E-comm: Your Nail Problems Solved: Removing Gel Polish, At-Home Mani Kits & More

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So you can't make it to your usual mani appointment, and your nails are looking ragged. What do you do? Take care of them at home!

Whether you have gel nails and need all the bells and whistles, or you don't have anything to do a regular at-home treatment and need to start from scratch, we've got the basics to help get you started. And if you have a gel manicure but feel like it's time to be more au naturale,L.A.-based celebrity nail artist Brittney Boyce can walk you through how to transition from gel to a breathable manicure with help from Orly.

Shop our picks below, and get your digits looking pretty!

Gel UV Nail Lamp

If you're doing gel nails at home, you'll definitely need a UV lamp. This one has flexible drying options, smart auto sensing, and a patented UV/LED set-up.

Gelish Soak-Off Foundation Gel

Before you do any polishing, you'll need your base coat. Set up the foundation for your gel mani with this soak-off formula.

OneDor One Step No Wipe Top Coat

Make sure your gel mani lasts a lifetime (or at least, through the next week), with this no-wipe top coat. Cure it for two minutes under your lamp, and voila! Long-lasting color, and well-protected nails.

OPI GelColor

But your gel manicure will be nothing without color. Grab OPI's iconic nail polish in 140 shades in this gel formulation, and it'll give you up to three weeks of wear with amazing shine.

Cuticle Pusher and Cutter

You'll also need a tool to scrap off last week's gel manicure, and this one is up to the task. It's made of 100% stainless steel and also maintains your cuticles with ease.

The Everything Box

But if gel manicures aren't your thing, consider this mani kit for your at-home nail care. You can pick six polish colors of your choosing, and then get all the tools you need from files to buffers to everything in between to keep your digits pretty.

Orly Cutique Cuticle and Stain Remover

But what if you have a gel mani and you want to remove it to make life easier? Fret not, L.A.-based celebrity nail artist Brittney Boyce can walk you through it. First, wash your hands, then soak off your old gel mani with 100% acetone... then, get ready for cuticle care. "I wouldn't recommend anyone to try to cut their own cuticles at home as you may accidentally cut too much or nick yourself," Boyce says. "If you have excess cuticles that are bothering you even after pushing them back, use a cuticle remover like Orly's Cutique Cuticle and Stain Remover. Apply it to your finger and cuticle with the brush."

Gelfx Cuticle Pusher

Next up? "Use a Gelfx Cuticle Pusher or an orange stick to push the cuticles back to gently remove it," Boyce instructs. "You'll see the excess cuticles gently lift up quite easily."

Argan Cuticle Oil Drops

Then, it's time to moisturize your cuticles. Says Boyce, "Wipe off the remover with a water-soaked cotton pad, then use your favorite cuticle oil, serum, or cream to hydrate it. Try Orly's Argan Cuticle Oil Drops, which has argan oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E."

Bonder Base Coat

Next, it's time to file your nails, going little by little to make sure they're even, then cleanse them with alcohol to get them ready for polish. "For nail lacquers, use a basecoat like the Orly Bonder Base Coat, which is a rubberized base coat that grips onto nail lacquer, making it easier to apply," Boyce shares.

Breathable Treatment + Color

But you can skip that step if you use Orly's Breathable Color. Adds Boyce, "If you're using a Breathable Color + Treatment shade, base coats are not necessary as it's a one-step formula." We love this deep purple color, but the formula comes in countless shades.

Gelfx Dry Brush

Make sure you apply even layers of your polish, and don't worry if you're not as good at painting with your non-dominant hand. "Stabilize that hand by putting your elbow and forearm on the table. That helps keep your hand a little bit steadier," Boyce instructs. "It's okay if you paint outside your nails and get it on your fingertips. Just use a nail brush dipped in nail polish remover to erase it."

1/2 Moon Guides

And if you've got the time, why not get a little fancy? "When the second layer is a bit dry, you can try some simple nail art if you'd like," Boyce says. "Orly makes 1/2 Moon Guides that could be repurposed for different purposes, like an angled tip. You can top with glitter for a really quick and easy look."

Won't Chip Top Coat

Then, it's time to finish everything off with a layer of top coat. "The Orly Won't Chip Top Coat is fantastic and can help extend wear and add shine," Boyce shares.

Treatment + Shine

Want an insider trick on how to make your mani last? "For Breathable manicures, even though you don't need a top-coat, you can extend the wear even more by topping it with the clear Breathable Treatment+Shine every two to three days," says Boyce.

While you're on a self-care kick, try one of these 23 clean, eco-friendly face and skincare masks.

—Originally published April 2, 2020, at 2:24 p.m. PT

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