Changing your gel color- without soaking them off first

Friday, March 14, 2014

I've got a quick reminder, or "refresher," for you gel nail lovers today. (Get it?!)

You've heard me talk about doing my own gel nails and you all know how much I looooove gels. I posted my DIY Gel Nails tutorial and it's been viewed over 200,000 times now! Then I showed you an easy way to take off your gels with my DIY Gel Nail Removal tutorial. But then I showed you another option- refreshing or "filling" gel nails when they grow out. In that tutorial I transformed my 2 week old black gel manicure into a shiny new black gel manicure. Today I just want to remind you that you can also change the color of your gel manicure during this process.

 I did these nails for Valentine's Day.

After Valentine's Day came and went I wanted something different. These ones had only been on for about a week and were in relatively good shape. They weren't chipped or peeling, and I had minimal grow out and was ready for a change. But I didn't want to sit and soak my nails off in acetone first.. I hate soaking gels off. I'm just so impatient and I didn't want to do that and do a whole new manicure in the same sitting. It hurts my back to sit hunched over for that long. Since my nails were still in good condition that made them a good candidate for refreshing them, rather than removing them entirely.

Here's what you need to to do to prep your nails for refreshing:

I gently buffed off the top coat and removed the shine from the entire nail. I had one little spot on my thumb where the gel had lifted up just a little bit, so I used my cuticle nippers to clip that part off, then I used a 180 grit file to carefully blend the gel down into my natural nail and remove the little "ridge" the gel created. (You want to be so careful here that you are holding your file parallel to the nail and are only filing on the gel- not the nail. If you angle your file at all you will file into your nail, damaging and thinning it. Big no-no! Keep that file parallel and keep it on the gel only). You'll also want to buff off any nail art or glitter that you may have previously applied.

After that, you're ready to follow the instructions I provided in this tutorial here, starting at the "preparing the nails" step.

You can totally change up your polish color during this process, as long as you are going with something that will cover what you previously applied, such as a darker color. I decided to go with Make You Blink Pink, which is my favorite hot pink color by Gelish.

They look like a brand new set of nails, don't they?!
You'd never know that my old gels were hiding underneath these gorgeous, shiny nails.

I love refreshing my nails because it saves so much time. Plus I kind of like the added strength that the extra layers of underlying gel give you. As long as you buff them down a little bit they won't end up too thick. I only recommend refreshing them once though, and then soaking them off the next time, otherwise they will end up too thick and bulky and you may start to get problems with lifting or peeling. But it's a great way to save a little time every other time you do your nails.

So what do you think? Had you ever heard of filling or refreshing gels?
Isn't it a great time saver?

Let me know if you've tried this and what your experience was like. And as always, if you have any questions at all, feel free to leave them in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer them. You can also email me directly by clicking the little envelope icon in my right sidebar underneath my picture.

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  1. Thanks for the tip that you can refresh gel polish without removing the entire manicure. It's a great idea and I will be doing the filling tonite. Am anxious to try this. I read that you hate removing your gel polish. When I remove mine, I use a product called "Hands Down Soak Off Nail Wraps. You can purchase these on They're like band put gel polish remover or acetone on the gauze part of the wrap, put the soaked gauze over the nail bed, and then wrap the sticky mesh around your finger, making sure the guaze is on top of the naill, bottom to tip. Wrap all nails, put a very large plastic glove (one like you get in Root Touch Up for hair) over your hands, wrap your hands in a towel to produce warmth, and sit for 1/2 hour and relax. When you take off the wraps do a twisting motion over your nail to help loosen the gels. Remove the wraps. You may have to use an orange stick to remove left over residue. Then I take a lint free pad soaked in remover and wipe each nail again. Your gel polish is removed, and you got to sit and relax, doing, nothing for 1/2 hour. You can reuse the wraps over and over, just unwind them, clean off the gel polish off the gauze, and lay them flat to dry.
    Thanks again for all your tips on gel nails!

  2. Hi Melissa, no I've never heard of refreshing them or filling gel nails like you have done in another post--thanks a lot from another busy mama with young children and a FT job!

  3. I know you said that you like your nails after you have filled them because of the thickness. Have you ever tried the gelish structure gel? I just bought some and hope it will help with my nails being more reinforced since nail breaking is my number 1 reason the gels don't last super long for me.


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