How to Apply Gel Nail Polish on Natural Nails


Applying gel nail polish on natural nails can provide a glossy and long-lasting finish, but the process requires precision and care. This article will guide you through the application of gel nail polish on natural nails, broken down into 8 main headings with four subheadings each.

Preparing Your Natural Nails to Apply Gel Nail Polish

Before embarking on the journey of applying gel nail polish, it’s pivotal to ensure your natural nails are primed and ready. Start by cleaning your nails thoroughly, ensuring any remnants of old polish are entirely removed using a gentle nail polish remover. Once cleaned, the next step is to file and shape them.

  1. Clean Nails: Begin by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water to remove any dirt or oils from your nails.
  2. Remove Old Polish: If you have any existing nail polish, remove it completely using an acetone-based nail polish remover.
  3. Shape Your Nails: Trim your nails to your desired length and shape them using a nail file. Always file in one direction to avoid causing splits or breaks.
  4. Buff the Surface: Gently buff the surface of your nails to remove any ridges and create a smooth surface. This will help the gel polish adhere better.
  5. Push Back Cuticles: Use a cuticle pusher or an orange stick to gently push back your cuticles. This ensures that the gel polish can be applied right to the edge of your nail for a professional finish.
  6. Remove Excess Oil: Wipe your nails with a nail cleanser or an alcohol wipe to remove any excess oil or moisture. This is crucial as any residue can prevent the gel polish from adhering properly.

Choosing a shape that complements your fingers, always file in a singular direction to prevent weakening or splitting the nail. After shaping, it’s essential to address the cuticles, which can be gently pushed back to reveal more of the nail plate, creating a neater, more professional appearance. This also ensures that the gel polish has a smooth surface to adhere to. Lastly, a crucial step is applying a base coat.

Preparing Your Natural Nails to Apply Gel Nail Polish

This not only aids in the adherence of the gel polish but also provides a protective layer, preventing potential staining or damage to the natural nail. With these steps meticulously executed, your nails are now in the best possible condition for a flawless gel polish application.

Filing and Shaping

Choose a nail shape that suits you and file your nails accordingly. Always file in one direction to prevent splitting.

Pushing Back Cuticles

Gently push back the cuticles using a cuticle pusher or orange stick. This will create a neat canvas for your gel polish.

Applying a Base Coat

Apply a thin layer of gel base coat. It will help the gel polish adhere to the nail properly.

Choosing the Right Gel Polish

Choosing the right gel polish is pivotal for achieving a stunning and long-lasting manicure. The market is flooded with numerous brands, shades, and finishes, making the selection process somewhat overwhelming. Begin with color selection: opt for shades that resonate with your personality, match your skin tone, and suit the occasion.

If you’re seeking versatility, consider neutrals or classics like reds and pinks which can be appropriate for various events. Quality should never be compromised. It’s wise to invest in reputable brands known for their durability, shine, and ease of application. Moreover, ascertain the type of gel polish you’re purchasing—UV or LED—as it needs to be compatible with your curing lamp.

Lastly, always inspect expiry dates. Using outdated products can compromise the finish and the health of your nails. A well-chosen gel polish not only enhances the beauty of your hands but also ensures that your manicure remains chip-free for weeks.

Choosing the Right Gel Polish

Color Selection

Select a color that complements your skin tone and occasion. Gel polish comes in various shades, so take your time choosing.

Quality Matters

Invest in a high-quality gel polish to ensure longevity and a beautiful finish.


Understand the difference between UV and LED polishes and choose the one that suits your lamp.

Checking Expiry Dates

Old or expired gel polish can lead to uneven application. Always check the expiry date before use.

Application Process

Selecting and applying the right gel nail polish on natural nails is an art in itself. Firstly, you need to identify a quality gel polish that suits both your aesthetic preferences and nail health. Quality is paramount; the better the quality of the gel polish, the more beautiful and long-lasting the results. When you’ve chosen a shade that complements your skin tone and occasion, you can start the application.

Begin with a thin, even layer, starting from the nail base and sweeping towards the tip. Ensure that the brush doesn’t carry too much product to avoid pooling. Once applied, it’s essential to cure the polish under a UV or LED lamp as per the polish instructions; this solidifies the gel and gives it its long-wearing characteristic. For a flawless finish, apply 2-3 thin coats, curing after each layer, ensuring that the polish is opaque and even. The right gel polish, when applied correctly, not only enhances the beauty of natural nails but also provides a protective, glossy layer that can last for weeks.

Applying the Gel Polish

Applying the Gel Polish

Apply the gel polish in thin layers, starting from the base and moving to the tip.

Curing Under the Lamp

After each coat, cure the polish under a UV or LED lamp according to the instructions.

Building Layers

Repeat the process, building up to 2-3 layers until you reach the desired opacity.

Avoiding Bubbles

Apply carefully to avoid bubbles and ridges, which can ruin the appearance of the polish.

Tips and Tricks

Caring for natural nails requires a combination of regular maintenance and attention to detail. First and foremost, it’s essential to keep nails clean and dry to prevent bacterial and fungal infections. When you file your nails, always file in one direction to minimize splitting or peeling. Remember, short, well-maintained nails can look as classy as longer ones. Incorporate a weekly routine of soaking your nails in warm olive or coconut oil, which helps to moisturize both the nails and cuticles.

Push back cuticles rather than cutting them, as they act as a protective barrier against infections. When using nail polish, invest in a high-quality base coat, which not only aids in making the polish last longer but also prevents staining. Additionally, give your nails a break from polish occasionally to let them breathe and recover.

Using the Right Tools

Invest in good-quality brushes and tools to get a professional finish.

Dealing with Mistakes

Use a corrector pen or a small brush dipped in remover to fix mistakes immediately.

Practice Makes Perfect

Don’t get discouraged if the first application isn’t perfect; practice will make it easier.

Following Tutorials

Watch online tutorials from professionals to learn different techniques and styles.

Safety Considerations

When it comes to applying gel polish on natural nails, safety should be paramount. The use of UV or LED lamps to cure the gel polish has raised concerns about potential skin damage, so it’s crucial to protect the skin around your nails, possibly by using sunblock or protective gloves with fingertips removed. The chemicals in gel polish and removers can also be harsh. It’s essential to ensure proper ventilation in the space you’re working in to avoid inhaling any toxic fumes. Moreover, prolonged exposure to these chemicals can lead to nail dryness and brittleness. Thus, moisturizing the nail bed and cuticle regularly is advisable. It’s also recommended to take breaks between gel manicures to allow your natural nails to recover.

Safety Considerations

Using Gloves

When using acetone or other chemicals, wearing gloves can protect your skin.


Ensure proper ventilation in your working area to avoid inhaling harmful fumes.

Following Manufacturer Instructions

Always follow the instructions provided by the product manufacturer for safe use.

Allergy Tests

Perform an allergy test if using a product for the first time to avoid any adverse reactions.

Maintenance and Care

Maintaining and caring for natural nails is essential to ensure their strength, health, and aesthetic appeal. Start by keeping your nails clean and dry to prevent fungal infections; remember, prolonged contact with water can weaken the nails. Regularly trim your nails using sharp manicure scissors or clippers and always shape them with a gentle nail file, moving in one direction to avoid splits.

Cuticles serve as a protective barrier against bacteria, so rather than cutting them, push them back gently with a cuticle pusher after softening them in warm water. Incorporate a nourishing cuticle oil into your routine to hydrate both the cuticle and nail bed, preventing brittleness and breakage. Additionally, refrain from using your nails as tools to pick or pry things open, as this can lead to unnecessary stress or injury. Opt for a biotin-rich diet or consider

Moisturizing Regularly

Keep your nails hydrated by applying hand cream or cuticle oil daily.

Avoiding Harsh Chemicals

Protect your gel polish from household cleaners by wearing gloves.

Regular Touch-ups

If necessary, perform regular touch-ups to keep your gel nails looking fresh.

Professional Removal

If you decide to remove the gel polish, consider professional removal to prevent damage to your nails.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When caring for and maintaining natural nails, there are several common mistakes many individuals make that can negatively affect the health and appearance of their nails. One of the most frequent mistakes is excessive filing or filing in a back-and-forth motion, which can lead to splits and cracks in the nails. Overcutting or cutting the cuticles can not only cause injury but also makes nails more susceptible to infections. Many neglect the importance of moisturizing their nails and cuticles, leading to dry, brittle nails that easily break. Similarly, using nail hardeners excessively or without necessity can make nails too hard and prone to breakage. Furthermore, using nails as tools to open packages or scratch off labels can weaken them and lead to potential chipping. Ignoring the signs of nail fungal infections or other nail disorders and not seeking timely treatment is another common oversight.

Applying Too Thickly

Applying gel polish too thickly can lead to wrinkling and peeling.


Avoid over-curing the polish, as it can make removal difficult.

Neglecting Nail Health

Don’t neglect the health of your nails; take breaks between applications.

Ignoring Safety Instructions

Always follow safety instructions to avoid skin irritation or other issues.

Variety of Options

With countless colors and effects available, gel polish offers a variety of creative options.

In conclusion, applying gel nail polish on natural nails is a detailed process that requires patience and precision. By following the guidelines above, you can achieve a professional-looking manicure from the comfort of your home. Always remember to take proper safety precautions and invest in quality products for the best results.

About Me

My name is Stephanie and I'm the founder of Polish Addict. I'm a lifelong lover of all things nail polish, and I'm passionate about helping others create beautiful manicures. I've been in the nail polish industry for over 10 years, working in product development, marketing, and sales.

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