Few things in the beauty realm feel as satisfying as a fresh set of gel nails – but feeding our mani habit can indeed be a costly endeavour. The solution? Do you own gel nails at home – no, seriously. Today, there’s a host of genuinely brilliant at-home gel nail kits that anyone can get the hang of, no matter how unsteady their hand. Trust us: you’ll be refreshing those tips with one eye on Netflix in no time.
You might be sceptical about an at-home gel nail kit being as good as the professionals, but we’ve tried and tested the best on the market and, it turns out, some are pretty effective. Whether you just want a classic French or are brave enough to experiment with some nail art, there’s a kit that can sustain all your gel nail needs…
How To Apply Gel Nails
While you might not be able to do the job quite as quickly as a manicurist, we’ve simplified the process so it doesn’t seem like such a daunting task. It’s an ideal at-home pamper evening if you ask us, and remember, practise makes perfect:
- Prep nails by filing them to your desired shape. Follow with buffing and pushing back your cuticles. Finish by cleaning them with a cleanser or alcohol wipe to make them squeaky-clean.
- Apply a thin layer of base coat before putting your nails under the LED lamp for 60 seconds (most lamps will time this for you). Top Tip: go over the tip of your nail with a coat of polish to seal and prevent premature chipping.
- Apply a thin layer of the colour of your choice, curing for 60 seconds. Coat, cure, repeat at least twice, or until the colour is opaque.
- Finish by applying a layer of your top coat and curing for 60 seconds.
- Clean your nails to remove any stickiness and you’re good to go.
How We Test
Our 49 beauty testers trialled gel nail kits over a two-week period. They assessed each set on ease of use, application time, curing time and the final look of their nails, while keeping an eye on how long they lasted before chipping, peeling or dulling.
The Best Gel Nail Kits For An At-Home Mani
Best For Long-Lasting Gel Nails
Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit
Best For A Natural Option
Green Flash Pro Kit
Testers loved the effortless application process, with two coats of polish leaving them with a streak-free pigmented punch of colour. They noticed peeling and chipping after five days but nearly all found that their nails still looked healthy after the removal process.Kit includes: LED lamp, base coat, one colour, top coat, removal cleanser
Best for Nail Art
Gel Manicure Kit – Fairy Floss
Best For Speed
Express Starter Kit
Best LED Lamp
Gel Polish LED Manicure Kit
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