How to Embed Glitter in a Gel Manicure

Whenever you need to party, you have to dress the part. It’s a time to get glitzy, pretty, and glamorous, and nothing says glam like a gorgeous glitter manicure. Let’s say you’re rocking your fabulous party dress and a fancy new pair of shoes. Your hair is salon-fresh, and you feel oh-so-beautiful. Wouldn’t it be a shame if your nails are a letdown? Sure, there are lots of fabulous ways to glam up your nails, but nothing beats the eye-catching shimmer of a glitter manicure.

To make your shimmery manicure lasting and chip-free, gel nail polish is always a great choice. Making your gel manicure at home is easier than many salon-goers imagine, but when it comes to glittery nails, a bit of extra tips and know-how can make all the difference.

The problem with glitters is that achieving perfect nails can be a challenge. Have you ever tried to apply the loose glitter to your gel nails and have it end up uneven or lackluster? Or perhaps it slides right off? And when you get the application right, it’s all too easy for something to go wrong for you to end up with a gloopy, uneven look that sparkles in the wrong ways.

Here’s a guide that can help you make a perfect DIY gel manicure with glitter embedded!

Where to Buy
SensatioNail LED Nail Lamp for Gel Polish – Safe and Easy to Use Automatic Nail Polish Curing Lamp
Modelones Nail Bond Primer, Nails Nail Protein Bond, Superior Bonding Primer 0.5 oz 1pc
Beetles 2 Pcs 15ml No Wipe Gel Top Coat and Base Coat Set
Karlash Max Uv & Led Gel Cleanser for Nails Clean & Shine Gels
KADS 5pcs/set Nail Art Design Cuticle Pusher Remover Manicure Care/Orange Wood Stick Nail Tools
100/180 Grit Emery Board Nail Files and 4 Way Nail Buffer Block, 8PCS Manicure Kit
Onwon 325 Pcs Lint Free Nail Art Gel Polish Remover Cotton Pad Nail Wipe


Supplies needed:

LED nail lamp

Gel nail primer

Gel nail top coat and base coat

Gel nail polish in the color you prefer

Gel nail cleanser

Orange stick 

Nail buffing block and nail files

Glitters in the color that matches your nail polish


Lint-free cotton pads 


Step 1:

Prepare yourself before starting a gel manicure on your own. Once you start, there’s no taking breaks or holding anything to prevent anything from sticking to the gel polish, making your manicure easier to chip.

Also, prepare your workstation by laying down some newspaper or any big paper or plastic to line your table with for quick and easy cleanup after the manicure. Tackling glitters is messy, so if you have something you can lay down that will catch the excess, do it! Your future self will thank you.

Step 2:

Trim your nails to the desired length. File the free edge of the nails and define the shape of your nails before embarking on your manicure. You can choose from square, shape, oval, round, or squared oval.

Gels can last between two to three weeks, so make sure the free edge is even in length.

Step 3:

Soak your nails in warm water for a few minutes to make sure they’re nice and soft. Then, push your cuticles back using an orange stick to create space for your manicure.

Step 4:

Using a nail buffing block, gently buff the surface of the nails to remove any shine. You need to do this to prime the surface of your nails and remove any shine to create a surface that will allow the gel polish to grip onto.

Step 5:

Prep the nails for nail polish by wiping with the gel cleanser and apply a thin coat of the gel nail primer. Leave it to air dry for 30 seconds.

Step 6:

Paint on the base coat. Be sure to apply it as closely as possible to the edges of your nails without touching the cuticles and your skin. If you do smudge, use an orange stick to clear up the edges right away – if you don’t do this, you will end up with big, gloopy bits of gel hanging off your nails once it’s hardened. Cure it under the LED lamp for 30 seconds.  

Adding a base coat is important if you want your manicure to last while protecting your natural nails from yellowing and discoloration.

Step 7:

Apply a thin layer of your chosen nail polish color to every nail on the one hand. Cure it for 30 seconds.

Step 8:

Apply another thin layer of your color polish, just to the thumb this time. While the gel still looks tacky, sprinkle glitter all over it and try your best to make the coverage even. Alternatively, you can pop your finger into a bag of glitter if you don’t want to deal with the mess that sprinkling can create.

Step 9:

Gently pat the glitter down and blow off any excess glitter from your nails. If you don’t do this, you will end up with a rough finish that will probably bother you for days to pass. Cure it for 60 seconds.

Step 10:

Once you remove your nails out of the light, you can go ahead and dust off any excess glitter that didn’t adhere to your gel coat. Clean around the nails by removing any excess glitter using tissue and an orange stick.

Step 11:

Apply a medium to a thick layer of topcoat and cure it for 1-2 minutes.

When you do a typical, non-glitter gel manicure, thin layers are always suggested, but since glitter is three-dimensional, you might need a thicker layer of topcoat to encase it – otherwise, you’ll get a rough finish.

Step 12:

You may notice that the nails are still tacky – this is normal. Simply use lint-free nail wipes to wipe the gel cleanser over the top of the nails to finish it up. You may also need to file the nails a little more if you have any bits of stray glitter that cause your manicure to be uneven.

Step 13:

Repeat steps 8-12 for the rest of your nails in one hand. Then, repeat steps 7-12 for the other hand.