How to prep nails for a manicure: the 5 most important steps

gel nail tips, nail prep -

How to prep nails for a manicure: the 5 most important steps

You may be lusting after a long-lasting gel manicure, but the only way you're going to get one is with time, care and proper preparation.

Prepping your nails before you apply gel polish can ensure your new set lasts longer and looks better – not to mention keeping your nails healthy throughout the process!

In this blog, we answer all your top questions on how to properly prep for the best at-home gel manicure.

What do I need to prep my nails?

When getting ready to apply gel polish, you’ll need to make sure you have all your prepping tools to get you started. You’ll need:

Before you get started, always make sure to wash or sanitise your hands. This will help remove any germs and bacteria, which could get trapped on the nail if still present and cause potential infection.

Should I trim my cuticles?

While we always recommend pushing your cuticles back before applying a new gel manicure, don’t be too harsh on them! Gently use a cuticle pusher to push your cuticles back and only ever trip away dead or loose skin. Don't pull at the cuticles just so you have something to trim away.

Healthy cuticles equal healthy nails – meaning you don’t want to get rid of too much!

Should I trim my cuticles?

How should I file my nails?

Choose your desired nail shape and carefully file in one direction on one side of the nail and repeat on the other side until you’re happy. Be gentle, slow and always be careful not to over-file the nail. This can lead to nail damage that will increase the chance of chipping, splitting and breaking.

You can then use your buffer to create a smooth surface for the gel polish to adhere to; again using gentle strokes.

Why is cleansing important?

Next, you’ll need to remove the debris from your nails. Take a cleanser wipe and go over all nails, removing any lingering dirt or dust. This step is important as the cleanser will also dehydrate the nail plate and remove excess oils, which helps the gel polish to adhere to the nail.

Once you’ve cleansed your nails you can then use a primer. Our acid-free primer is applied to the nails and then air-dried to help with further adhesion. If you’re someone who has issues with gel polish not lasting long enough or peeling away, this is a step you won’t want to miss out!

Bluesky Cleanser Wipes

How should I store gel polish?

It’s all too common to hear the sentence ‘my gel polish has gone lumpy’ or ‘the brush for my gel has gone hard.’ This is due to storing the gel polish in direct sunlight, heat or even too close to your nail lamp.

Any one of the above can be enough to begin to cure the gel polish in the bottle, meaning the consistency becomes thick and the gel sticks to the brush. Ensure all gel polish is stored in a cool place and out of direct sunlight. Keep the bottles away from your nail lamp as exposure to the LED/UV rays can also cause this issue.

Before you begin your manicure, you’ll want to gently roll each bottle between both your hands so that the gel is mixed evenly. No aggressive shakes here, as this can cause bubbles in the gel which will transfer to your nails when you apply – not a great look!

Now, you’re ready to go!

You’ve finished your prep so it’s time to begin. Remember to apply each coat using careful, even strokes – you can watch our video below if you need some extra tips:


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