7 Best At-Home Gel Nail Kits of 2020 — DIY Gel Manicure Tips

With the state of the world being what it is, there’s never been a better time to invest in your own gel manicure tools — especially if you’re the type who likes to keep their nails perpetually polished. “Salons are opening and closing and opening and closing,” says nail artist Tom Bachik. “It can be a difficult time to go to the salon and have your nails done.” Buying a gel manicure set he says, is one of the best ways to get professional-level nails on your own time. Plus, as nail artist Gina Edwards points out, using one at home rather than traveling to a salon is far safer these days.

“An at-home gel manicure gives you the peace of mind you need so you can be comfortable in your own space without the fear of being too close to people in a salon,” she explains. Not to mention the fact that those salon appointments can rack up a hefty bill over time. “[Gel manicure kits] also allow you to manage your nails and keep personal expenses down.”

Whether you’re in a salon or doing it yourself at home, the standard gel manicure process is pretty simple: Prep the nails and cuticles, apply a base coat, two coats of polish, and a topcoat. The only difference is that you’ll need to “cure” each layer of polish under a UV lamp until it hardens (usually somewhere around 60 seconds). You’ll also need to swipe your freshly manicured nails with some alcohol to remove the sticky layer of moisture that rises to the top while during the curing process.

Despite how simple the manicure itself is, finding the right gel nail polishes and UV lamp for you might not be as easy as you’d expect. “Customers should keep in mind to look for kits that match their skill level,” explains Bachik. “Some gel kits are three-step including a base coat, color, and topcoat, while others are only two- or even one-step, meaning there is no base coat and the whole process is easier.”

To help you sort through the tons of kits online, we’ve found the seven best at-home gel nail kits, recommended by nail artists and beauty editors. Whether you’re a total gel manicure newbie or a veteran of the curing lamp, there’s a kit in here for you.

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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