Tips for Working with Gel

I’ve had some requests for help with gels. One of the most difficult things is getting the hang of working with it, especially if you are used to working with liquid and powder. It is a lot like leaving aerobics class and going straight into yoga when you go from an acrylic client to a gel client. I have a video using CND Brisa gels to give you an idea on how to get more accustomed to the workability of gels. And I’ve also asked educators from several different gel manufacturers to share their advice on working with the gel they use.
“When you are applying gel, always use a light touch with your brush. You want to keep the brush on top of the gel, not ‘in’ the gel. Many acrylic users have a hard time transitioning to gel but it’s all in the brush work! Keeping your brush on top of the gel prevents air bubbles from entering the product, which are caused by overworking the gel. Many people describe gel application as ‘icing a cake’, and it is a very similar technique. Just remember to keep the gel on one side of the brush only, and keep the flat side of the brush parallel to the nail while working with the product. All the gel should be sandwiched between the nail below and the brush on top. This is how you move the product around on the nail.”
Laura Merzetti, Owner and Nail Artist, Scratch My Back Nail Studio
Educator, ONYX Beauty Systems 
“T.E.N. is a medium-consistency gel and I like to float it on. When sculpting, I like to build the free edge first, then do the nail bed. I work with thin layers to avoid a possible heat spike. You want to flash cure for about 3 seconds in between each layer. Once the nail is built to the desired thickness and length, a final cure of 2 minutes is done.”
Donna Schur, T.E.N. Poly Gel Educator/Sales Rep. 
“NSI Balance One Step, Builder, and Body Builder Gels are best applied using a light feather touch by floating your brush in the gel slightly. Start at the eponychium with a brush load of gel — do not pat or apply too much pressure. With a gentle side-to-side motion (like frosting a cake), manipulate the gel down the nail. Or using the logging technique, log the gel down the center of the nail. Then, holding your brush so the handle is straight up in the air, use the tip of the brush to manipulate the gel from the “log” to the sidewalls for even coverage.
“NSI Radiant White Sculptor Gel is best applied by picking up a medium to large bead of gel. Using light pressure press the gel to the nail slightly above the natural smile line and twirl the gel to heat or warm it and release it from your brush. Using the tip of the brush, use a swirling, side-to-side motion and start moving the gel to one side of the nail. Press and work back to the other side of the nail, creating an approximate smile line. Like icing a cake work your way down the form or tip. Remember there should always be a layer of gel between your brush and the nail. Do not lift your brush up as you will create air bubbles that are not visible but will appear when you file the enhancement.”
Susan Clark, Essence Salon & Spa Solutions   
“I pillow (pillowing is pushing an excess amount of gel around the cuticle and sidewall area with the brush behind the bead of gel) and gently float to help level the gel. Making small circles and the tick-tock method are helpful as well. A very wise friend told me to think of a feather floating to help me grasp how light-handed I needed to be after working mainly with acrylic for 20 years.”
Jennifer Halfon, Young Nails Mentor
Let me know if you have questions and enjoy!
— Holly

Facebook Comments ()

Leave a Comment


Comments (7)


Featured Products & Promotions   |   Advertisement

Market Research

Market Research How big is the U.S. nail business? $7.3 billion. What's the average service price for a manicure? Dig into our decades' deep research archives.

Industry Statistics for

View All


FREE Subscription

VietSalon is a Vietnamese-language magazine and the sister publication to NAILS. Click the link below to sign up for a FREE one-year subscription.

Get a free preview issue and a Free Gift
Subscribe Today!

Please sign in or register to .    Close
Subscribe Today
Subscribe Today