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The Ultimate Guide To Buying Nail Supplies

Shopping for nail supplies

More and more people are doing their own nails now, rather than going to the salon.  Some people even want to start doing other people's nails.  One question I see get asked a lot is "I want to start doing nails but what do I need to buy?"

So where do you start? What do you need? Where do you get it? 

What you need to buy depends on what you want to achieve. In this article, I'll tell you everything you need to do a gel polish manicure as well as extensions with builder gel/gum gel/hard gel. Of course, you can add glitter and foils and rhinestones if you like but for now, let's just focus on the basics. All of the items will be linked so you don't even have to shop around.

If you are going to be doing other peoples nails, you will need to buy appropriate disinfecting solutions and learn how to use them safely and effectively.  This guide is aimed at those who want to do their own nails at home. 

 The Complete List

Cuticle Pusher 

If you want your manicure to last, you will need to get rid of your cuticles. Metal cuticle pushers are best because they scrape the thin layer of cuticle off your nail, and a lot of times they have a knife on the opposite end to clean underneath the nail or get tricky cuticle away from the nail plate. 

Nail Files

A good all-round file is a 180 grit. These are strong enough to use on extensions but gentle enough to use on a natural nail. 

Nail Buffers

To get a smooth finish and long-lasting results, use a buffing block on the nail. There is a fine line between "buffed" and "too smooth" though. So always use a fresh block and don't buy the cheap ones! 

Cuticle Softener 

Some cuticles just don't want to come away from the nail. Especially if you haven't had a manicure for a few months. Using a cuticle softener really helps to get them away, but be sure to remove this from the nail completely and dehydrate with prep solution or acetone to get any residue off. If you leave any cuticle softener or remover on the nail, it will ruin your gel polish.

Cuticle Oil

Every fresh set of nails should be finished off with cuticle oil. There's no point in having beautiful nails if your cuticles are as dry as the Sahara. You should be oiling every day at least once. But you can't overdose on it so go to town and oil up as often as you want!

Prep Wipes

You can purchase isopropyl alcohol or acetone and some lint-free wipes, but it's much easier to just get the pre-made ones. These are used to wipe off the nails just before adding a base coat. You can use either acetone wipes or alcohol. I like acetone personally.

UV/led Lamp

There is a lot of misinformation about what kind of lamp to use for your gel polish. You should always use the lamp recommended by the brand you're using but if they don't have one, choose one with good reviews within your price range. Keep in mind that the wattage of the lamp is irrelevant. That only signifies the amount of power it uses. A 9-watt lamp will cure in the same amount of time as a 48-watt lamp. The difference is that the 48 watt has more individual bulbs and so will cover a larger area. This is helpful for curing all 5 fingers at once or curing long nails. 

Base Coat 

You can skip the base coat with regular nail varnish but with gel polish, you HAVE to use a base.  It is the stickiest of all layers and is the foundation of your manicure. Don't forget to cap all of your edges for a long-lasting manicure! 

Top Coat 

Topcoat is also something that you just can't be without. Some Topcoats have a tacky layer even after curing, and they need to be wiped off with isopropyl alcohol. To be honest, I'm not sure why anyone still buys this option since the tack-free /no wipe topcoat was released. With the latter, you just cure if and walk away. I also find the no wipe topcoat to be much shinier, so just get that. 

Gel Polish Colours

Bluesky has thousands of different colours in dozens of ranges so just pick your favourite and away you go! I recommend taking advantage of the buy 5 get 1 free deal because you can never have too many colours. You will end up buying several over time anyway so you might as well spend a little more now and get 1 for free. 

Gel polish colors


Adding Extensions

If you are wanting to add some length to your nails, there are a few options for you to try out. The easiest way is to stick on a plastic tip with some nail glue, and then apply a product like a builder gel/gum gel or even hard gel over the whole thing.  If you are unsure which product to use, or want links to any of these items check out this article Choosing The Right Nail Product.

You can also extend the nail by using a paper sculpting form or if you decide on gum gel, you can use dual forms. If you are extending your nails, you may also want to use a primer though it isn't always necessary.

Once you have your nails extended and smoothed out with a file you can apply gel polish to them just as you would a natural nail. If you are new to painting your nails and would like a little bit of advice, check out this article "How To Apply Gel Polish"

That is it boys and girls! There is a lot of nail stuff you "can" buy, but truth be told, you don't need a lot to get the job done.  If you'd like any further advice on what to buy, leave a comment below.  I have literally purchased almost everything possible and so I've got a pretty good idea of what is out there depending on what you would like to achieve! 

Please Tag us when you paint your nails.  We love to see what you have created! @gelnailsuk

Gel polish shopping list





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