How to Do Your Own Fake Nails at Home!

Just because we’re in quarantine, & going on the four-week mark ~ doesn’t mean our nails have to look like crap!  Ha!  About 8 months ago, I switched from being a nail salon regular, spending $50/month for shellac fills: to doing my own nails, at home, for about $4 a pop.  And I should clarify: this is for people who prefer fake or acrylic nails, not a regular manicure.  All I do is pick up Kiss or Goldfinger nails from Amazon or Walgreens, & then I spend a relaxing hour doing my own nails, which typically last 2-3 weeks.  Below, I’ll go through step-by-step “How to Do Your OWN Gel Nails at Home.”

 Your OWN Nails at Home, Girl Who Travels the World

This photo was taken at my home here in Bend, on April 9th, 2020 ~ 3 weeks into quarantine. These are the white Kiss Nails, shown below, & can be ordered through Amazon.


Step-by-Step for Doing Your Nails at Home

Here are the steps you need to follow for doing gel or “fake” nails at home: in the end, you’ll have nails that will look like they were done at the salon. 


  1. First, remove any old nails or polish.  Soak fake nails in nail polish remover, if necessary.  Once you have clean nails, take a regular file & use it to file each nail, creating a nice, smooth surface. 
  2. Next, every time you buy a Kiss or Goldfinger nail kit, they’ll come with a short wood cuticle pusher: this step is KEY!!  Use it to push your cuticles BACK (I swear, this gives you an extra few days of wear, minimum).  Push each cuticle back, & if you have extra skin, use nail clippers to clip it off. 
  3. File your nails again, after you’ve used the cuticle pusher.  By now, your nails should be feeling very smooth. 
  4. Push the cuticles back….AGAIN!!  Not everyone may do this: but I do.  I feel that fake nails adhere & “sit” better when the cuticles have been nicely pushed back, creating a great base for them to “lay” in.
  5. Now, use a rectangular nail buffer (sometimes called a “Smooth & Shine Block“) to do your final buff & shine.  File your nails one last time, then use the smooth side of the block to “shine” them, making them really smooth. 

Now, you’ve created a perfect base for putting on your fake nails. 


  1. Start with your left or right hand, & sift through the nails identifying which ones “fit” each nail perfectly; set those nails aside.  Thumbs & pinkies are easiest to identify ~ start with those. 
  2. Once you’ve got the nails picked out, now it’s time to glue them on.  Most kits come with a pink tube of glue; I think it works pretty well, but it’s not my favorite.  I prefer Kiss Maximum Speed Nail Glue (shown below) ~ it’s easier to apply & has lasted me as long as three weeks.  DON’T put glue on BOTH the fake nail & your nail….you’ll have way too much glue oozing out the sides!!  I just put glue on my own nail, completely covering it (but not too thick), & then I immediately slide the nail on, wedging it right down to the base of my nail.  Hold the nail down for at least 5 seconds (I hold it for more like 15 seconds), pressing on each side & the middle, to ensure that it’s nicely “stuck.”  Continue doing this for each nail. 
  3. Once all your fake nails are on, do a light file on them.  This will make them feel more “real,” & makes them less sharp & pointy.  Also, if the nails are too long, I file mine down to a medium length.  I also file the backsides of the nail so that they feel softer.  If the nails are WAY too long (i.e. like Khloe Kardashian nails), you can even take nail clippers to make them shorter, which will speed the filing process. 
  4. Try NOT to wash your hands for at least one hour after you put them on.  I find that this also helps them last longer. 
  5. And that’s it!  This process should take you no longer than an hour.

GWTW Tip: The shorter the fake nails, the longer they will last!!!


How to Do Your Own Nails at Home

Here are three reasons why I love doing my own nails: 1) I don’t have to inhale all those chemicals in the nail salon; 2) If one nail breaks (which is typical), I can spend 10 minutes fixing it myself ~ vs. having to go to the salon for an entire new manicure; & 3) I NEVER get hang nails with fake nails on!!!  EVER.  This is probably the #1 reason why I love fake nails ~ because it saves me the grief of dealing with annoying hang nails & such. 

Soooo….happy D-I-Y quarantine beauty time!! ; )

xoxo Noelia 

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