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Fun Nail Finds and Gel Tips

Hi guys! Happy Weekend! Today I wanted to share with you some fun little things that make dipping a little easier or a little more fun. They’re the extras that can turn a bad nail day into a decent one (we’ve all been there). I love a good deal so these things are going to be CHEAP.


Beginner Nail Drill
This drill isn’t going to win any awards. It’s a simple drill, not too much power behind it and may not work more than a few months (mine is still kicking and it’s been 8 months, but maybe I just got lucky). For a beginner, this drill is perfect. The fact that it stops when you apply too much pressure might save a new dipper from a lot of pain and heartache. It’s not impossible to wreck your cuticles, but it’ll be a lot slower than the beast drills that some dippers use. And for $15, it’s pretty much a steal. Get it on Amazon here.


Drill Bit for Removal
If you’re using your drill for removing dip or getting a gel top coat off before soaking (some of them just stay on forever if you try to remove in acetone), you’ll need another drill bit that doesn’t get so hot and removes bulk a lot faster. I like this one, and have been using it for a little over two months for random removal, $9.99.


Cheap Gel Starter Set
This was my first set of gel base and top coat, and it’s been a super trusty staple for me. It’s a little intimidating when you first start using gel with dip, but there are a few tips I can share. This set is $9.99 for both, which is a steal.

  1. Don’t make your nail super smooth. File away any lumps or bumps and shape with a decent grit file, but don’t use a buffer. The unevenness will add to the longevity of your top coat.
  2. Always use a gel base coat over your dip after you activate. This base coat will not stop being sticky. The purpose of this is to really hold onto the gel top coat, so don’t cure for 3 minutes like I did the first time around, wondering when it’ll ever stop being sticky.
  3. Your timing for the curing under a lamp will depend both on your light and the gel you’re using. Practice on some swatches to get the timing right, but 60 to 90 seconds is about right.
  4. After you cure your base, you can put your first top coat on. You’ll have to kind of play with this, but don’t make it too thin. Gel shrinks when it cures and you may end up with spots where the gel pulls back if it’s not thick enough. Too thick and you’ll have flooding around the cuticle.
  5. If you’re using gel for fun elements like chrome, you’ll have to play with the timing on that as well, but 20-30 seconds is normally enough to make the tack go away but to still grab onto small particles.
  6. After your second coat of top and curing, depending on what gel you use, you may still have some tack to it. A quick swipe of alcohol will remove that easily.


What dip collection is complete without swatches, you guys? I’d never be able to pick out my mani without these rings showcasing my colors, and I’d never be fearless enough to try new techniques without practicing on a swatch first! Just get them. I know you have $10 to spare (it’s 200 swatches!!). I like the clear ones because you can lay them on top of your nail and really see what they’ll look like, even if the dip is sheer.


Magical Cuticle Remover
A good dip job can really only happen when you prep the nail and the cuticle. It’s not even just the cuticle as you know it, around the top of the nail, but the one that is invisible as a layer on the nail that really messes with your work. If you don’t get all that invisible gunk off, you’ll see lifting pretty quickly and that makes me sad. For a good removal, I use Diplomatiq Nails’ (affectionately nicknamed DiQ) Take it Off cuticle remover. It’s the best of the best, and I can’t stress that enough! This, plus a cuticle pusher with a little pointy end on the other side and you’ll see so much come off that you might need a barf bucket close by. If you don’t believe me, join Diplomatiq’s Facebook page and take a look at the gnarly stuff people have shared…even feet! It’s magical, but oh so gross. Make sure to wash well with dish soap after you remove, and then use a prep or alcohol to get off any residue before dipping.

Coming Soon…I’ve been testing out some new ways to peel base and I’m hoping I’ll get it down to where I see the holy nail trinity of longevity, minimal lifting and easy pop off removal. I think I’m getting close! I can’t keep a good thing to myself so when I get there you know I’ll share. Catch y’all on the flip side!

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