By - Stormie McNeal
Do you need another creative outlet? Have you ever had your nails done professionally and thought you could do it yourself? Maybe an at-home manicure is just what you need.
The lockdown during the pandemic gave us the drive to do things ourselves, and nails are no exception. ‘Nailtubers,’ Instagram nail techs, and Facebook groups everywhere have exploded with people doing their own nails from the comfort of their couch.
But what about those of us who love long nails? We are fortunate because the ability to do nail extensions is more attainable now than ever before. Push back your cuticles and buff your nail plate because we are going to go over three different ways to achieve longer nails.
What Will I Need?
That depends on the method you choose. There are a few things that all of these extension methods need to keep them lasting long.
Onyx Professional 100% Pure Acetone removes oils from your nails and dries them so that your primer can adhere to the nail better. When it comes to the next step, buffing, Holo Taco’s Glass Nail Files last longer and buffs smoother than your typical nail file.
Modelones Nail Primer and Dehydrator Set is effective for two things; the dehydrator is perfect for making sure the nail is dry as possible, and the primer, when applied in a thin coat, fuses the base coat to your nail.
Two of the methods we talk about today need a base coat, and for that, we recommend the Madam Glam Gel Base Coat for a strong, durable bond. And to cure that base coat, we recommend the SunUV Nail Lamp.
Method #1: Acrylics
Acrylic nails are what nail extensions are usually done with at nail salons. Acrylic powders come in many colors and effects; chunky glitters in a clear base have been one of the biggest Instagram nail trends in the past year.
It is fairly simple to apply; glue nail tips to the end of your nail, dip an acrylic brush in monomer, tap excess monomer onto a paper towel, and then tap the brush in the acrylic powder until the amount of product you want is on the brush.
Now mold the product on your nail and nail tip quickly, and file as needed to smooth out any bumps. You need to work fast with acrylics, but it leaves you with a sturdy extension.
To start off our recommendations, LongHairPrettyNails has multiple brushes for you to choose from, and Kiara Sky’s monomer is cruelty-free.
For the acrylic powder as well as nail tips, we recommend Anacrylic. They blew up this year on Tiktok and Youtube and currently have 5.6 million followers on Tiktok alone. This brand is well-known for being the best for beginners, as it is smooth to work with and takes a little longer to set, so you have more time to work with it.
Method #2: Hybrid/Polygel
Hybrid gel, commonly known as polygel, is a thick gel cured under UV light. Like acrylics, it comes in many colors and finishes. It has become increasingly popular, as it doesn’t cure until, under a light, you have as much time as you need to work with it.
Hybrid gel is applied similarly to acrylics; glue a nail tip to your prepped nail, squeeze hybrid gel onto the nail, and dip your brush into isopropyl alcohol instead of monomer. Then use the brush to mold the nails, and cure them under a UV light.
Makartt is a giant in the nail world. Their hybrid gels are the most common poly gel used by nail influencers, including Vicsnails and LongHairPrettyNails. They both do tutorials and reviews of nail products regularly.
Makartt has complete beginner’s kits with everything you need to get started, so you can spend less time shopping and more time planning your first set.
Method #3: GEL-X™
Gel-X Nail Extensions are a new method introduced by Apres that has blown up in popularity in 2022. The application is a little different and is unique to the Gel-X line; it comes with its own bonder, primer, and builder gel but is still simple to apply.
Buff your nails, as usual, apply the nail bonder, and then primer in a thin coat. Apply a thin layer of their builder gel. Then comes the full-cover nail; slowly lower the false nail cuticle first until the builder gel has been spread over the entire nail, and then hold the nail in place while curing.
One benefit of Gel-X nails is that as the nail extensions are clear and thin, you can apply your favorite polishes over them without the nails becoming too thick or bulky.
What Method Is Best For Me?
Overall, that depends on your lifestyle. Do you need extra sturdy nails? Then acrylics would be best. What about if you have shaky hands or are nervous about the time crunch with the acrylics setting? Then hybrid gel would work better for you. If you have a lot of polishes to go through you don’t want to leave on the shelf, then Gel-X is perfect for you to whip through that stash with!
There are so many nail methods and possibilities in each nail set you create. Nails done at home are an extension (no pun intended) of ourselves and our creativity, so we encourage you to give one a try and express yourself through the medium of manicures.