Glitter Gel Nails Tutorial

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When I was in beauty school, we learned a service we called “glitter toes” or “glitter gel toes”. They were all the rage and are still very popular. When I learned them, I literally thought to myself “That’s it?”. They were so easy! I immediately went out to buy the supplies so I could do them on myself at home. Who doesn’t want glittery toes?

While doing my toes one day I had the thought to also do my fingers.  From then on my glittery finger nails were one of my most favorite ways to do my nails. I even did a white glitter when I went to have Jamie at the hospital. I stayed there for 3 days, so I went through quite a bit of nurses, and they all loved my nails. Which made me feel much prettier than I probably looked at the time. Another reason I love these so much is, because they are gel they are so durable and last a long time! Now I know you are dying to learn so here’s how I do it:

Here’s What You’ll Need:

glitter gel supplies

  • Gel kit, If you don’t want to but a gel kit you’ll at least need:
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Gel primer
    • Gel base coat
    • Gel top coat
  • Paper towels
  • UV or LED light (UV works a lot better)
  • Glitter (fine craft glitter works perfect)
  • Nail file, manual or electric.

Start by shaping your nails the way you like then push back your cuticles. You can use a cuticle pusher but I just use my nails.

shape nails

File your nails just enough to remove the shine, this should only take a few seconds. You just want to give the gel something to grip onto.


Next, dehydrate your nail using your cleanser (alcohol). Spray the dehydrator onto your paper towel and rub off the excess dust. Once you’ve dehydrated the nail do not touch it. The oils from your hands can make the gel lift. Also DON’T USE A COTTON PAD like I did, use a paper towel! The cotton will catch on your nails and leave fibers behind.


Add a thin layer of primer.


Now add a thin layer of base coat. Be careful to keep your base coat only on your nail, the glitter will adhere to the base coat so if it is on your skin then the glitter will be on your skin, and we don’t want that. Cure for 1-2 minutes.

base coat

cure base

After curing there will be a thin tacky layer. This is what the glitter will stick to so open your glitter pot, dip and roll your finger in it. If you are doing this on other people, you can use a brush to dab the glitter onto the nail.

put in glitter

Shake off excess back into pot, then add your top coat by floating. Floating is taking  a larger bead of top coat onto your brush, and moving it along the top of your glitter without your brush actually ever touching your nail. If you brush on the top coat it will also brush off the glitter. The floating method will also help get enough product on the nail for the end product to feel smooth instead of rough. Keep in mind that top coat is a self leveling product, which means if you let it sit long enough it will find the lowest point  (your cuticles) and flood them. To avoid this I will cure a few nails at a time. Cure 1-2 minutes.

top coat

close up top coat

curing top coat 3 nails

curign top coat











After curing the top coat will also have a thin tacky layer, remove this by using your dehydrator (cleanser or alcohol) and a paper towel. Your nails should be fully cured so don’t be afraid to add some pressure to really get that tackiness off.

dehydrator 2

Your nails should feel smooth, if they are still rough you can add another layer of top coat and cure. After you’ve again wiped off the tacky layer, wash your hands with soap and water to remove any excess glitter on your hands.

Yay! Your nails are done! If you find that you have flooded your cuticles anywhere or the gel is outside of the lines then take your hand file and simply file it off.

overflow on cuticle

side file

Now you have beautiful, glittery, professional looking nails!  Go out and let the compliments roll in! [themify_icon icon=”fa-heart-o” link=”http://”] Cassie Jean

nail close up



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