Best At-Home Gel Nail Kits 2022

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In recent years, many have become improvised at-home nail technicians. Some experiment with presses, polishes, or designs, while others focus on improving overall nail health. One thing is certain: frequent manicure appointments can be time consuming and expensive. Luckily, there’s a budget-friendly alternative: the best at-home gel nail kits can be used regularly or between professional services, and are a great way to keep your nails looking fresh. Plus, they basically pay for themselves after a few uses. Unlike regular nail polish, which always manages to chip as soon as you step out of the salon, the gel version is virtually shatterproof thanks to the use of an LED or UV light between each coat to harden the polish and s to ensure that the color stays in place.

Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, or looking for something portable or affordable, there’s an option for you. Read on for our top gel nail kit picks, plus expert application tips.

Best gel nail kit overall

A professional quality set

Red Carpet Manicure’s 8-piece set has everything you need beyond the typical gel polish and LED light combo to create a salon-worthy manicure. It includes nail primer, pre and post cleanser, foil wraps for removal and nourishing cuticle oil. Fans of the kit stress the importance of following the included instructions, noting that the preparation step is as essential as applying the polish.

Nail artist Kesang Gurung adds that the cuticle oil provided in the kit can and should be applied within days and weeks of painting the nails to help them last longer. “It helps hydrate and strengthen your nails, keeping them looking fresh, but also preventing them from chipping and breaking,” she says.

What you will love:

  • Comes with prep and post tools
  • Long duration
  • Easy to apply

Keep in mind:

  • The LED light is on the small side

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Best gel nail kit for beginners

An easy-to-use gel manicure set for regulars and beginners

A mainstay in the nail space, it’s no surprise that Sally Hansen has a gel nail kit that is loved by many. It comes with the essentials: an LED lamp, a gel base and a topcoat as well as some basic tools. Although compact, users can get up to ten manicures from the set and the instructions are easy to follow for those trying home gel kits for the first time.

Speaking of beginners, Rachel James, nail artist and founder of Pear Nova, says nail health should always be a priority, and proper preparation can take that into account. Sally Hansen’s kit comes with several nail cleanser pads for this purpose. James says, “Gel manicures and pedicures will last longer with a strong base, and if applied correctly, the gel polish will help protect your natural nail.”

What you will love:

  • Easy to use
  • Dries quickly
  • Simple Instructions

Keep in mind:


Best Professional Recommended Gel Nail Kit

A salon quality set that’s easy on the nails

THE MOST POPULAR

Gurung has been researching CND’s shellac products for years because of their high quality and wide coverage. The removal process is also easy. She notes, “You don’t need to file off the top layer of the gel, all you have to do is wrap it in aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes and it falls off in one piece.” Because of this, she notes that it would be ideal for home use.

There’s a catch: Gurung says it doesn’t last as long as other gel brands but adds that “it doesn’t harm your nails and for me I would go for nail health over longevity. some nail polish”.

What you will love:

  • Checked by professionals
  • Easy to remove

Keep in mind:

  • Expensive
  • May not last as long

Best self-adhesive gel nail kit

An affordable choice with a host of fun color options

Not the best at applying nail polish, gel or something? Nail stickers and wraps are a great alternative. This brand asks very little of its customers: just select the best size (each pack contains 20 strips in 10 different sizes), stick them on each nail and cut them to fit correctly. Don’t skip the curing step which will hold the wraps in place and ensure they last up to two weeks. A topcoat also helps, according to some reviews. The nails are available in a variety of colors and patterns, from marble to terracotta.

What you will love:

  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to use
  • Fun lampshade and design options

Keep in mind:

  • LED/UV lamp not included
  • Added tools not included

Best portable gel nail kit

A travel-friendly manicure kit

We get it: life gets busy and sometimes you don’t have the luxury of using your kit at home, which is where Le Mini Macaron’s adorable one-step product comes in. The polish includes a base and a topcoat directly into the varnish. you don’t have to lug around a bunch of bottles, while the LED light can be easily charged with a USB cord that can plug into an outlet as easily as a laptop.

It only hardens one nail at a time, but it helps that it takes 30 seconds to do it. The key to a long-lasting look seems to be applying the polish in thin coats.

What you will love:

  • Compact and cute
  • Dries quickly

Keep in mind:

  • Only dries one nail at a time
  • Polish doesn’t smell good

Best Value Gel Nail Kit

An economical set that has everything you need

This kit comes with 19 different items, including a stamp, primer, and LED light, for less than $30. Just because the price is low doesn’t mean the product skimps on quality either. Users praise it for its easy application process (takes only three steps and nails harden in just 60 seconds) and note that the setup is great even for beginner DIYers. Remember that practice makes perfect.

What you will love:

  • Affordable
  • Includes helpful prep items

Keep in mind:

  • Limited color options
  • The varnish can have a thick consistency

Best Herbal Gel Nail Kit

A manicure without chips without chemical smell

Love the durability of gel polish but hate the smell and petrochemicals typically found in it? Try Lilaque. Its gel polish and top coat contain a soybean oil derivative as the main ingredient which is described as low odor. The brand’s home manicure system also includes a mini nail lamp, emery board, pad, and alcohol and acetone remover pads. Users can achieve an enviable manicure in 30 minutes or less, and it usually lasts seven to 14 days.

The name Lilaque is a reference to “lacquer” and “lilac”, a nod to the plant-based formula of the product. The nail lamp, although small compared to others, is also shaped like a lovely blooming flower.

What you will love:

  • Vegetable formula
  • No chemical smell
  • Ease of use

Keep in mind:

  • Nail lamp on the small side

How to choose an at-home gel nail kit

Choosing the best at-home gel nail kit depends on what you hope to achieve and how often you plan to use it. Are you just looking to treat yourself to a manicure or a touch-up between two appointments at the salon? Then you might just need the basics. Do you really plan to be a home technician? Then it helps to have a fully stocked kit. The main essentials, as recommended by Gurung and James, include a UV or LED lamp to cure the polish, a gel base and top coat, a nail tint you like, a nail file, a buffer , a cuticle pusher, rubbing alcohol and acetone.

How to use gel nail kit at home?

Start by filing and shaping the nails to the desired length and shape. From there, lightly buff the nails to smooth out the ridges and push back the cuticles. Then wipe with rubbing alcohol “for a clean, dry canvas,” says James. Then apply a thin layer of the base coat and cure under the lamp for 60-90 seconds. Follow this with two coats of your favorite nail shade, curing after each coat for the same amount of time. During this step, James says, “You can use a cleaning brush dipped in acetone while combing to remove any gel polish that’s on the skin or cuticles.” Finally, apply a no-wipe topcoat and cure.

Gurung adds that if you’re using a regular topcoat, it’s essential to wipe it off with alcohol after application “so it doesn’t get sticky.” She recommends topping it all off with cuticle oil on each nail for a little extra shine and moisture.


Is gel bad for your nails?

Gurung and James both agree that the gel polish itself is not bad for your nails, the problem usually lies in how users or professional manicurists prepare in advance and then remove the gel. Gurung says, “If you or a nail technician file a lot before application, it’s not good and it can thin the nails.” The same goes for the deletion process. “File the top layer of gel with an electric file — a regular file would be fine depending on the gel — forcefully scraping gels, or even picking or peeling them off is bad for your nails,” she says. Guring also recommends taking occasional breaks between gel manicures to give your nails a break.

How to remove a gel manicure?

Start by lightly filing the top layer of your gel polish. Next, dip a cotton ball in acetone, place it on the fingernails, and wrap the fingertip and the cotton ball with foil. Repeat this process for each nail and let them soak for 10-15 minutes. “Gel polish is ready to be completely removed when you are able to gently push the polish away from the nail with a pusher or cuticle stick,” James explains. “If not, add a little more acetone to the cotton and soak for a few more minutes.”

How long do gel nails last?

Most gel polishes last 2-3 weeks, depending on the person’s lifestyle. However, a shellac manicure may not last as long, closer to 1-2 weeks, but the upside is that it’s kinder to the nails.

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