My Gel Nails Aren't Shiny! Here’s How to Get Shiny Gel Nails!

So you’ve got your gorgeous new little black cocktail dress ready for a champagne bar night out with the girls and no matter what you do, your nails are just not cutting it on the shiny stakes!  You’re pretty sure you’ve followed all the correct steps - but instead of a beautiful reflective sheen, your nails are looking more like a muddy field! 


What do you do? ...In this article, we are going to take a look at the best and most brilliant tips to give your nails a gorgeous high gloss buffed finish to rival any nail salon! 


Let’s take a look at the short answer as to what to do if your gel nails aren’t shiny. 


My gel nails aren’t shiny. What do I do? If your nails are dull after a home manicure, make sure you follow the manufacturers curing time on your drying lamp and you have cured them correctly. Take care that no grit is left on your nail from filing or oil residue before your manicure and try a no wipe top coat for a high glossy shine.


Now we’ve looked at the short answer as to making sure your gel nails are winning in the gleam wars, let’s look first a few reasons why your nails look dull and some tips to make sure your gel manicure will be iridescent, beautiful and long-lasting.


What causes dull gel nails? 

Dull gels can be caused by a few different problems. Some of these problems can be remedied by following a few tips and making sure your nails are completely free from dust left after filing. Don’t forget to resist the temptation to touch your nails during the gel painting process as the oil from your fingers can cause your polish to have a dull, matte finish, instead of a beautiful high gloss gleam! 


Some of the most common issues causing dull nails are as follows: 


  • Issues with curing  If the gel is not cured for the entire recommended time, it can make your nails appear dull. Always follow the manufacturer’s suggested time. Remember that not all UV lamps run on the same wattage, with some gels requiring higher wattage than others. This can sometimes lead to the most common problem of your bulbs needing replacing. The bulbs in a UV lamp should be changed after a certain number of hours determined by the manufacturer. A good rule of thumb is twice a year. If you just want to replace the whole lamp, then check out our LED Lamp Gel starter kits to refresh your essential kit. Our LED lamps should last for 50,000 hours which means you should never have to worry about changing the bulbs.

  • File grit Don't forget that gel needs a dry, rough surface on which to stick. A coarse-grit file is needed with most gel polished, in order for the gel to properly adhere to your nail surface. If the surface is not entirely buffed, the gel will not lie smooth and when cured, it could cause your nails to appear dull.

  • Oil residue on the nail It's very tempting to touch the surface of the nail plate or gel with your finger after filing. This may happen if you’ve been used to applying acrylic finishes. However, Acrylic isn’t as sensitive to oil as the gel is, so wiping or feeling the surface of the nail is kind of ok if using acrylic. However, Gel polish doesn’t like any kind of oil residue or dust at all, so try to kick the habit of touching nail plates with your fingers. 

“If the gel is not cured for the entire recommended time, it
can make your nails appear dull”.

So now that we’ve seen some tips to help you create the perfect gel nail finish to ensure shiny and glossy nails, let’s take a look below at how a no wipe top coat can help you achieve an amazing shine on your gel manicure. 

Use a no wipe top coat 

So let’s take a look at how by using this clever product, you can make sure you have a super shiny finish after your home manicure. So what is a no wipe top coat? 


What is a no wipe top coat? 

When gel polish is applied to nails it needs to be cured using a special UV light or LED light. A ‘No wipe top coat’ is exactly what it appears. It’s a top coat for a gel nail polish, which is specially formulated so that it doesn’t need to be wiped with gel cleanser. It dries in the same way a normal gel top coat does, without the extra step of having to wipe off the sticky residue. It's a fabulously quick, easy and mess-free solution to dull nails! 


By using a no wipe top coat, you can save stacks of precious time on other applications ... you could be spending time having a leisurely bath or other relaxing prep while still getting an amazing sleek and beautifully shiny finish. 


A no wipe top coat is also necessary to give that extra gleam if you use chrome or mirror powders for your home manicure. Chrome and mirror nail powders are specially created for a mirror type shine. This effect wouldn’t be achieved if you used a standard top coat. 


Let’s look below at some of the other benefits of a no wipe top coat. 


  • Creates stunning mirror effect nails.
  • Time and money-saving 
  • Compatible with other gel systems
  • Helps to make your manicure last longer 
  • Protects your gel nail colour from fading 
  • Gives a beautiful high glossy shine 
  • Provides a much better finish for nail art 

How do I use a no wipe gel top coat?

Ok, so you know that a no wipe gel coat will be a super time saving and also a glossier alternative to other top coats, let’s take a look below at how to achieve a super shiny finish 


  • Apply a thin layer of Bluesky Basecoat evenly on your buffed and filed nails. Don’t forget to cap the free edge of the nail and cure for 30 seconds in our brilliantly designed LED lamp
  • Apply the first layer of your chosen Bluesky Gel Polish why not try our gorgeous best selling warm pinky toned Marsala, a gorgeous neutral tone, perfect for drinks after work or a perfect neutral foil for your casual weekend look!
  • To ensure you don’t get flooded cuticles, make sure you leave a small gap between gel polish colour and cuticle area.  Cap the free edge. Cure again, for 30 seconds in an LED lamp
  • If required, apply a second layer of BlueskyGel Polish ...and cure it.
  • Once all layers are cured, apply no wipe top coat
  • For a beautifully glossy and long-lasting shine. Make sure you leave Cap the free edge and cure for 30 seconds in an LED lamp 
  • Why not give your hard-working nails a treat and add some cuticle oil to keep them from drying out and retain the moisture.

And finally...

So there you have it. Lots of tips on how to get a super sheen on your gel nails! 


As one last little tip, if you are going for a festive or holiday glitter polish, you will need our Ultra Shine Top Coat


Don’t forget this product will only give a high gloss over glitter or shimmer gels and using it on standard gel colours can have the opposite effect - and dull the gel, so save it for your bling-y sparkly nail sessions!


Leave the product on for a few minutes before wiping off to let it cool down sufficiently. This will give you the best results.


“Don’t forget this product will only give a high gloss over glitter or shimmer gels and using it on standard gel colours, can have the opposite effect and dull the gel”.


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