A little pink & black GelishMINI mani

I’ve got another gorgeous yet simple gel manicure to show you today!
First off, I wanted to address something that comes up quite often in my gel nail tutorials and posts. I get this question a lot in the comment section: do gel nails ruin or damage your natural nails? I’ve had people tell me horror stories of gels supposedly making their nails thin, or that they were painful, peeling, or breaking a lot during or after the removal process. Here’s my short answer: no, gels do not ruin or damage your natural nails, if done properly.  Keep reading.
If you follow the instructions for the application and removal process, you should be able to keep the integrity of your natural nail completely in tact. That means you shouldn’t be filing on the natural nail (which causes it to wear down or thin out) and you shouldn’t be scraping or “chiseling” off the product in the removal process. This will ruin your nails! So whether you are doing your gel nails yourself or are going to a salon to get your nails done, remember this: nail enhancements should not hurt. Period. If your nails are being damaged from gel nails there is something wrong in the application or removal process and you should try to figure out what it is. If you’re doing them yourself, reevaluate your process and try to figure out what you are doing wrong. If it’s your nail tech, I highly advise switching to someone else and finding a more reputable tech. Don’t pay someone to hurt you!
If you need proof that gel nails don’t damage your natural nails, here it is:
Do these nails look damaged to you? No. They are healthy, long, and strong. These are my natural nails right after soaking off my last set of gels. I’ve been wearing gels for months and months without taking a break between sets, and my nails show no signs of damage even after I soaked them off. After I removed the gel, I carefully filed and shaped my nails (because they were super long), and then applied some cuticle oil and lightly buffed them maybe 4 or 5 times to smooth them out a little bit. When doing gels, whether it’s in the removal or application process, you should only be using a very fine grit buffer on the natural nail, not a file
Gelish makes these awesome little cuticle pushers with special disposable tabs on the ends that are great for prepping your nails before applying the gel. I’ve used these before and they work really well for pushing your cuticles back and for removing the shine from your natural nail before you apply the gel polish.
If you don’t have one of those, you can use what I use- this super fine buffing block that is safe for natural nails. I believe it’s about 220 grit and you shouldn’t be using anything rougher on your natural nails. You can find this buffing block here at Sally’s Beauty Supply. It’s my favorite! It will come in handy after you’ve soaked of your nails and need to give your nails a light buffing, and it also works in the application process to prep your nails as well.
Now that we’ve covered that, on to the new manicure!
I wanted something fun, but being in the third trimester of my pregnancy I also wanted something quick and easy, since it’s getting harder and harder to sit comfortably to do my nails. I pulled out a few of my favorite tried & true Gelish MINI colors- Make You Blink Pink, Black Shadow, and a chunky-glittery one called Concrete Couture. 
I applied 3 coats of Black Shadow on 4 of my nails, leaving out the ring finger. On that one I applied 3 coats of Make You Blink Pink. Then I added one coat of Concrete Couture to my pinky and thumb (going over Black Shadow on those ones). I then went over all of them up with 2 coats of Top it Off, making sure to seal the free edge. As I’ve said before, I prefer 2 layers of the topcoat just for a little added protection and shine. Here’s what I ended up with:
Pro-tip: I always file my nails a little bit shorter than I want them before I apply gels. My gel manicure generally lasts around 2 weeks, so think of how much your nails are going to grow during that period of time. Once the gels are on, filing them shorter isn’t a good idea because you’re going to break the seal on the free edge, which will most likely result in the gel separating at the tip of the nail and will cause it to peel up and/or chip. So make sure to make them a little bit shorter than you actually want them to be to account for how much they are going to grow!
Make sure to check out all of my DIY gel nail tutorials for more info and tips on doing your own gels. 
 Also, as I’ve stated before, if you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter you’ll probably get a chance to see all of my nail looks a lot sooner than you would here on the blog. I’m always snapping pictures and showing off little sneak peeks & offering quick tips on social media, so if you don’t already follow me you should! Feel free to shoot me questions & comments if you have them.
So what do you think of the new mani?
Have you ever tried gels?