Filling the gaps as your nails grow out extends your manicure for 4 weeks or longer! With the right products and techniques, you can handle minor gel x upkeep yourself. Say goodbye to messy peeling polish and hello to salon-perfect nails on a budget.
At-Home Gel X Fill vs Removal
|At-Home Gel X Fill
|Professional Gel X Removal
|Filing and sealing lifted edges
|Removing all product from nail
|Refreshing existing manicure
|Full reapplication of gel system
|Minimal prep needed
|Extensive filing and dehydrating
|New polish layers over original
|Bare nails prepped for new product
|30-60 min process
|60-90 min salon visit
|Lower risk of damage
|Virtually no damage risk
|Costs $10-$30 for supplies
|Salon removal costs $20-$50
|Can be done every 2-3 weeks
|Needed every 2-3 fills
It’s important to understand the difference between a fill and a full removal when it comes to gel x nails:
- A fill involves filing the lifted edges and brushing new gel polish over the existing manicure to seal gaps at the cuticle.
- A removal takes the gel x completely off the nail before reapplication.
Salon pros recommend getting a full soak-off removal every 2-3 fills. But between visits, you can safely fill the gaps yourself with minimal filing and fresh polish. Just don’t layer new gel on top of itself too many times!
When to Fill Gel X Nails at Home?
Don’t wait too long before fixing lifted edges and chips! As soon as you notice gaps forming, attend to it:
- Filling thin cracks prevents moisture from getting underneath and compromising the whole manicure.
- Quickly brushing on more gel polish seals the free edge and prevents peeling.
- You want the gel x attached securely to the nail plate before applying more product.
If large chunks of the manicure are missing or your natural nails are very visible, it’s best to get a professional removal and refresh. DIY fills are for minor edge lifting only.
Prep Your Nails for DIY Gel X Fill
Proper prep is critical so the fresh gel polish adheres properly when filling in gaps:
- Remove surface shine by gently buffing the exposed natural nails. Don’t overfile.
- Use cuticle remover to clean up the overgrown skin and push it back. Trim if needed.
- Apply nail dehydrator and gently wipe off residue with a clean brush.
- Check for oil or lotion on the nails and remove with alcohol if needed.
Take your time prepping to remove anything blocking adhesion. Rushed or sloppy base work leads to lifting and wasted product.
Products Needed for At-Home Gel X Fill
Gel products cure under UV or LED lamps, so you’ll need access to one for DIY gel x fills. Purchase professional quality gel items, not drugstore polishes:
- Gel nail dehydrator
- Gel primer
- Gel base and top coat
- Gel polish colors
- LED or UV nail lamp
- Nail file, buffer, cuticle tools
- Foil strips
Look for reputable salon brand gels that specify they work for filling on the packaging. Avoid low quality products or regular polish.
Step-by-Step Guide to DIY Gel X Fill
Once you have everything ready, follow these steps closely for smooth, lasting results:
1. File The Free Edge
Very gently file the lifted edges to remove only the gel x that has peeled away from the nail plate. Don’t file the attached gel or you may thin the remaining product.
Smooth any jagged edges, but leave gel that’s still connected so you have a uniform surface.
2. Apply Dehydrator and Primer
Wipe nails with dehydrator, then brush on a thin primer layer according to package directions. This preps the nail for maximum adhesion.
3. Fill Gap With Gel Base
Use a thin brush to carefully apply gel base coat into the gap at the cuticle and free edge. Cap the tip to prevent future lifting.
Cure for 30 seconds in your lamp. Do one hand at a time to work quickly before product dries.
4. Apply Gel Color
Apply gel polish in your desired color over the entire nail. Follow with a second thin coat, curing each for 30 seconds in between. Cap the free edge again.
Having less surface area when filling helps the polish self-level better. Take your time for even application.
5. Finish With Gel Top Coat
Finish off with a gel top coat to seal and protect the fresh polish. Cure for 30-60 seconds. Wipe off any tacky residue after.
6. File and Shape
Use a buffer to gently shape and blend the new gel layers into the existing manicure. File off any bumps or uneven areas.
Shape the nails symmetrically so they look seamless where old gel meets new.
Gel X Fill Tips and Tricks
Follow these handy tips for easier, longer-lasting fills at home:
- Prep and file nails thoroughly before applying any gel
- Keep gel coats very thin; 2-3 layers is enough
- Cap the tips every time to prevent future lifting
- Shape and blend for a seamless transition
- Give each layer a full cure time
- Finish with a pH-balanced nail cleanser
With some practice, you’ll get quick and easy professional-looking results! Just don’t forget your regular full removal appointments every few fills.
Avoid Damage and Allergic Reactions
While convenient, at-home gel filling does come with some risks:
- Filing too aggressively damages the natural nails
- Skipping proper sanitation can cause infections
- Repeated exposure to UV light can burn skin
- Some people develop allergic reactions to gel ingredients
Work carefully and stop if you notice any redness, burning, major discomfort or damage. It’s always best to have professionals handle any major gel x fixes.
Video showing how to fill Gel X nails using a rubber-based gel
Video showing how to fill the Gel X with a builder gel
How many times can I fill my gel x nails at home?
It’s recommended to get a professional removal every 2-3 home fills. Filling more than 3 times in a row risks too much product buildup and lifting.
What if my natural nail is exposed under the gel x?
If you can see a large portion of your real nail under the gel, it’s best to get a full removal and refresh. DIY filling works only for minor edge lifting.
Can I just use regular polish for gel x fills?
No, you need to use actual gel polish, base and top coats formulated for gel manicures. Regular polish won’t cure properly or adhere as well.
Is gel x easier to fill than other enhancements?
Gel x is one of the easiest nail enhancements to fill at home due to the thin layers. Polygel or acrylic are very difficult to fill yourself without proper training.
How do I remove the gel x if I mess up the fill?
Use pure acetone and foil wraps to gently dissolve the gel x if needed after a bad home fill. Then see your manicurist for a fresh set. Don’t peel off layers!
Extend Your Fresh Manicure with DIY Gel X Fill
Now you can go longer between salon appointments with easy gel fill touch-ups. Prep the nail plate properly, apply thin gel layers and blend for seamless results. A few minor fixes lets you get an extra week or two of wear out of your pristine gel x manicure.
Just be careful not to overfile or expose skin to UV for too long. And remember occasional professional removals to avoid excessive product layers. With some practice, you’ll be a pro at making your perfect gel mani last.
For more nail care tips and ideas, check out the Villa Nails blog. Learn how the pros create stunning manicures that turn heads!