How to Prep & Dehydrate Nails for Gel Polish Top Tips

The number one thing you can do to make your mani last as long as possible is PREP PREP PREP! Having clean and healthy nails to start with can make the world of difference! Proper preparation and dehydration of your nails before gel polish application will help them to last longer. 

How to prepare your nails for gel polish application

It’s definitely worth spending as much time as possible on preparing your nail bed before applying your gel polish. Whilst applying and curing gel polish, builder gel and polygel is fun, only proper preparation and dehydration of the nails beforehand will ensure your manicure lasts!

Step 1 - Shape Your Nails

The first step in preparing your nails for gel polish application is to get your perfect nail shape. If you want to trim your nails you can use Nail Clippers to trim down the length of your natural nails, or use a Nail File to take down some length. 

You can also gently use a nail file in one direction along the free edge of your nail to shape it. Whether that’s giving it a rounded edge, square edge, or you want to try something new like an almond or stiletto shape, it’s totally up to you! 

Step 2 - Push back your cuticles

You can soften your cuticles first with the Mylee Cuticle Remover by applying the cuticle remover and letting it sit on your nails for 60 seconds before wiping off.  Then use a Metal Cuticle Pusher or Wooden Cuticle Pusher Sticks to push your cuticles back. This includes pushing off any cuticle that has grown up and over your nail bed. 

Having your cuticles pushed back means there is no chance of painting over your cuticles and giving the polish an edge and opportunity to lift. Be mindful of getting all the skin off the edge of the nail bed - even the tiniest flake of skin can cause your gel to start lifting!

Step 3 - Remove dead skin

The next step is to remove any dead skin around the cuticle area. Using Cuticle Nippers to remove any lifted or dead skin around the nails will help to keep your cuticles neat and tidy, and again it won’t give that polish any opportunity to lift! 

Only ever nip and push away dead skin. You can tell it’s dead if it’s white in colour. Be careful not to nip any live skin around your nails!

Step 4 - Buff your nails

Next you want to buff your nails with a fine Grit Buffer. Having a smooth surface on your nails may give the polish more opportunity to lift. Having a buffed nail gives your nail bed texture and grit and something for the polish to adhere to. Be careful not to over buff. Your nails are very thin and delicate and filing the natural nail too much may cause damage. 

Step 5 - Cleanse and dehydrate

One of the main reasons your mani might lift is if there is any dirt or oil on your nail bed. Remember not all dirt and oil is visible! Be careful if you’ve applied cuticle remover or washed your hands with soap and water before your manicure, as this can all cause residual oils to be left on the nail plate. 

You want to cleanse your nails of this dirt and oil and dehydrate the nail plate before application. The best way to do this is to take some Prep & Wipe solution on a Lint Free Wipe and wipe it over your nails, or use Mylee’s ready made Prep & Shine Wipes. This will cleanse the nail plate and remove any oil residue to give you a clean and dehydrated nail ready for gel polish application. Using a lint free wipe as opposed to a cotton pad helps too, as there won’t be any lint or little fluffies left around the nail when it comes to painting. 

This step is always important to do last, to remove any extra dust you may have on your nails after filing and buffing them. 

After following all these steps you’re ready to start applying your Base Coat, Builder Gel or Polygel.

Check out this video to see nail prep and dehydration in action!

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