Gelly nail tips: everything you need to know

Curious about Gelly nail tips?

Wanna know what they’re all about?

Then this post is for you.

These soft gel tips are my new favorite nail extension method.

I tested them out and found that they are super quick and easy to do and look great!

I have had mine for about 2 weeks now and they are still going strong – no chipping or lifting at all.

If you are looking for a foolproof nail extension method that will give you beautiful, long-lasting results, then gelly nail tips are definitely worth trying.

But what are they exactly and why does everyone love them so much?

Let’s find out.

What are gelly nail tips?

bri luxenails gel press ons gelly tips

Gelly nail tips are clear soft gel nail tips that have been pre-made and come in a variety of sizes, lengths, and shapes.

They are basically hard fingernails made from gel that are designed to cover the whole nail, just like a press-on.

The only difference is that you use builder gel and a UV or an LED nail lamp to fix them to your nails rather than nail glue.

Soft gel nail tips

The name “soft gel” is a little bit confusing because Gelly nail tips are not soft like nail strips for example.

They are also not “tips” in the sense that you are supposed to apply them over the entire nail bed.

Gelly nail tips cover the whole of the nail from the cuticle to the free edge and also extend the overall length of your nails.

How do you do gelly nail tips?

Gelly nail tips are super easy to do! Mine took about half an hour to apply all in.

Here are the steps to follow for perfect gelly tip nails:

  • The first thing you’re going to want to do is to size up the gelly tips against your natural nails. Choose the closest fit for the widest part of each nail.
  • Next, nail prep. Push back and or remove cuticles
  • File the surface of the nail plate gently then remove any dust using a lint-free wipe soaked in rubbing alcohol.
  • Apply a nail dehydrator to remove oils and moisture from the nail
  • Use 1 coat of nail primer to help the gel to stick better
  • Using an e-file, gently remove the shine from the inside of the Gelly tip at the bottom. Basically, you want to file only the part that will sit against your natural nail. This helps the gelly nails to stick for longer.
  • Apply a thin layer of builder gel to your natural nail.
  • Cure for 30 seconds under a nail lamp.
  • Apply a thin layer of builder gel to the inside of the nail tip. Only cover the part that will come into contact with your natural nail.
  • Gently apply the tip to your nail starting at the bottom close to the cuticle and lay it down.
  • Press gently and hold for a few seconds to remove any air bubbles.
  • Hold the gelly tip in place and cure for 10 seconds.
  • Cure without holding the tip for another 30 seconds.
  • Once the nails are secured – remove the shine from them using a 180 grit handfile (you could also do this before you apply the tips if you prefer).
  • Apply 2 coats of gel polish, curing each one for 30-60 seconds.
  • Put on a gel top coat and cure for at least 60 seconds.

To be removed, your gelly nail extensions will need to be soaked off in acetone.

Are Gelly tips better than acrylic?

Gelly tips are more flexible and more natural looking than acrylics.

They are also more comfortable to wear.

However, they are not as strong or quite as durable as acrylics and so they may not be suitable for everyone.

If you like your nails very long, or you are really hard on your nails, acrylic may be a better choice for you.

Acrylic nails are like glass, they can break or chip if you bang them too hard.

Gelly nail tips, because of their flexibility, are less likely to snap or break if you accidentally catch them on something.

How long do gelly tip nails last?

You should be able to wear a full set of gelly nail tips for up to 3 weeks with no problem.

However, if your nails grow very quickly, you may find that they start to lift at the edges after just a week or two.

The trick to making them last is to make sure that the nails are properly prepped.

If all the layers of your cuticles aren’t fully pushed back it can cause lifting.

Another tip is to use a very thin layer of builder gel. If you use too much, it can get messy.

What’s the difference between gelly tips and regular tips?

Here are a few key differences between gelly tips and normal ones:

The main difference is that regular nail tips are made from (ABS) plastic and gelly tips are made from soft gel.

Gelly tips and regular ones are also applied differently.

You use builder gel for soft gel tips instead of glue which is much better for your nails.

A soft gel manicure can also be applied close to the cuticle (even under the proximal nail fold.

Whereas plastic tips should be placed 2mm away from the cuticle.

Plastic tips also tend to be flatter, while soft gel tips have curves designed to wrap the nail better.

This curvature can sometimes be a problem though and you may need to “fill it in” with more gel if the curves are too deep.

The final difference is that gelly tips need to be roughed up at the back on the inside to help them stick.

This is an extra job that you don’t have to do with plastic press-on type nails.

Can you paint gelly tips before applying?

gelly tips clairebrownartistry

Yes, you can paint your gelly tips before you put them on.

But bare in mind that the builder gel part can get a little messy.

I wouldn’t advise pre-painting unless you are confident that you can apply the nails without getting builder gel all over them.

You can use regular polish or gel polish to paint over your tips.

Don’t forget to buff out the shine first though for a longer-lasting manicure.

Can you cut gelly tips?

Most gelly tips come in different sizes so that you can find the perfect fit for your nails.

But if you need to, you can trim them down to size using a tip cutter.

You can also file them back into the desired shape if you want to.

Cutting and filing is not usually necessary though as most tips will already have the right shape and size.

If you do need to make any adjustments, just make sure that you don’t file too hard or you will weaken the tip and it may not stay on as well.

Final thoughts

Let’s have a quick recap of what we’ve learned.

Gelly nail tips are a newer type of soft gel nail extensions.

They are more flexible and natural looking than acrylic tips, but may not be as strong or durable.

You can apply them close to the cuticle and they need to be roughed up at the back on the inside to help them stick.

Gelly tips can last up to 3 weeks, depending on your nail’s growth rate, and you can paint them before or after applying.

I hope that this article has helped you to understand more about gelly nail tips and whether they are right for you.

Thanks for reading!


  • Phoebe Meadows

    Phoebe Meadows is a self-proclaimed nail addict, always on the lookout for the latest trends and techniques. When she's not creating stunning nail designs, you can find her researching the latest nail care products or experimenting with new techniques.