iGel Academy

9 Gel Nail Polish Mistakes You Should Avoid


Gel manicures can best be described in one word: long-lasting. A gel manicure isn't simply shiny in appearance; it's also resistant to cracking and can last for weeks. You can read our beginner's guide to gel polish blog if you want to know more about this nail trend. 

 It's hard to resist this nail trend since it's all over the internet, and with its lists of benefits, no wonder why people have been trying their hand at DIY gel manis. Therefore, making gel polish mistakes is inevitable, especially for those who just picked up the hobby or are still learning the trade professionally. 

We're diving into the most common mistakes people make when doing gel polish and how you can avoid them for you to have a wow-worthy gel manicure that will last for weeks.


Here are the top gel polish mistakes:

1. Not Prepping Properly


Prepping is commonly misunderstood by newbies as being exclusive to acrylic and dip manicures. You have to remember preparation is critical for any nail service or DIY nail. You can read our nail prep starter guide to learn about it in-depth. Prepping your nails will help set a strong foundation for your nails to make your gel polish aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting.

Beginner nail techs tend to oversimplify or skip the nail prep process since it can be time-consuming. However, good things come to those who wait, so better to prep your nails than see your gel mani crumble right before your eyes!

2. Failure to apply a top coat


Did you know that when you apply a top coat in your nail prep, it will help determine how long your gel manicure will last? One of the common mistakes people make is skipping the top coat when they shouldn't since it's one of the secret ingredients why gel manicures last.

 3. Refraining from using UV/LED lamps


Gel polish has different chemical compounds and formulations than a traditional nail polish which is why you'll be needing a UV/LED nail lamp when doing so. In addition, gel nail polish needs ultraviolet light to cure effectively. Keep in mind that other gel polish doesn't require a nail lamp, depending on the gel polish product and brand that you're using. You can check our roundup on our stylish UV/LED lamps.


4. Using excessively thick coats of gel polish


Thin layers of gel polish are a good amount to allow the UV/LED nail lamp to cure correctly. However, if you have bulky or overflowing coats of gel polish, it will create a list of dilemmas for you, from having a puddle of gel protruding on the surface of your nails to your gel polish not sticking longer than it should.

5. Not using a base coat


First, apply two coats of the base coat and cure each one for two minutes with a UV or LED lamp (30 seconds). You can give your nails extra sturdiness by using a base coat that's two layers thick. Thus, the gel polish will adhere effectively to your nails once you use this method. Aside from using a base coat, you can also use a builder gel to strengthen weak nail tips. 


6. Incorporating longer strokes when using gel polish


You can avoid your gel nail polish from getting under your nails and over the sidewalls if you use average-sized strokes as you apply. Non- lengthier strokes result in a more even application. Longer strokes will have a greater chance of making it under your cuticles and have the potential to be problematic.

7. Allowing the gel polish to touch your skin


Be sure to clean off any gel polish that gets on your cuticle or the skin around your nails right away to avoid any allergic reactions or the polish drying on your skin. To remove,  dip a cotton bud or Q-tip in acetone.  You can also use a toothbrush with acetone to remove excess gel polish on your sidewalls. Finally, you can use petroleum jelly like Vaseline once the gel has dried, then wash your hands to remove the gel polish effectively.

8. Excessive washing & filing of your nails


Another mistake you want to avoid is over buffing your nails since it can lead to brittle and fragile-looking nails. You can ask a doctor to prescribe vitamins like biotin if your nails are particularly weak. Instead, use a buffer to smooth the surface of your nails lightly. You have to ensure leaving a texture on your nails so that your gel polish will stick to them. The gel polish will not attach effectively to smooth-textured nail surfaces.

9. Forgetting to cap the smile line of your nails


Do not forget to cap the free edges once you have applied the base coat and top coat to your nails. If you skip this stage, there is a chance your gel polish will start to lift. After applying each coat of polish, be sure to seal the nail's edges with clear nail polish sealant.

DIY-ing nails is fun to do, and sometimes it can be confusing too, don’t worry. You can join our iGel Beauty Facebook community page to learn more about nail methods and best practices. The best part is you’ll be a part of a fun, loving, and supportive sisterhood. Join us!