• Rebekah Gamble

How To Do Acrylic Nails At Home For Cheap

Getting your nails done can be expensive. Why give your hard earned cash to someone else when you can learn to do nails yourself. Here are 13 things I considered and learned as I started doing my own nails. *All product opinions are mine, this post does NOT contain affiliate links*

Since Coronavirus body slammed the world in 2020 my life has been a little different. For starters, I stopped paying others to do services I could do myself.

I am a lover of delicate things and being pampered when I get my nails done means a lot to me. It's self care made easy. All of my stress from the day is given a hiatus as I focus on my hands for an hour.

I stay positive even if the technician skips my cuticles and forgets to put on lotion.

And then as i'm drying my nails, I notice that 3 busses have passed the shop. At that point I focus on how long I'll be standing outside until the next one comes.

That part is always disappointing.

When NYC became a ghost town due to quarantine I was left with chipped polish and outgrown acrylic. Suddenly I had an idea and I turned my room into a DIY nail salon.

Here's a quick guide to starting your own DIY acrylic nail journey, and a few things you should consider along the way.

Related Post: Spend Money and Invest in Yourself

Watch YOUTUBE videos

Always start with Youtube.

I found LongHairPrettyNails and she tries everything. She influenced me to buy my first Poly gel set.

I bought this kit and while the product only stayed on my nails for about a week, it's good for beginners.

It is easier to manipulate than acrylic and allows you to get used to the process involved in nail application.

The cool part about this set is that it comes with

  • Nails

  • A Brush

  • Different color poly gels

  • Top coat

  • Base coat

  • File

Every part of this kit i’ve managed to incorporate with my acrylic nail journey. It saved me money and led me to discover the next tip

Don’t buy everything you see in the videos

I practice on myself. Don't get fooled by the overpriced plastic hands that self proclaimed gurus use for practicing.

But if you are interested in buying a figure take your time, and find a decent sale. Amazon has a few good, inexpensive, budget friendly, options.

Avoid fancy add ons

At the beginner stage you do not need

  • rhinestones,

  • glitter,

  • colored acrylic powders

  • stickers

The 30 minutes you spend applying tin foil can be used to perfect buffing your nail.

Be realistic

Financially, I was in a comfortable place. I had money in my savings, my house did not lack food and I was able to spend money on myself. If this isn't you right now, it's okay, no need to spend spend a large chunk of money. Target sells a small start up acrylic set for under $10.

As you happily begin to put things in your cart, you want to avoid spending money before it's accounted for. 

Related post: 15 Creative Ways To Save Money While Broke

Find the best deals for your budget

A lot of these smaller kits are great because they come with everything you need. Youtube is a great place to find recommendations.

The 3 p’s - Patience, Practice and Perfection.

Remind yourself that you can do this.

If you stick to nails, hair, waxing, etc. you'll continue to get better at it.

Just think, one day you could be doing someone else's nails and that money can become a second source of income. If you're unemployed it could become your first income- picture that a hobby made you self-employed. 

Let go of perfection and work on practicing.

Switch methods when something doesn't work

After the Poly gel kit, I bought the Vafee Professional Clear Acrylic Powder 4 oz with acrylic liquid 5 oz acrylic and monomer set. Months later I'm still using it and it works great. It came with

Acrylic Set I did on myself
  • a cup

  • nail forms

  • acrylic powder

  • monomer liquid

The description mentions a brush but mine but did not include it. I used the brush from my first kit.

Have patience with yourself

The first 4 sets of nails I did either popped off after a day, or the polish had to be explained.

“Oh yeah, the brush slipped”

“It didn’t look like that earlier”

All things said to soothe your ego and not scare off potential clients. Always remember some people can naturally sing but no one was born doing nails.

Decide what's worth buying

Choose Gel or Regular Polish

Ask yourself can you dedicate time to drying your polish. I chose the option with the fastest drying time and purchased this Gel Polish Set from Amazon.

$16.99 Gel Polish set with a 30% off coupon code

If you can potentially do your nails once or twice a week as the polish chips, then regular polish is the way to go. You can easily pick up a bottle for $2 at the 99 Cent Store and stay within your budget.

Pick nude/ light/earthy colors

Neon green may be your favorite color but you might get tired of it. Keep in mind we're saving money in the long run not trying to start a collection.

Decide if you need a LED Lamp

My LED/UV lamp, was the most expensive purchase but it was worth it. When picking my lamp I also thought long term.

As I get better I can potentially charge to do nails. I'll need a lamp for clients who are not in favor of regular nail polish.

Set Goals

It can be discouraging to hear feedback or think you aren't improving fast enough. When I found out my nail technician was available again I was SUPER tempted to book an appointment.

Instead I created a goal.

My birthday is in January and I want to advance to where I can do my own long, flashy, blinged out acrylic set. I want them to look so outrageously gorgeous that it prompts people ask me where I got them done at.

Remember why you're doing this

I do this for me.

It felt weird, unusual, foreign, and even strange spending money on myself after so long. But the guilt faded and I have zero regrets. These tools will last me and I saved at least $60 a month doing my own nails.

Invest in yourself. And make sure to like, comment, and share this post! If you join the mailing list you can keep up with the latest on how to get your mind and wallet in order.


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Blissful Wallet by Rebekah Gamble 2020-2021

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