Easy At-Home Manicure: How to Cure Gel Nail Polish With an LED Light

Kreena Desai
by Kreena Desai
8 Materials
15 Minutes

Today I want to give you a tutorial on how to cure gel nail polish with an LED light. If you are getting your first LED light and don’t know what wattage lamp you need for gel nails, the one I use in this tutorial is from Ellement Co. and is 9 watts.

You can get more expensive LED lights for gel nails with a higher wattage, but if you follow this step-by-step tutorial and cure your nails as instructed, the lower wattage should be fine.

Tools and materials:

  • Gel nail polish
  • LED light
  • Water
  • Fresh lemon or lime
  • Cuticle pusher
  • Cuticle cutter
  • Nail buffer
  • Soft bristle brush
Soaking nails in water

1. Prepare your cuticles

Start by soaking your fingers in lukewarm water.

Using lime to remove oil on the nails

Slice open a fresh lemon or lime and rub the fruit all over your nails. This will remove any excess oil from your nail beds and makes your nails stronger. Leave the juice on your nails for a few minutes.

Prepping nails ready for gel nail polish

Then, soak your nails in warm water again. This second soak will soften your cuticles. 

Using a cuticle spray

Now, spray your cuticles with a commercial cuticle remover and rub it into your cuticles. 

Pushing back cuticles

Next, use a cuticle pusher to push back the cuticles that are still stuck to your nail. This will help your nails grow out faster and stronger. 

Trimming cuticles with a cuticle cutter

Finally, use a cuticle cutter to remove any dead skin from around your nail bed. Be really careful when you’re doing this last step because you don’t want to break any skin and cause an infection.

Filing and shaping nails with a nail file

2. Prepare your nail tips

File your nails with a nail file, only drawing the nail file in one direction. If you go back and forth with your nail file, you can damage your nails.

My preferred nail shape is a square tip with rounded corners, but you can shape your nails however you like.

Buffing the surface of nails

Rub a nail buffer all over the surface of your nails to get an even texture. Buffing also helps to remove ridges on your nails and gives your nails a natural shine. 

Using a nail brush to remove any debris

Use a soft bristle brush over your nails to remove any nail dust and then clean your nails with nail polish remover. This will help your gel nail polish glide on smoothly.

Applying gel nail polish to nails

3. Apply gel nail polish

Apply one thin layer of gel polish on your nails. Keeping this layer as thin as possible will help the polish dry quickly.

How to use gel polish with an LED light

4. Cure your gel nails with an LED light

Put your nails under an LED lamp for 60 seconds.

Applying a second coat of gel nail polish

5. Apply a second coat of gel nail polish

Apply a second thin coat of gel polish on top of the first coat.

How to cure gel polish with an LED light

6. Cure again under the LED light

Dry the gel nail polish under the LED light for 2 minutes this time.

Using cuticle oil on nails

7. Moisturize your cuticles

The light from an LED lamp can dry out your cuticles, so now apply some cuticle oil around the nail beds.

Perfect at-home gel manicure

How to cure gel nail polish with an LED light

Now that you’ve given yourself a gel manicure at home and mastered how to use gel nail polish with an LED light, you are ready to go back to your daily tasks without worry that your nail polish will get smeared or smudged.

Leave a comment to let me know how your gel nails turned out!

How to remove gel nails

If you want to learn how to remove gel nails at home, read my tutorial on The Best Way to Remove Gel Nail Polish Without Damaging Nails.

Suggested materials:
  • Gel nail polish
  • LED light
  • Water
See all materials

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