By: Suad Othman
Credit: @jessicawashick

Okay let’s face it ladies, quarantine has our nails looking… not quite our best. And if you’re anything like me, then you absolutely love having your nails and toes done. I’m a little different though because about a year ago I started the habit of doing my own nails. I first became interested in the world of nail art when I would watch my amazing nail artist practice her work. I came to understand the techniques and started practicing with a simple DIY gel manicure. As my needs evolved, I started to watch more and more nail art tutorials on YouTube. Then began my obsession with something called Polygel.

Polygel nails are basically the in-between of a regular gel manicure and acrylic nails. They’re a lot harder than gel but more flexible than acrylics. Which makes them the perfect nail solution for gorgeous sturdy manicures that actually last. 

If you’re curious about trying out DIY Polygel nails for yourself, I’ve laid out a step by step guide on how to apply Polygel nails including some of the products I use as well.  

What you will need: Polygel quick builder nail gel, nail file, two-headed Polygel tool for application, dual forms for nails, UV or LED Lamp, Slip Solution or rubbing alcohol, Polygel Base and Top Coat. (optional: cuticle clipper, nail drill) 

My preference is the LILYCUTE Polygel nail kit from Amazon, but really you can use this guide with any kit you purchase. While a nail drill is not necessary for application, it does help speed up the process a bit. I like to use a nail drill that I bought from Amazon made by ECBASKET. It was under $15, so it won’t work quite as well as a professional nail drill. But it will definitely save you a lot of time when cutting your cuticles and just general upkeep of the nails like filing down edges and sides.

Here’s how its done:
  • First, you’re going to want to prepare the nail for application. This process includes filing the nail down and shaping the nail. You can start by pushing your cuticles back then cutting as much is necessary. Try not to cut too much of the cuticle to avoid bleeding. Also, make sure the nail is short for application.
  • After you’ve filed the nail and cut the cuticle, wash your hands with soap and water. Make sure the nail is completely dry. If you want, you can also use rubbing alcohol to get rid of any oil on the surface of the nail.
  • The next step is selecting the correct set of dual forms for all 10 of your nails. The dual form should be a bit larger on the sides of the nails than the actual nail. This will prevent any space being created once the gel has hardened.
  • After you select the correct dual forms to the size of your nail the shaping process begins. Start by taking the Polygel and placing a small amount on the dual form.

Pro tip: If the gel isn’t coming out smooth or it’s hard to push out, you can try running it under warm water for a few seconds.

  • Next use the spatula side of the two-sided Polygel tool to take some of the gel out of the tube. Then place it on the dual form.
  • Next, dip the brush side of the tool into your slip solution or rubbing alcohol. This prevents the gel from it sticking to the brush and allows for application. Dab a little on a cloth or paper towel before forming the gel on the dual form. Make sure to cover the sides of the dual form with the gel and make it a little thinner on the cuticle side and thicker in the middle of the dual form.
  • Once you have filed your nail to the desired shape, you’re going to want to apply a thin Base Coat and cure under the UV or LED lamp for 45-60 seconds depending on the lamp you have and depending on what your Base Coat requires.
  • After applying the Base Coat and curing the nail, take the dual form and apply it at a 45-degree angle at the cuticle and press down lightly. Take your two-sided brush and dip it into the slip solution to brush off any excess gel. Next, turn the nail around and create an even layer of gel on the back of your nail.
  • Quickly cure the nail under your UV or LED lamp then when it’s ready squeeze the sides of the dual form and pop it off. Proceed to shape the nail to the desired length and shape with your nail file.
  • Lastly, remove the excess dust with a paper towel or cloth and apply the Top Coat to the nail. Cure the nail under your UV or LED lamp. Repeat the process for all 10 nails and you’re done!

There you have it!

In 10 easy steps you have an incredible Polygel acrylic manicure. It typically lasts 2-3 weeks with no chipping. Be sure to share your at-home manicures by tagging us @thisisdrkbeauty and using #OurBeautyIsBeauty.


  1. Hi,
    I just got my sets in the mail and something is wrong I tried them twice and they are not coming out right they are bending at the seam of the nail and can be pulled right off and the color does not even look at all like the ades or pictures what am I doing wrong or did I get very old ones because this cost me 52.00 dollars and they suck.
    Please help me you can email me at


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