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Start with clean nails. Make sure to rinse with warm water and NO soap. TIP: You also may want to nip or push back your cuticles so you have a good surface to work with :)
File nail to the desired shape and LIGHTLY file the entire surface of your nail.
Be VERY CAREFUL not to overdo it or your nails will become very weak and break very easily! You only need to rough up the surface a little bit so the polish has something to stick to.
Dust off nails and spray with rubbing alcohol.. Doing this will make sure your manicure lasts a full 2 weeks! The alcohol removes any oils & residue that could cause the polish to peel off early...
Any rubbing alcohol works but it is best to one as close as possible to 99% isopropyl alcohol.
Place nails under UV light for about 30 seconds to ensure they are completely dry.
Just a tip - The lacquer can be a little messy (its sticky), so I suggest you go through all the steps on one hand and THEN repeat on the other hand. I'm a righty so I start with my right hand...
Apply axxium gel base coat with a clean brush.
A little goes a long way :)
Place nails under UV light for 2 minutes. (**The time may vary depending on the light. Mine is just a regular, fairly cheap lamp with 2 18w UVA light bulbs.. Stronger lamps = shorter curing times).
Choose a color and apply gel lacquer... (I'm using OPI axxium "Cajun Shrimp")!
Don't forget to clean up around the edges with alcohol if you need to...
Place nails under UV light for 3 minutes (times vary by light). TIP: try to keep your fingers flat so that the lacquer doesn't harden unevenly.
Place nails under UV light for 3 more minutes.
Now is a good time to clean your brush and put the cover back on the lacquer... :)
Apply Soak-Off Gel Sealer...
Place hand under UV light for 4 minutes this time!
Repeat steps 10 through 27 on your other hand! TIP: If you got some lacquer or anything else on your other hand (I almost always do), make sure to clean it off with alcohol and re-apply bond-aid :)
Polish stays on for 2-3 weeks... If they get a little dull after the 1st week or so, freshen them up by applying another coat of the gel sealer (top coat). Remember to cure under UV light for 4 min :)