Gelish Gel Polish Application (In-depth)


  1. Sanitize yourself and client
  2. Cleanse using Remover
    Do this step even your client doens’t currently have any polish on their nails. This removes and residue or grime that may be on the nail plate from general everyday life that we don’t want to be transferring from one nail to another
  3. Push Eponychium
    Starting in the middle of the nail plate, do a couple of long pushes up the nail plate towards to eponychium to determine at which point the clients excess cuticle starts from. On new clients or clients who may have never had a manicure or, not for some time, you’d be surprised just how far up the nail plate dead cuticle can cling. Then gentle focus on pushing back the eponychium to create yourself more ‘nail estate’ to work with whilst painting
  4. Remove Dead Cuticle
    With the knife end of your pusher, gently scrape away this excess dead cuticle. It’s so important to take your time with this prep step. Not only are you working close to living tissue but your gel polish does not want to stick to any of this debris and not thoroughly prepping will lead you to service breakdown and lifting issues
  5. Dust
    Firmly dust any debris away
 with long downwards motions
  6. Natural Nail Shaping
    Use a 240 or 180 grit nail file (nothing grittier than these) to shape the natural nail using a natural nail file
  7. Buff to Remove Shine Only
    Gently buff the entire nail plate with a 180 grit sponge buffer. Start by focussing around the eponychium area to ensure no cuticle remains before passing over the entire nail to ensure all shine is removed only. Then pass underneath the nail also to remove any ‘frills’ that may remain for your natural nail shaping. (If painted over, these frills will wear off, taking the polish attached to it with it, causing chipping)
  8. Dust
    Firmly remove debris with both a downwards and sideways sweep beneath the free edge
  9. Cleanse
    Cleanse the nail plate with cleanser on a lint free pad. Make sure to get right into the side walls
  10. Dehydrate
    Quickly brush over the nail using your Gelish PH Bond to temporarily dehydrate the nail of any natural oils. Be sure your client doesn’t touch anything from this point forward that could attract new oils or fluff that may effect your paint work and adhesion to the natural nail
  11. Foundation
    Before applying your base coat (Gelish Foundation), you want to remove excess base coat from the arm of the brush, remove as much base as possible from your bristles and then come back in and pick up the tiniest amount on the edge of your brush. This is enough to do all 5 nails on one hand.
To cap my free edges, I personally prefer to come in with a backwards motion first and scrub up to and just over the free edge. Then, pushing up to the eponychium, around 1mm away from any skin with a scrubbing motion and pulling down to the free edge. Scrubbing around one corner and pulling down. Scrubbing around the other corner and pulling down, generally one more pull down the centre of the nail and then another very very thin cap of the free edge. 
Another trick is to Flip your brush over to the other side of the bristles for each nail that you continue with
  12. Cure Foundation
    The Gelish Foundation cures in 5 secs in the Gelish LED Lamp
  13. Dry Brush
    Out of the lamp, you want o dry brush each cured nail to remove the excess inhibition layer. You’ll find your colour coats go on much more smoothly after doing this
  14. 1st Colour Coat
    To load my brush, I remove excess polish from the arm of my brush. Wipe one side of the brush and 1/2 of the other. Again I start with my backwards motion. (This motion is great for really short of bitten nails and just ensuring your capping is as thin as can be). This time rather than scrubbing like our base coat, we are floating the brush with each stroke
  15. Cure 1st Colour Coat
    Gelish Colour cures in 30 seconds in the Gelish LED Lamp
  16. 2nd Colour Coat
    Your colour with build in opacity with your second colour coat
  17. Cure 2nd Colour Coat
    Gelish Colour cures in 30 seconds in the Gelish LED Lamp
  18. Structure Gel (If required)
    Gelish Structure Gel is a thicker viscosity gel that can be used to encapsulate any nail art or, if your client requires a strength layer to prevent bend of the natural nail. This applies in the same way as your colour coats
  19. Structure Gel Cure
    The range of Gelish Structure Gels (multiple colours available) cure in 30 seconds in the Gelish LED Lamp
  20. Top It Off – Top Coat
    Gelish Top It Off is the Gelish Gel Polish Top Coat. Be sure to fully cover the colour coats completely and thoroughly cap this layer. Pay special attention to your capping of the index and thumb nails as these nails get more wear and tear from everyday life
  21. Top Coat Cure
    Gelish Top It Off cures in just 20 seconds in the Gelish LED Lamp
  22. Cleanse Inhibition Layer
    Out of the lamp, allow your top coat to cool down slightly. Then, using your cleanser on a lint-free wipe, wipe away the inhibition layer before sure not to touch the skin surrounding the nail. Cleansing straight out of the lamp can cause your top coat to dull
  23. Cuticle Oil
    However you choose to finish your salon services, you always want to at least use a cuticle oil to rehydrate the surrounding skin from all the cleansers used during service