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Which gel nail kits are best?

Going to the nail salon is not always as relaxing as you might think. It can be expensive, time-consuming and even occasionally boring. Still, many people want salon-quality nails that are flawless and chip-proof. Luckily, you can get salon-quality nails right from the comfort of your own home. All it takes is finding the right gel nail kit and a little bit of practice. This Sally Hansen Gel Nail Kit has everything you need to achieve a long-lasting manicure at home for a fraction of salon pricing.

What to know before you buy a gel nail kit

Gel nail kit must haves

Some nail kits include everything you need to create a flawless manicure, but others may require you to buy a few things separately. This may be a good option if you already have some supplies like nail files or nail clippers. Whether you buy everything in a kit or separately, here is what you need to do a gel manicure at home.

  • UV or LED lamp
  • Nail file and clippers
  • Cuticle oil
  • Nail buff
  • Top coat
  • Base coat
  • Gel nail polish

How to do a gel manicure at home

The most challenging part of doing your nails at home is that you have to do them yourself. But you don’t have to be an artist to get flawless nails; all it takes is a little practice and the right set of tools. Here are the basic steps for doing an at-home gel manicure with a gel nail kit.

First, prep your nails by cleaning off any old polish or dirt. Once they are clean, file your nails to the desired shape and length. Next, apply cuticle oil and gently push back your cuticles. This will give you more room for polish. Then, wash and dry your hands and buff your nails until the nails have a smooth, even surface. Make sure to wipe your nails with rubbing alcohol to remove any dust.

Now it’s time to apply a thin layer of your base coat. Set your nails under an LED lamp or UV light for 30-45 seconds. Next, carefully apply a thin layer of color gel polish and cure your nails under the light again for another 30-45 seconds. Apply a second layer if you want to ensure full coverage. Finally, apply a light layer of the topcoat to seal in your gel polish and let it cure under the light for 30-45 seconds. Once your nails are completely dry, message a little cuticle oil around your nails to prevent the skin from drying out.

How to remove your gel manicure at home


It’s important to remove old gel nail polish carefully. The most effective way is to wrap your nails in tin foil and soak them in acetone. Before wrapping them in foil, use a coarse nail file to sand off the top layer of gel and apply some cuticle oil on the skin around your nails.

Gel nail polish kit features

UV vs. LED nail lamp

Both UV and LED bulbs will harden gel nail polish, but UV tends to take longer than LED lights. LED lights are the more expensive option, but in the long run, they are the safer, more economical option.

Cuticle oil

Cuticle oil is a vital part of a gel manicure. It protects your nails and can stimulate growth, which will improve the appearance of your nails. 

Acetone vs. nail polish remover

While nail polish remover will take off polish, it is not an effective way to remove gel nail polish. Acetone is a harsher chemical that can remove the gel from your nails. However, it’s very flammable, so it’s important to handle it with care.

How much can I expect to spend on a gel nail kit?

Depending on the brand and accessories, you can expect to spend $30-$100 on a gel nail kit.

Gel nail kit FAQ

Are gel nail kits worth the investment?

A. Gel nails dry quickly and last twice as long as regular nail polish. They allow you to do your nails at home, saving you time and money. Gel nail kits make it easy to achieve salon-quality nails without the big price tag.

Do you need a UV or LED lamp to do a gel manicure at home?

A. While UV and LED lights harden gel nail polish quickly, you don’t have to use them to get a great gel manicure. If you prefer not to use a lamp, you can purchase a no-light gel polish kit.

What’s the best gel nail kit to buy?

Top gel nail kit

Sally Hansen Salon Pro Gel Starter Kit

Sally Hansen Salon Pro Gel Starter Kit

What you need to know: This gel kit is great for beginners and DIY manicurists. It includes everything you need to create gorgeous nails at home.

What you’ll love: This Sally Hansen gel nail kit comes with an LED light that will cure your nails quickly for a long-lasting manicure. The company claims manicures last up to 14 days of wear, helping you get a salon-quality manicure at a fraction of the price.

What you should consider: The set has everything you need, but it only comes with one nail color option.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top gel nail kit for the money

Gel Nail Polish Kit With 48W U V Light

Gel Nail Polish Kit With 48W UV Light

What you need to know: This set will get you the most bang for your buck. It includes all the necessary items, including a nail lamp, cuticle oil and several different polish options.

What you’ll love: There are six different colors in this set and five different color themes to choose from. The two topcoat polishes allow you to choose between a matte or gloss finish. If you are not satisfied with the results, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

What you should consider: It has a UV nail lamp, so drying time will be slower than with a LED nail lamp.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Beetles Gel Nail Polish Kit

Beetles Gel Nail Polish Kit

What you need to know: If you want to start a collection of gel polish colors, this set is for you. It comes with 12 different color gel polishes, some of which have a glitter texture.

What you’ll love: There are endless ways to get creative with this set and countless chances to test your nail art skills.

What you should consider: This set does not come with a base coat, a top coat or a lamp.  

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Bailey Gates writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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