If you tried getting some gel nail polish, you already know that they are absolutely sensational for long-wearing manicures. With a gel manicure, you can get two whole weeks of flawless-looking nails. But when you start to see some chipping, you probably aren’t ready yet to remove all the paint so you can have a new manicure. Plus, you probably don’t want to go through that long process of getting a gel manicure too soon again, especially if you splurged for it.
Thankfully, you can simply repair your chipped gel nails at home. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Assess the damage.
Before you do anything, make sure that the rest of the gel nail isn’t lifting or peeling up. Use a pair of cuticle nippers to lightly clip off any loose pieces of gel nail around the chip. Take off as little as possible, but don’t leave anything peeling up.
2. Get buffing.
When it comes to repairing a chipped gel polish, you need to start buffing. Gently file off the shiny topcoat to break the seal you created, so the new gel polish you will apply will stick to the old gel polish. Remember, gel polish doesn’t like sticking to anything shiny. By taking away the seal, the new polish will better adhere to your nail and to the old polish.
3. Level the edges.
Next, take your nail file and gently file around the edges of the chipped area. You would want to level it off with a little ledge between the natural nail and the gel without filing into the natural nail. To do this, you have to hold your file parallel to the nail and stay on the gel while you buff. It doesn’t have to be completely flush with the natural nail, but try to get it as smooth as possible. Use your finger to feel around and make sure it feels smooth.
4. Dehydrate the chipped nail.
Make sure the surface is free of oils and dirt by dehydrating the gel nail polish using cotton soaked in cleanser or alcohol. Then, apply a nail prep dehydrator to the chipped area. If you don’t have this item, that’s fine – just make sure you dehydrate the natural nail really well.
5. Prime the nail.
Like with any manicure, make sure that your exposed nail has a base coat before applying gel polish. Use a primer or a gel bonder to the nails before applying more gel polish so you can give the new polish a long-lasting base. Allow the nails to fully dry for 30 seconds before going on to the next step.
When priming, don’t forget the free edge. Make sure you get the chipped area really well and that you don’t leave any dry spots. Cure under a UV or LED nail lamp.
6. Start filling in with gel color.
After the primer has thoroughly dried, it’s time to start applying your gel color. Work in thin layers to create a more natural-looking finish. Remember, you won’t get full coverage with the first coat, so don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect at first. Just make sure to let each layer dry entirely by curing under the lamp before applying another coat.
7. Add another layer to the whole nail.
Apply one coat of colored gel over the entire nail to make sure your coverage is even and level. You shouldn’t be able to see the chipped area through the gel anymore. Applying a final coat of color to the whole nail can give a more seamless finish and further hide the chip. Cure under your lamp.
8. Seal the nails with a topcoat.
Seal the entire nail by applying a UV gel top coat from the base of the nail all the way to the free edge. Cure under your lamp. Repeat with another topcoat if needed. This coat will help further protect the polish and add shine back to the nail. Do not skip this step if you want your nails to last longer and not chip!
9. Remove the tacky layer.
Once your top coat has fully dried, finish off your manicure by wiping away the tacky layer with alcohol or a gel cleanser. A simple swipe using an alcohol- or a cleanser-soaked cotton ball will do.
Finally, apply some cuticle oil around the nails to protect your polish for a lasting shine.