DIY gel manicure and nail art supplies list

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this is a mega prep post for DIY gel manicures. if you read my blog, you know i’m a huge fan of gel manicures because your nails don’t break (mine are super strong and have grown because the gel protects them) and the polish doesn’t chip for two weeks! i usually get them done at the salon but i recently decided it would be more budget friendly and more fun, to DIY them!

i have a DIY video on a basic gel manicures coming soon. plus, i plan to do DIY nail art posts in the future. the following are all the supplies i have compiled for my at-home gel manicures and nail art and i wanted to share it with you!…

Gel Manicure Supplies…


Gel Manicure Supplies:

  1. after lots of research i decided to get the SensatioNail Starter Kit because it comes with all the essentials for an at-home gel manicure. the SensationNail Starter Kit is at CVS and Wal-Mart – i got mine on sale from cvs.com for $49. considering most salon gel manicures are $35 to $45 a pop, the $49 is a great price!
  2. the Starter Kit includes the LED light which is a must to cure the gel so no drying time! many gel kits come with a UV light but the LED takes less time to cure the nails (just 1 minute under the light for each coat). plus, i like the idea of less UV rays on my hands. they claim the bulbs last a lifetime, so you don’t have to worry about replacing them…unless you’re a vampire, but if you are, you should avoid the sun’s rays anyways!
  3. the Starter Kit also comes with the other essentials you will need to get a good gel manicure: 1) gel cleanser 2) gel primer 3) 1 polish color 4) gel base and top coat 5) lint-free wipes 6) nail buffer 7) orange (correction/cuticle) stick.
  4. i also got other gel polish colors since the starter kit only has one. i got a neon yellow and a glitter color from Gelish. i also got a clear Builder Gel which is a thick clear gel that you can use to adhere 3d nail art or make your nails stronger so they don’t break. you need to apply the builder gel with a brush since it comes in a little pot.

Nail Art Supplies…


Nail Art Supplies:

  1. brush kit with different sized brushes so you can do small details. if you have paintbrushes you can use those. i bought this kit of brushes.
  2. i love glitter! if you have loose pots of glitter you can create lots of nail art and even your own glitter nail polish. i got this kit of glitter pots from FantaSea.
  3. these 3d nail art rods or canes or sticks, called all three, are the coolest things ever! i bought this Mash 100 piece kit for $8.25.
  4. the canes have different tiny designs like lemons, and cats and strawberries!
  5. just cut thin slices from the cane using an exacto or razor blade to get a little nail art slice to glue or gel onto your nails.
  6. i also got this Bundle Monster of 5 nail art 3d wheels. there’s tiny rhinestones, beads and big glitter in every color for more 3d nail art options.
  7. Mash nail art tweezer to apply the rhinestones, beads and cane slices.

The Gel Manicure Removal:

it’s true, gel manicures stay put really well, so that means removing them is a little more involved than regular manicures. but the removal can be easy enough with these steps…

  1. i really like this Gelish Harmony remover because it’s not just pure acetone. you could use just regular acetone but it’s so drying. this harmony stuff has oils in it so it’s much less drying.
  2. soak your nails in a little bowl with some of the remover for a good 10 to 15 minutes (watch something good on TV while you’re doing it).
  3. the gel will start peeling off – chip it off with your nail or the metal file part on a nail clipper. you may need to soak a few more minutes.
  4. buff off the rest of the polish with a nail buffer.



  • Alegna

    I got a gel mani about 2 weeks ago because I saw it on your blog and figured out that it lasts long! It was worth the price :D

    • mrkate

       Great!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692171521 Monica Wisehart

    Can’t wait for the video! I’m obsessed with Gel manicures and definitely want to do them at home!! :)

  • carly hauger

    i have an enormous nail polish collection so im hesitant to buy gel nail polish. however, ive heard i can paint my nails with regular polish and then use a gel top coat and stick my hands in a uv or led lamp dryer. this way my nails would be super shiny and last longer. do you think this could work?

    • mrkate

       i haven’t tried it personally but i’m assuming it wouldn’t stay as long as a gel manicure. it might prolong your regular nail polish wear. i think the point of going all the way gel is that you use a PH balance solution (the Gel Prep) in the beginning that preps your nails for the gel to adhere to. But try it! xx

  • Kirsten135

    The most frustrating thing about your enthusiasm for gel manicures is that its almost impossible to get a starter kit of anykind (under $100 with shipping on top of that) in little old New Zealand :( I feel like I’m missing out!

    • mrkate

       Oh that does suck! I’m surprised beauty supply stores don’t carry gel supplies there. I’m sure they’ll get them soon!

  • Annette

    I was going to ask the same thing as Carly…I wonder if you can go through all the gel manicure steps, but use your regular polish instead.  I guess it’s worth experimenting.

  • carly hauger

    I was at CVS last night and looked more closely at the Sensationail starter kits I’d seen there for the past month or two and noticed a sneaky little pile of $10 off coupons hiding on top of the display. I pocketed one in case I end up going back for it, as it would bring the price down from $59 to $49 and includes the lamp as well as all the other necessary items.

    • Annette

       Walmart has the starter kits $10 cheaper at $49 already, FYI :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692171521 Monica Wisehart

    How do you use those 3D sticks??

  • Chan_tal02

    could we use the top coat on regular polish

  • Mimigdesign

    Hello Mr. Kate! I just purchased the Sensational LED Starter kit. Have you tried using OPI GelColor soak off with this LED Lamp? Will it work?

  • Pingback: DIY nails of the week: fairy grass manicure | Mr. Kate()

  • http://twitter.com/hannahxb Hannah B

    ZOMG a tiny leetle lemonnnn -__- those canes are a frickin’ great idea! JUST heard of these things… yep, late to the nail art game, right here.

  • Kennedy

    I know this was posted awhile ago, but I just wanted to point out that builder gel is NOT the same type of gel as the nail polish. Gel nail polishes are soak-off “hybrids”, aka you can remove them by soaking them in acetone (which is not harmful in the least, as long as you re-hydrate your nails with cuticle oil afterwards.) Builder gel is 100% gel, and is intended for professional use only for the actual building of nails like you would with acrylic, needs a totally different base and top coat for optimal performance, and it CANNOT be soaked off with acetone; it has to be filed off. You are normally required to have a nail or cosmo license to be able to buy this, but I guess you can get pretty much anything on the internet. Of course it’s not a bad idea to DIY, just please be really careful and make sure you know completely what you are doing before you start! I’m a professional nail tech and I have had to fix a couple of pretty nasty DIY jobs!

  • Rebecca

    If I wanted to could I use a builder gel and maybe create a bit of a tip with it using a nail form and then use uv nail polish, I was unsure about wether you could do that and wether after you still had to use base coat top coat etc.? Please help!