Hi lovelies. In today’s blog post I would like to share a few tips and tricks on how to apply gel polish perfectly on natural nails. I use gel polish quite often in my videos, as well as on my Cinderella hand. By experimenting and trying what works, I’ve learned a few things on gel application. In this post I will share my secrets on gel application, but please keep in mind that I am not a professional. This is simply my way of doing things, so if you have any comments on suggestions on the areas to improve, please let me know.



The first step to a successful gel manicure is a proper preparation. You want to make sure you start with a clean nail. The first step is to take away the shine off your nails. I like using 100/180 Buffer, which is quite gentle on the nails. Make sure you don’t apply any pressure when buffing your nails and only do it slightly. Buff the nails until they become matte. This will make your gel polish adhere better and last longer. When you are done with this step clean your nail with a little bit of Cleaner and some lint-free swabs. I don’t recommend using cotton balls, as they tend to leave tiny pieces, which may disrupt gel application.


This step is often overlooked when applying gel polish, but in my opinion it’s very important. I like using Acid Free Primer, as it’s gentle for the nails and it doesn’t cause irritation. Applying a thin layer of primer will make your base coat stick to the nail better. Make sure you let it dry before applying your base coat. Avoid getting the primer onto your skin!

How to Apply Gel Polish on Natural Nails VIDEO | Indigo Nails


After the prep, having a good base is crucial for your gel manicure. I like applying two layers of base coat. There are different kind of base coats out there, but I like using the ones that will make my nails feel hard and protect them. Protein Base Coat from Indigo is my absolute favorite. You can even fix a broken nail with it – it’s that hard!

The first layer of base coat should be very thin. Apply it evenly on your nail getting as close to the cuticles as possible. The second layer should be a little bit thicker. Apply more product in the middle of your nail to build a natural C-curve. Then quickly turn your finger upside down – this will make the gel go down the middle of your nail and make a beautiful and even C-curve (watch the video where I am showing this step). You can then cure the base in LED lamp.

LED Lamp

Having a good, reliable lamp is very important! I do recommend investing in a proper lamp with high power (48W). I love my LED lamp from Indigo Nails. It’s a very popular product, which is currently sold out, but you can sign up with your email on their website to get a notification when it’s back in stock.

I do not recommend using small bridge lamps or these tiny ones where you can only put one finger into. They tend to be very weak and won’t cure your gel properly (especially when it comes to darker colors or colors with lots of pigment). I also don’t recommend the old fashioned UV lamps with light bulbs, as curing times are much longer comparing to LED. Having uncured gel on your nails is not safe, so really make sure to have a good equipment.

Curing times depend on the brand of your gel polish, as well as on the powder of the LED lamp. Always check the instructions on the curing times.

How to Apply Gel Polish on Natural Nails VIDEO | Indigo Nails


The color I am wearing here is Matrioshka and it’s a stunning deep pink.

Gel polish application it’s not really the same as with regular nail polish. Gel polish is much thicker, so it can be tricky at the beginning. The main tip is to work slow. You have the time to play around with the gel, as it doesn’t air dry and you can take your time. I like to start in the middle of my nail and then slowly push the color up towards my cuticles. This will help you avoid flooding your cuticles. If you flood your cuticles, you may want to start over! Take a lint-free swab and swipe off the gel color with some cleaner.

Make sure you apply the color evenly or else you will end up with ugly bumps and uneven surface. I like to apply 2-3 coats of gel color (depending on the pigmentation) quite thinly. Don’t forget to cap the free edge of your nail (meaning close the end of your nail with some gel).

Again, watch the video in which I am showing slowly how I like to apply my gel color.

TIP! A great tip of having a perfectly clean line around your cuticles is applying your gel color with a tiny nail art brush. Just dip the brush in the gel polish and slowly apply it as close to your cuticles as possible. You can achieve amazing results by doing this!

How to Apply Gel Polish on Natural Nails VIDEO | Indigo Nails


As with base coats, there are many top coat out there. The top coat that I am using the most is Dry Top Super Shine. This top coat doesn’t leave the sticky dispersion layer after curing, so when you take your hand out of the lamp you are ready to go. It’s also amazing for applying fine nail art powder.

If you have a top coat with a dispersion layer, make sure to swipe your nails with some cleaner after curing (TIP: let your nails rest and cool for 30 seconds after curing before cleaning the dispersion layer. They will cool down and harden properly).

When you are done, apply some cuticle oil. Lately I am obsessed with Seventh Heaven cuticle oil from Indigo. It smells absolutely heavenly.

This was a long post, so congratulation if you made it all the way here! Please let me know if you have any questions or if something was unclear.

If you are interested in any of the products from Indigo Nails mentioned in this post please visit their website.

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This post came into life with collaboration and sponsorship with Indigo Nails. This does not affect my opinions on the products shown. All opinions are my own.

  • Lothwen Akira

    Thank you for this! I just started using gel polishes and this sure comes in handy!

  • Really helpful to see this. Thanks!

  • Charity

    Thanks for the tutorial! Do you have one for how to remove gel polish?