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DIY Glitter Nails using UV Gel Soak Off Polish
UV gel polish is all the rage right now! It's a special kind of nail polish that is made to be used with a UV lamp. After each coat you put your nails under the lamp and it cures the polish into a hard, shiny and durable finish that can last up to three weeks. This stuff is amazing! If you are not familiar with these, here is a very informative post that tells everything you need to know about soak off gel nail manicures.
Here I'm talking about UV gel glitter nails. There are many different brands out there but the most popular one I've seen is gelish. gelish soak off gel polish has a line of beautiful glitter colors that you can apply using UV technology. The colors are bright, bold and blingy! There are some generics out there as well and I really can't vouch for any because I have not tried them but I can vouch for the tutorial I'm about to share on how to use loose glitter along with gelish Foundation and Top It Off coats. Also, usually when working with glitter, it can get a bit messy but I was really surprised that there was hardly any waste of glitter and I didn't have a huge mess of glitter on my hands. It was surprisingly easy to clean up.
From what I can tell from my research on glitter gel nail manicures, it can be done with loose glitter or it can be done with polish that already has glitter in it, like the gelish brand and other generics. Typical me, I am always trying to use things I have here at home sometimes with luck, sometimes not. So I had the gelish Foundation and Top It Off coats that I had purchased a while back and because I am a obsessive-compulsive crafter, I have lots of loose glitter. So I gave it a go and I'm happy to report that my glitter nails were a huge success! So for all who are interested, here's exactly what I did:
Supplies Needed for Glitter Gel Nails
- Emery board
- Cuticle pusher or trimmers
- Buffing block (100/180 grit suggested)
- Soak Off Gel Bottom Coat such as gelish Foundation
- Soak Off Gel Top Coat such as gelish Top It Off
- Fine loose glitter
- UV Nail Lamp
- Rubbing alcohol
- Lint free wipes or paper towels
- Small paint brush or similar brush
- Extra nail polish brush from old bottle (optional)
- Small cup, like a liquid medicine cup (optional)
STEP ONE - Prepare Your Nails
It's important to properly prepare your nails before you apply the soak off gel products. Also be sure not to use any lotions, oils or creams on your nails until after the manicure is finished.
- Wash your hands and nails thoroughly.
- Push back your cuticles and trim if necessary.
- Use an emery board to shape your nails
- Use a buffing block (100/180 grit) to roughen up the top of your nail and take the shine off. This is super important! It helps make sure the product will adhere to your nails properly and for the appropriate length of time.
After buffing the surface of your nails, take a paper towel or lint free cloth and put some rubbing alcohol on it and wipe your nails with it. This takes off any dust from filing and also takes off any moisture or oils left on the nails.
After you wipe them with the alcohol, take the foundation coat and do one thin coat of foundation on every nail. Then put your hand in the UV nail lamp and cure for 1 minute, do the same for the other hand. If you have one of those lamps that fit both hands you can do them all at the same time.
After the nails have cured for one minute under the lamp, they will have a sticky film on top and this is completely normal and it's actually going to work to your advantage by causing the glitter to adhere to the nails. So get your glitter ready and dip the paint or cosmetic brush into the glitter and then pat it onto your nails. The glitter should stick right onto the nails and should have good coverage.
Apply a coat of gelish Top It Off or another brand of clear gel to seal the glitter and cure it under the UV lamp for 1 minute.
**Important Tip** I opted to use another nail polish brush to do this step and I was able to get my whole hand done so I didn't have to dip the brush back into the gelish Top It Off container. Whether you are using another brush or the gelish Top It Off brush, the important thing is to be sure and wipe off ALL glitter before putting it back into the container. You don't want to get glitter in your gelish Top It Off.
Repeat steps 3&4 for optimal glitter coverage
Now that you have the glitter on your nails, it's time for a final top coat. Simply do one more coat with the Top It Off or top coat of choice and cure your nails under the lamp for a full 2 minutes. Like the other times, your nails will have a sticky film but this time take a lint free cloth or paper towel and add some rubbing alcohol to it and wipe over the nails. This will take the sticky layer off and your nails will be perfectly dry. If you like, you can now apply cuticle oil, lotions and things like that. Your new glittery nails should last up to three weeks!