How to Use Gel Nail Polish

Want a fresh coat of gel nail polish but don't have time or money for a salon appointment? Well, look no further. Because in our guide on how to use gel nail polish, we'll save you both that time and that money.

With our help and some practice, you’ll soon be a pro at applying gel nail polish at home, saving more time and more money in the long term.   

Unlike acrylic nails, you can have beautiful long-lasting nail polish applied to your own natural nails and learn how to blend nail polish for an Ombre manicure. We have the knowledge and you can start having more fun with your nails at home. 

So grab some of our most popular nail polish colors and get ready to enjoy learning how to do gel nail polish in our easy-to-follow step-by-step guide. 

What This Article Covers

How To Apply Gel Nail Polish

There are a couple of extra things you need to know before learning how to apply gel nail polish step by step in the comfort of your home. 

For example, learning how to remove gel nail polish is also part of the journey. If you’re a glitter fan, it's also easy to get glitter nail polish off at home in the same way.

So before you make your foray into gel manicures at home, make sure you have everything you need on hand to complete the journey. 

How To Apply Gel Nail Polish At Home

how to apply gel nail polish

Having the right tools with quality products available will make the journey seem even more effortless after some practice. 

You will need the usual items for a manicure, such as a nail clipper, file, buffer, and cuticle tools. But for gel nails you will need some additional items:

Find the right gel curing lamp as this is an essential part of applying gel nail polish. Once you have all the products you will need to complete the gel nail polish application, grab a towel and place it on a flat surface.

how to apply gel nail polish step by step

Now get ready to apply gel nail polish. If you’re an Ombre nails fan then you should know that you can do Ombre nails with gel polish.

If you follow our easy step-by-step guide below, you will have exquisite gel nail nails to enjoy for a few weeks.

Application of the base and top coat to seal and bond the gel nail polish to the nails using the Led or UV light is a significant part of the application process. Make sure that you attend to each phase with care and patience. And before each phase ensure that your nails are completely dry from curing under the lamp. 

Phase One

In this phase, you will be cleaning your nails. Make sure that you wipe all ten nails down with alcohol. What you don’t want is to have dust, debris, or oil left on your nails before starting the application of gel nail polish.

Gel nail polish won’t properly adhere if there is any oil on the nail bed.

  • Clean your nails by using an alcohol rub or nail wipes.
  • Once your nails are clean, begin by filing your nails into your preferred shape. 
  • Remember that you can’t do this after applying gel, so ensure you do this beforehand.
  • Use a 180/240 grit file to shape your nails properly.
  • Use the metal cuticle pusher or an orangewood stick to gently push back your cuticles from the skin. 

how to do gel nail polish at home

  • At the same time, use the cuticle pusher to scrape away any cuticle on the nail.
  • Buff your nails using a buffing block. Buffing your nails are important to remove the shine and get rid of ridges on the nails. It also creates a smooth flat surface for the application of the base coat.
    Remember to regularly replace your buffing block. Your buffer should ideally remove the shine from your nails for gel nail polish applications.
  • Once again wipe your nails or use an alcohol rub to clean them and get rid of the cuticle dust.  When wiping and cleaning make sure to get into all the corners and crevices. 
  • Double-check that each nail is thoroughly clean and looks matte from the buffing.

Once you have completed this phase you are ready to begin the application process to apply gel nail polish to your nails.

Phase Two

Base Coat Application
  • Apply a thin base coat to each nail carefully. 
  • Ensure an even coverage of the base coat.
  • Swipe the nail brush along the free edge of the nail. This is known as capping the free edge. When you do this, you also prevent chipping from occurring. 
  • After application of the base coat, you can place your hand inside the UV lamp for 2 minutes or a LED lamp for 60 seconds.
  • Make sure the base is dry and avoid any dust or fluff from sticking to the base coat. 
 Gel Nail Polish Application

how to do gel nail polish

  • Paint on your first layer of Orly’s Gel Nail Polish. Ensure that you paint a thin layer of the gel. Avoid globing on the gel nail polish and don’t flood the cuticle with paint.
  • Apply with a steady hand and take your time with each nail application. Do not rush the nail painting application.
  • Swipe the nail brush across the free edge, capping it with the polish.
  • Cure in the lamp for 60 seconds with a LED lamp or 2 minutes using a UV lamp. 
  • Repeat the gel nail polish application twice, depending on your preference.
  • Nail technicians usually recommend two coats of gel nail polish. 
  • Always aim to apply a second layer of gel nail polish and cure as above. 

If you’re wondering, if you can put regular nail polish over gel nail polish, the answer is yes. The gel base coat prevents the nails from getting stained by a gel polish.

Top Coat Application
  • Apply a layer of top coat carefully over the entire nail, capping the free edge.
  • Now cure by placing your hand under a LED lamp for 60 minutes or a UV lamp for 60 seconds. 
  • Wipe your nails with Isopropyl alcohol once cured depending on what top coat you have purchased.

The top coat application is an essential layer to add. Do not skip this. This layer will protect your nails and seal the gel nail polish. It also adds a long-lasting shine. 

Maybe you’re wondering, can you do Ombre nails with gel polish? 

Well, if you’re aiming to achieve an Ombre French manicure with gel nail polish, then once your nails have been dried you can add glitter polish over your nail tips. 

Finally, rehydrate your cuticles with cuticle oil, and slather on some hand lotion. Now all that’s left for you to do is to sit back and admire those chic new nails from Orly. 

how to gel nail polish

Throw in some best nail polish colors for toes from Orly and voila, your new look is complete.


There are many little things you must remember to do when first learning how to use gel nail polish. But if you follow our guide above, you will win every time when using gel nail polish at home. 

You can also add some nail art to your gel nails as long as you know how to put-on glitter nail polish, you can have some real fun. This is also a chic way to hide any re-growth of your nails. 

Just remember when the time comes to remove your gels, make sure you’re following the best practices to safely remove them at home.

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