Translucent, vibrantly hued “jelly nails” have been an Insta-sensation lately, with celebrities and influencers alike rocking the look at red
carpet events, award shows and even holiday gatherings. The key to achieving this stained-glass effect lies underneath the polish: in a crystal clear tip. We’ve teamed up with nail experts to create a flawless base for jelly nails using two new and on-trend methods for clear extensions.
One Bottle Build
- Apply a form by aligning the centerline with each finger’s bone. Start with a generous amount of clear builder gel on your brush. Float the product starting on the bottom third of the nail, moving from sidewall to sidewall to create the free edge. Flash cure.
- Remove the form and apply a layer of clear builder gel to the body of the nail. Don’t cure. Build the nail structure, reinforce the sidewalls and then cure.
- Gently file the nail to refine the shape. Then, apply a layer of gel top coat over and underneath the nail and cure for a crystal clear finished look.
Crystal Clear Tips
- File the nail short to avoid seeing any natural nail free edge through the clear extension. Lightly buff and cleanse the nail, and then apply primer and bonder to the nail, careful to avoid the skin. Apply a thin layer of clear gel to the natural nail. Cure.
- Use a sanding band or cuticle bit with an e-file to file the underside of the tip one-third of the way up. With a fl at brush, pick up clear gel and apply it to the filed underside of the tip. Apply the nail at a 45-degree angle starting at the cuticle area. Push forward until the gel fills up to the natural nail. Press firmly on the nail and flash cure. Once all five tips are applied, cure.
- Trim the nails to any length and file to the desired shape. Use a cuticle bit to file around the cuticle area for a seamless edge. Wipe off the nail with acetone. Apply jelly color directly to the nails—no base coat necessary.
Tips and Tricks
“We’ve seen jelly nails rise in popularity, and Orly GelFX Builder in a Bottle is the perfect tool to achieve the look, thanks to its crystal-clear formula. Sculpt nails to the desired length and shape using a single bottle.” —Morgan Murayama, communications manager, Orly
“Make sure you have a very pigmented sheer color. Sounds counterintuitive, but you want to make sure the color is clearly there, yet at the same time translucent. If you don’t have jelly or glass colors and your client requests this look, you can mix a highly pigmented color like neon pink with clear gel—it works like a dream! You secretly have all the jelly colors already.” —Katie Masters, nail artist, Nail Thoughts, Los Angeles, CA
“When building an extension using products from a pod, slowly scoop your applicator brush into the bottom of the pod to the top to ensure no air bubbles get into your product and onto the nail extension.” —Carla Collier, NAILPRO head judge and salon owner, Tehachapi, CA
Recreate the Look With These Must-have-Products!
1. LUXA GEL COLOR Glass Pink
2. ORLY GelFX Builder in a Bottle
3. OPI Flex 100/180 File
4. KUPA ManiPro Passport Red + Cradle
5. APRÉS Gel-X Nail Extension System
– by Angelina Lewis
[Images: Courtesy of Armando Sanchez]