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    This $40 UV Lamp Helped Me Do My Own Gel Manicures At Home

    Saving you time and money. ๐Ÿ’…

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    I don't know about you, but I love a good manicure. I used to get my nails done all the time (I'm talking like every other week). But with nail salons closed, I decided to start doing my own manicures at home with the help of this UV nail lamp.

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    I'm not a fan of regular polish (mainly because I'm just too impatient to let it dry), and I definitely don't have the skills to even attempt acrylic nails. So I thought gel polish would be a happy medium.

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    Gel polish is thicker than regular polish, so it'll help keep your nails from breaking!

    First, I bought some gel polishes. I got a base and top coat and a set of six colours.

    bottles of nail polish on a table
    May Ning/BuzzFeed

    I chose the classic series (red, white, black, grey, pink, and purple) because those are the colours I get done the most at the salon, but you can also get a set with bright colours, pink and purple hues, or one that has glittery colours.

    But THEN. I bought this magical UV nail lamp to cure the polish. I chose this one because it doesn't have a base, meaning I can just pop it over my feet when I'm painting my toenails. Best of all, it's only $40.99!!!

    the uv nail lamp turned on
    May Ning/BuzzFeed

    It even comes with a little manicure set.

    I file my nails before painting to get the shape that I want (I like round!) using these files. Then I buffer the surface of my nails a little bit, so that the base coat grips on better.

    May Ning/Buzzfeed

    The coarser side for shaping and the other side is less gritty for refining.

    Or you can use these glass files, if that's more your thing!

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    Then I put a base coat, two layers of colour, and the top coat, and I cure my hand after every coat under the UV lamp for 60 seconds each time (paint one hand at a time โ€” trust me, it's way easier).

    May Ning/BuzzFeed

    Make sure your layers aren't too thick, or else they won't cure evenly.

    This UV lamp has 30 and 60 second settings, and it turns on as soon as you slide your hand in. I put them in for an extra 30 seconds after my topcoat (just to be safe).

    May Ning/BuzzFeed

    If I don't specify the time I want, the timer defaults to 99 seconds.

    Then I follow up with oil (because my cuticles are looking rough these days). I actually used this Clarins face oil because I love the way it smells, but this CND cuticle oil is great, too.

    May Ning/BuzzFeed

    And voilร ! Here's how my gel manicure looks! My nails are so shiny, and because they've been cured under the UV lamp, they're completely set โ€” I can go about my day without worrying that I'm going to smudge the polish.

    May Ning/BuzzFeed

    They last 2-3 weeks and won't chip like regular polish.

    You can even try different designs once you're more comfortable, making sure to cure them between each layer. Here's a set I did in the summer:

    BuzzFeed employee's hand showing nails
    May Ning/BuzzFeed

    I used regular tape to create this version of a french tip.

    When it comes time to remove my gel polish, I need to use some 100% acetone, because regular nail polish remover won't work.

    BuzzFeed employee holding bottle of nail polish remover
    May Ning/BuzzFeed

    You can pick up a bottle at your local dollar store.

    I use these nail clips with a little bit of cotton to help soak them off.

    person with nail clips on
    May Ning/BuzzFeed

    Get a pack of ten from Amazon Canada for $7.93.

    Overall, I spent less than $100 for everything โ€” that's, like, four trips to the nail salon. Except I got an entire lamp for just $40.99, and eight bottles of polish that have lasted me months (so they've basically paid for themselves).

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    Happy painting! ๐Ÿ’…

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