How It Works: Gelish Gel Nail Polish

Augusta Falletta

gelish gel nail polish

You know how you see the “bestsellers” and “most popular” products in beauty stores, so you of course scoop them up, but then you realize you have no idea how to work them? In “How It Works,” we’re going to explain to you exactly how to get the best use out of your products, whether they are cult classics or hot off the conveyer belt must-haves. We’ll teach you the basics, as well as a few industry expert tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of everything you buy. 

If you’ve ever had a gel manicure, you know that it all seems like the best invention in the world until it comes time for the removal. Gel polish stays on for weeks, doesn’t lose shine and doesn’t chip whatsoever, which is why everyone loves it. What everyone hates, however, is the fact that once you try to remove gel polish, the process inevitably turns into an absolute mess, and you’re left with peeled, dry, cracked fingertips where your pretty nails used to be.

We’re just as critical on gel manicures as the next girl, not quick to believe anyone who tells us that “this one is different!” But, we’re happy to report that after going through the entire application, wear and removal process with Gelish, our manicure not only lasted, it also left our nails good as new once we took it off. Plus, the entire process can be done at home or in the salon, so regardless of how you like to get your manicure done, it’ll work for you.

MORE: Tips to Removing a No Chip Manicure

Product Perks: 

Gelish lasts for up to three weeks without chips or peels, the removal process can be done at home and doesn’t damage your nails and the polish comes in over 100 shades with new colors coming out every season, so you’ll always have a color you love.

How It Works: 

The light used to cure Gelish is LED, not UV, so you’re not getting any harmful radiation. The Basix Kit, which comes with everything you need for an at-home gel manicure, includes the Mini Gelish pH Bond, Mini Gelish Foundation, Top It Off, Nourish, Cleanser and Remover, all of which are hypoallergenic so your nails won’t be irritated. The reason the removal is so simple is that the remover contains keratin, so your nail is getting nourished as it soaks. Below is an outline of how to apply, then how to remove, Gelish.

MORE: 5 Ways to Cover Up a Chipped Manicure

Step 1: Clean your nail with Gelish Cleanser and a lint-free wipe, push back your cuticles with an orange stick and shape your nail with a file. Remove the shine from your natural nail with a cushion file. Use the lint-free wipe once more to remove debris.
Step 2: Apply the Gelish pH Bond (a protective layer that’s a huge part of the reason why your natural nail won’t be destroyed) to your nail, then the a very, very thin coat of Gelish Foundation over your entire nail, including the top of your nail. Place your fingers underneath the Mini Light for 1 minute (4 fingers on your right hand, four fingers on your left hand, then both of your thumbs). Clean up the edges of your nails with an orange stick, then use just a lint-free wipe with no product on it to remove the tacky surface with a bit of pressure.
Step 3: Apply a very, very thin layer of Gelish Soak Off Polish on your nail from cutcile to tip, but note that too thick of a polish will cause the gel to not cure properly. Place your fingers in the Mini Light for 2 minutes. Repeat this step for a second coat of polish.
Step 4: Apply a thin layer of Top It Off Gel Sealer on each nail, sealing the free edge, and place fingers under Mini Light for 2 minutes. Apply Nail Cleanser to a lint-free wipe, then wipe nails to remove tacky surface.
Step 5: Apply Nourish Cuticle Oil around cuticles and all of the skin surrounding the nail.

Below are the steps to the removal process:

Step 1: After about three weeks of wear, break the shine seal on your manicure with a 180 grit file by buffing the entire surface of the polish. Saturate a cotton pad in Gelish Soak Off Gel Remover, place the cotton on your nail, and wrap the tip of your finger in aluminum foil. Let your nails soak for 15-30 minutes, then remove the foil and cotton.
Step 2: Using an orange stick, gently push off any remaining polish that didn’t come off with the remover. Don’t press into the nail, but it’s okay to apply a bit of pressure.
Step 3: Rinse hands with water, then apply Nourishing Cuticle Oil to the nail and surrounding skin. Your nails will be good as new!

Where to Buy: Gelish Mini Polish, $10,