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How to Use/Apply and Remove Shellac GEL Nail Polish at Home

Updated on October 3, 2015

Tired of frequent nail salon visits?

Tired of emptying your wallet and spending hours at the nail salon? I've found a cheap and easy DIY method for applying Shellac gel nails at home. Online websites are the best place to buy your inexpensive UV lamp and Shellac nail polish. Below are easy steps to have beautiful nails all year round for the fraction of the cost!


What to Buy

1. 9W UV lamp

2. Shellac Base Coat

3. Shellac Color

4. Shellac Top Wipe Coat

5. Rubbing Alcohol

6. Cotton Balls

DIY Instructions

1. File Nails to appropriate size and length. Buff top surface of nail as well (you don't want a smooth nail surface).

2. Wipe nails with rubbing alcohol and let dry

3. Apply Shellac Base Coat

4. Place hands under UV lamp for 20 seconds

5. Apply Shellac Color polish

6. Place hands under UV lamp for 2 minutes

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for a double coat of the color polish

8. Apply Shellac Top Wipe Coat

9. Place hands under UV lamp for 2 minutes

10. Wipe nails thoroughly with rubbing alcohol to eliminate stickiness.

You are done! Nails will stay intact for at least 2 weeks without touch ups!


Recommended Gel Product

The easiest polish to use, in my opinion, is the CND Shellac. It comes in a bottle form like any other nail polish (see below). So no need for any additional brushes or pastes or any mess! The CND brand lasts several years and does not harden or get dried up like your typical polishes that lay around for years. All in all, it's a very cheap alternative to normal polishing.

Where to Buy Gel Polish and UV Lamp

I strongly recommend checking out prices on and They have competitive pricing and usually offer free shipping for most of their products. Sephora, Ulta, and other beauty stores have marked up prices and much less of a selection.

Recommended UV Nail Dryer

Any simple 9W UV nail lamp/dryer will dry your gel nails at home. Some dryers accommodate both hands but the cheaper products only accommodate one hand at a time. So keep in mind that a smaller UV dryer will require twice the amount of time.

Caution with UV Nail Dryers

Please be cautious of the over-exposure to UV light when using UV nail dryers/lamps frequently. Please apply sunscreen or wear gloves designed to minimize UV exposure.

Just as tanning beds put you at risk for skin cancer, these UV nail dryers put you at the same risk. Please visit this site for additional information on how to protect your hands and skin:

LED Curing lamps

Thankfully they have invented LED curing lamps to cure gel nail polish. This method does not introduce UV light into the manicure/pedicure visit. Unfortunately, LED lights are more expensive so not all salons have integrated this new technology into their salon. Do ask before your next visit for a mani/pedi!

Removal Techniques

I find it easiest to manually peel off the gel after about 3 weeks. I find it easy and fun to peel off!

The other method is to soak the nails in a 100% Acetone solution (professional strength) for 10 minutes and then gently remove with a wooden manicure stick. The strong acetone does not dry or damage the nails.

Stop Nail Biting!

I have been biting my nails for 30 years and finally found a cure. The Shellac gel polish creates a hard finish on my nail that I am no longer able to bite and chew. I have tried all methods to stop biting my nails and this is the most effective. My nails are so beautiful that I don't want to ruin them either... so it is partly now due to vanity!


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    • kps01851 profile image

      kps01851 2 years ago

      I am a Male who gets Mani and Pedi's on a regular basis and have been thinking of getting the shellac Gel, Although I have become comfortable with the strange looks I get from the other woman from just getting the Mani and Pedi I am not sure how they would feel about this. Any ladies care to comment before I try it? And no I don't do drugs I just like nice clean Nails

    • harmony155 profile image

      harmony155 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      No! Unfortunately, you must use base and top coat with the gel nail polish to adhere properly. You can, however, use regular colored nail polish to get the same effect (I've tried that before- and it works pretty well. Sometimes I get little bubbles so I mostly do this on my toes).

    • profile image

      brandi 3 years ago

      can I just use the nail gel polish color w/o the base and top coat and dry and be good to go?

    • rls8994 profile image

      rls8994 4 years ago from Mississippi

      Thank you for this very informative article. I am going to try this! :)

    • harmony155 profile image

      harmony155 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Dee: I have tried using regular color nail polish with the UV base coat and UV top coat. Unfortunately, in my experience, the color bubbles up and doesn't create a smooth finish. It may be helpful to wait one hour after your color nail polish dries. Let me know how it goes for you!

    • profile image

      Dee 4 years ago

      Thank you for the article. I stopped wearing nail polish because it chips soon after a manicure (2nd job in retail; shoes). I miss having beautiful nails and came upon Shellac nail polish treatment. I’ve recently ordered the top coat and the UV lamp, but I want to continue to wear my signature (brownish pink color). So I want to use only the Shellac Top Coat. I hope this works.

      I will wait a full hour after applying the regular nail polish to ensure it’s dry before using the UV lamp.

      Thank you again!


    • harmony155 profile image

      harmony155 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Amazon is having a special sale on UV nail lamps. Now is a good time to buy one for less than $25!

    • harmony155 profile image

      harmony155 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      So glad to hear you had success! It really is very easy to do on your own for a fraction of the cost!

    • profile image

      icelavs 5 years ago

      I did mine the other day at home and got blooming great results! Check out how they look! here

    • harmony155 profile image

      harmony155 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Jamie Brock & Angela Brummer: Thank you for visiting!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great information! I am a licenced nail teck and you did a great job with this article.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      Thank you so much for getting back to me! I definitely will be giving this a try :)

    • harmony155 profile image

      harmony155 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Jamie: My Mom has brittle nails and this gel nail polish has done wonders for her. You will need a UV lamp ( also available on eBay) to cure the nails dry. It really is easy and inexpensive.

      Your nails will be hard almost like acrylics :)

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      Is this the same as the liquid gel nail polish I've been seeing on Ebay? They say you have to have a UV lamp to cure it. How does the shellac dry? Is it really hard like acrylic nails? Just curious... I'm definitely interested in buying some.. my nails are really brittle so I need something that is going to be really hard and tough.. almost like acrylic nails like you can get done at the salon.

    • profile image

      Pam 5 years ago

      Great tips!