surface. Then, cure it under the UV or LED lamp for the recommended time. Once cured, wipe off any tacky residue with rubbing alcohol or an alcohol-soaked pad to reveal shiny and beautiful nails.

The top coat not only enhances the color but also adds durability to your manicure, helping it last longer without chipping or fading. So don’t skip this essential step in achieving salon-quality gel nails at home!

Gel polish

Gel polish is a type of nail polish that provides a long-lasting and durable finish. Unlike regular nail polish, gel polish requires curing under a UV or LED lamp to harden and set.

This process helps the gel polish adhere better to the nails, preventing chipping and peeling for up to two weeks. Gel polish also dries quickly, so you don’t have to worry about smudging your freshly painted nails.

Whether you want a glossy or matte finish, gel polish offers a wide range of colors and finishes to choose from for that salon-quality manicure at home. Plus, with proper nail care and maintenance, you can enjoy beautiful gel nails without damaging your natural ones!

Can I Use the Cleaned Nail Polish Bottle for Making Gel Nail Polish?

Yes, you can use the cleaned nail polish bottle for making gel nail polish. Make sure the cleaning nail polish bottle is completely dry before pouring in the gel polish. It’s a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to repurpose old bottles for your DIY nail projects.

4 Steps To Prepare Your Nails

To get your nails ready for gel polish application, start by trimming and filing them to your desired shape. Push back your cuticles gently using a cuticle stick, then buff the surface of your nails to create a smooth base.

Don’t forget to apply some nourishing cuticle oil for added hydration before moving on!

Trim and file your nails.

To achieve the perfect gel nail manicure at home, it’s crucial to start with well-prepped nails. Trim your nails using a nail clipper to your desired length. Then, grab a glass or crystal nail file and gently shape them into your preferred shape – round, square, or pointed.

This step not only helps create a polished look but also prevents any snags or breaks in the future. Make sure to file in one direction and avoid sawing back and forth on the nails as this can cause damage.

By giving your nails the right trim and shape, you’re setting yourself up for a professional-looking gel manicure that will last longer.

Push back cuticles.

To achieve the perfect gel nail polish application, it’s important to push back your cuticles before you begin. By gently using a cuticle stick or an orangewood stick, you can easily push back the excess skin around your nails.

Pushing back the cuticles helps create a clean and polished look, allowing the gel polish to adhere smoothly to your nail bed. This step is crucial for ensuring a long-lasting manicure that looks professionally done.

So don’t forget to take a moment to push back those cuticles before moving on to the next steps!

Buff your nails.

Buffing your nails is an important step in preparing them for gel nail polish application. By gently buffing the surface of your nails, you can remove any ridges or imperfections, creating a smooth and even canvas for the polish.

This helps the gel polish adhere better to your nails, leading to a longer-lasting manicure. Remember to use a soft nail buffer and be gentle while buffing to avoid damaging the nail bed.

Buffing also promotes blood circulation in the nails, which can improve their overall health and appearance. So don’t skip this step before applying your DIY gel nail polish!

Apply cuticle oil.

To keep your nails and cuticles healthy, it’s important to apply cuticle oil regularly. Cuticle oil helps moisturize the skin around your nails, preventing dryness and cracking. It also nourishes the nail bed, promoting healthy nail growth.

After you’ve trimmed and filed your nails, push back your cuticles gently using a cuticle stick or an orange wood stick. Then, take a small amount of cuticle oil and massage it into each nail bed for a few seconds.

This will help soften the cuticles and improve their overall appearance. By applying cuticle oil regularly as part of your nail care routine, you’ll notice stronger and healthier nails over time.

4 Tips For Applying The Gel Nail Polish

Clean your nails with rubbing alcohol, apply a thin layer of base coat, cure under the lamp, and then apply the gel polish for professional-looking DIY gel nails. Keep reading to learn more tips for perfecting your at-home gel manicure!

Clean nails with rubbing alcohol.

Before applying gel nail polish, it’s important to ensure that your nails are clean and free from any oils or residue. To do this, clean your nails with rubbing alcohol using a cotton pad.

This will remove any dirt or oils that could interfere with the adhesion of the polish. Cleaning your nails with rubbing alcohol also helps to sanitize them, creating a hygienic surface for the gel polish application.

So make sure to give your nails a thorough cleaning before getting started for best results!

Apply a thin layer of base coat.

To ensure a strong and long-lasting gel manicure, start by applying a thin layer of base coat to your nails. The base coat acts as an adhesive, helping the gel polish adhere better to your nail bed.

It also creates a smooth surface for the color to be applied evenly. Be sure to cover the entire nail with the base coat, including the tips. This step is crucial in extending the longevity of your gel manicure and preventing any chipping or lifting of the color.

Cure under the lamp.

To achieve a long-lasting finish with your gel nail polish, it’s important to cure it under a UV or LED lamp. The lamp helps to harden the gel polish and create a durable result. After applying each coat of gel polish, place your nails under the lamp for the recommended curing time.

This step ensures that the polish adheres well to your nails and dries completely. Curing under the lamp is an essential part of the process to achieve professional-looking gel nails at home.

Additionally, curing under the lamp helps to prevent smudging or smearing of your freshly applied gel polish.

Repeat for additional coats.

Apply gel polish to each nail, making sure to cover the entire surface. Cure your nails under the lamp for the recommended amount of time. If desired, apply another thin layer of gel polish and cure again.

Repeat this step until you achieve your desired color opacity and depth. The more coats you apply, the longer it may take for them to fully cure under the lamp. So be patient and follow the instructions on your gel polish bottle for optimal results.

3 Steps In Finishing with Top Coat

Apply a thin layer of top coat to seal and protect your gel nail polish. Cure the top coat under the lamp for the recommended time, then wipe off any tacky residue with rubbing alcohol for a glossy finish.

Apply a thin layer of top coat.

To achieve a glossy and long-lasting finish, it is essential to apply a thin layer of top coat to your gel nails. The top coat acts as a protective barrier, sealing in the color and adding shine.

Using a high-quality top coat will also help prevent chipping and peeling, ensuring that your manicure lasts longer. After curing each layer of gel polish under the lamp, carefully brush on the top coat in smooth strokes, making sure to cover the entire nail surface.

Once applied, cure the top coat under the lamp for the recommended time. This final step will give your DIY gel nails a professional-looking finish that you’ll love showing off!

Cure under the lamp.

To achieve a long-lasting and durable finish for your gel nails, it is essential to cure them under a lamp. The UV or LED lamp helps in hardening the gel polish and ensures that it adheres to your nail bed properly.

Once you have applied a thin layer of gel polish, simply place your nails under the lamp for the specified curing time. This process activates the ingredients in the gel polish, allowing it to dry quickly and securely bond to your natural nails.

By curing your gel nails under the lamp, you can enjoy beautiful and salon-worthy results that will last for weeks without chipping or smudging.

Wipe off tacky layer.

After curing your gel nails under the lamp, there will be a tacky layer left on the surface. This is completely normal and can easily be removed by wiping it off with rubbing alcohol or a cleanser specifically designed for gel polish.

By doing this, you’ll reveal the shiny and smooth finish of your manicure. Wiping off the tacky layer is an essential step in achieving professional-looking gel nails at home.

5 Tips for Perfect DIY Gel Nails

To achieve perfect DIY gel nails, choose high-quality products and apply thin layers for better curing. Be careful to avoid getting polish on your skin and take your time during the application process.

Properly remove gel polish when needed and be patient with the drying time.

Choose quality products.

Choosing quality products is essential for achieving professional-looking gel nails at home. When selecting gel nail polish, opt for reputable brands like Gelish or OPI to ensure the best results.

Quality gel polishes are formulated with high-quality ingredients that provide better coverage and durability. Additionally, make sure to invest in a good LED or UV cure lamp as it plays a crucial role in properly curing the gel polish and creating a long-lasting finish.

By choosing quality products, you can achieve salon-worthy gel nails that will impress everyone without having to leave your home.

Use thin layers for better curing.

When applying gel nail polish, it is important to use thin layers for better curing. This allows the light from the UV or LED lamp to penetrate through each layer more effectively, resulting in a stronger and longer-lasting manicure.

Thick layers of gel polish may not dry evenly and can lead to peeling or chipping. By applying thin layers and curing them properly under the lamp, you can ensure a flawless and durable finish that will keep your nails looking beautiful for weeks.

Remember, patience is key when it comes to achieving perfect DIY gel nails!

Avoid getting polish on skin.

To ensure a clean and professional-looking manicure, it’s important to avoid getting gel polish on your skin. This can be achieved by using an angled brush to carefully apply the polish, starting from the center of the nail and working towards the edges.

If any polish does get on your skin, use a small brush dipped in acetone to gently remove it before curing under the lamp. By taking these precautions, you’ll achieve flawless nails without any messy cleanup afterward.

Properly remove gel polish.

To properly remove gel polish, start by soaking a cotton pad in acetone. Place the soaked pad on your nail and wrap it with aluminum foil to hold it in place. Let it soak for at least ten minutes to loosen the gel polish.

After that, gently push off the softened gel using a cuticle stick or an orangewood stick. Be careful not to scrape too hard as this can damage your nails. Once all the gel polish is removed, wash your hands thoroughly and apply cuticle oil to hydrate your nails and cuticles.

Properly removing gel polish helps maintain healthy nails and prepares them for a fresh application of color when desired.

Be patient and take your time.

To achieve the best results when applying gel nail polish at home, it’s essential to be patient and take your time. Rushing through the process can lead to uneven application or smudging, which can affect the overall appearance of your manicure.

Remember that each layer of gel polish needs to be cured under a UV or LED lamp before moving on to the next one. Taking your time ensures that each coat dries properly and adheres well to your nails, resulting in a longer-lasting finish.

So slow down, enjoy the process, and give yourself plenty of time for each step – you’ll be rewarded with beautiful DIY gel nails that rival those done at a salon.

Benefits of making your own gel nail polish

Creating your own gel nail polish at home offers numerous benefits. You can save a significant amount of money usually spent at the salon for professional manicures. Gel nails’ longevity and durable finish mean fewer touch-ups, cutting down costs further.

Plus, homemade gel polish provides endless customization options. Experiment with different colors that suit your mood or outfit for the day without being limited to the existing shades available in stores.

Moreover, making your own also assures you of the product’s quality, as you control what goes into it – giving peace of mind especially if you have sensitive skin or want to avoid certain chemicals typically found in commercial nail products.

Cost savings

DIY gel nails offer more than just the satisfaction of a well-done manicure; there are significant cost savings too. Visiting a nail salon for gel polish application can quickly escalate into an expensive habit, especially considering the frequency of touch-ups required.

By investing in your own supplies and learning how to apply gel polish at home, you can save the majority of those costs over time. Most importantly, this at-home process eliminates paying professional service fees while allowing you to maintain glossy, beautiful nails on your own schedule.

Not forgetting those travel expenses saved from unnecessary salon visits! A simple calculation shows that after six or so DIY applications—factoring in the initial outlay for supplies—you’ll start saving money compared to routine salon visits.

Customization options

Create your own unique gel nail polish colors with the wide range of customization options available. Mix different shades together to achieve your desired color or experiment with adding glitter, shimmer, or other nail art embellishments for a personalized touch.

With gel nails, you have the freedom to express your style and creativity by designing one-of-a-kind looks that can’t be found in traditional nail salons. Whether you prefer vibrant and bold hues or subtle and elegant tones, the possibilities are endless when it comes to customizing your gel manicure.

Let your imagination run wild and turn your nails into works of art that reflect your individuality.


In conclusion, making your own gel nail polish offers numerous benefits including cost savings and the ability to customize colors. By following the proper steps and using quality products, you can achieve professional-looking gel nails at home while saving time and money.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors and designs to create your own unique style.


1. How can I make my custom color gel nail polish at home?

You can easily create your own custom color gel nail polish by mixing regular nail polish with a gel top coat and adding few nail polish mixing balls for better consistency.

2. What are some tips for maintaining the longevity of my homemade gel manicure?

To ensure optimal drying time, proper shape, and long-lasting wear of your homemade gel manicure, use quality materials, take good care of your nails’ health with regular treatments and follow professional nail technician’s advice.

3. Can I turn my ordinary nail polish into a gel one?

Yes! You can convert any regular nail polish to a durable gel type by simply applying it with a special clear top coat specifically designed for converting normal polishes into gels.

4. What should I do to remove the DIY Gel Nail Polish safely?

For safe removal of your DIY Gel Nail Polish without damaging your natural nails underneath or compromising their health, make sure you follow standard procedures like soaking in an acetone-based remover.

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Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

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