Key Takeaways:

  • Yes, you can add rhinestones to gel nails for an extra sparkle and personalized nail art.
  • The process involves using gel adhesive or nail glue to secure the stones and a top coat to seal them in.
  • Proper nail prep and tools ensure the rhinestones stick to your nails and last longer.

Gel nails have revolutionized the world of manicures, offering a durable and glossy finish that lasts for weeks. But for those looking to add a bit of pizzazz to their polished look, the question arises: can you put rhinestones on gel nails? The answer is a resounding yes! Rhinestone nails are not only possible, but they're also a fabulous way to add some extra sparkle and personality to your manicure. Let's dive into the glittery world of rhinestone gel nails and discover how to achieve that perfect bling.

Can you put rhinestones on gel nails

Prepping Your Nails for Rhinestones

Before you start bedazzling your nails with rhinestones, proper nail prep is crucial. Begin by cleaning your natural or artificial nails with a lint-free wipe soaked in alcohol to remove any oils or residue. If you're working with natural nails, lightly buff the nail plate to create a slightly rough surface for better adhesion. Push back your cuticles and apply a base coat to protect your natural nails.

Choosing the Right Rhinestones and Tools

When selecting rhinestones for your gel nails, consider the size, shape, and color that will best complement your desired look. You'll also need a few tools: a wax-tipped picking pen for easy handling of small stones, tweezers for larger stones, and a flat plate or small dish to keep your gems organized. Opt for high-quality rhinestones with a flat back and a slight curve to fit the natural curvature of your nails.

Can you put rhinestones on gel nails

Applying Rhinestones with Gel Adhesive

Gel adhesive is a popular choice for attaching rhinestones to gel nails. Apply a small amount of gem gel where you want your rhinestone to go, then use your picking pen or tweezers to place the stone onto the tacky layer. Be sure to apply the rhinestones before curing your gel polish under an LED lamp. This ensures that the stones cure into the gel for a secure hold.

Using Nail Glue for Extra Durability

Nail glue can offer extra durability for even the largest stones. Apply a small dot of quick-set glue or super glue to the back of the rhinestone or directly onto the nail. Then, carefully place the stone onto the glue. Be mindful not to use too much glue, which can spread beyond the rhinestone surface and create a messy look.

Sealing with a Top Coat

Once your rhinestones are in place, it's time to seal them with a top coat. Apply a nonwipe top coat around and over the rhinestones, careful not to disturb their placement. Avoid applying the top coat directly over extra large gems, which can dull their shine. Cure the top coat under a nail lamp to lock in the sparkle.

Can you put rhinestones on gel nails

Crafting the Perfect Base for Rhinestone Nails

Before you even think about adding that extra sparkle to your nails, creating the perfect base is crucial. Start by applying a base coat to your natural or artificial nails; this will ensure better adhesion of the gel polish. If you're working with natural nails, lightly buff the nail plate to remove any oils and use a lint-free wipe soaked in alcohol to cleanse the surface. This prep work helps the gel polish and, subsequently, the rhinestones to nails, ensuring a longer-lasting, dazzling effect.

Once your base coat is cured under an LED lamp, it's time to apply your color. Go for two coats of gel polish, curing after each application. Remember, the smoother and more even your polish, the better your rhinestones will stick. If you aim for a glittery polish look, now's the time to apply it. Ensure each layer is fully cured before applying rhinestones, as a tacky layer can interfere with the placement and adhesion of your gems.

The Art of Applying Rhinestones to Gel Nails

Now for the fun part—applying the rhinestones! Begin by dabbing a small amount of gel adhesive or gem gel onto a flat plate or a small dish. Using a wax-tipped picking pen or tweezers, pick up a rhinestone and lightly dip it into the adhesive. Carefully place the rhinestone onto the tacky layer of your gel polish, adjusting for the best placement. For extra large gems or even the largest stones, you might need to apply glue more liberally for secure attachment.

After you've applied the rhinestones, it's time to cure them under your nail lamp. A non-wipe top coat applied around the rhinestones (not over them, as this can dull their shine) will seal them. Cure the top coat under an LED lamp to ensure everything is set. The result? A set of rhinestone nails that not only sparkle with every light reflecting off their surface but also have the durability to withstand the rigors of daily life.

Can you put rhinestones on gel nails

The Role of the Nail Lamp

A nail lamp is essential in applying rhinestones to gel nails. After placing your rhinestones and applying the top coat, cure your nails under an LED lamp to harden the gel and ensure everything stays in place. The light from the lamp helps to solidify the adhesive coats and the gel top coat, providing a long-lasting hold for your rhinestone nails.

Maintaining Your Rhinestone Nails

To keep your rhinestone nails looking their best, avoid using your nails as tools and wear gloves when doing household chores. If a rhinestone does fall off, you can reapply it using the same method as before. Regular maintenance and gentle care will help your rhinestone nails maintain sparkle and adhesion.

When to Use Acrylic Gems

Acrylic gems can also be used for nail art, but they tend to be thicker and may not stick to your nails as well as rhinestones. If you choose to use acrylic gems, ensure you have a strong adhesive and consider using them on acrylic nails rather than natural nails for better stability.

The Fun of Mixing and Matching

Creating rhinestone nails is fun because you can mix and match different colors, sizes, and shapes to create unique designs. Experiment with glittery polish as a base, or add rhinestones to a French manicure for extra elegance. The possibilities are endless, and the results are always stunning.

Can you put rhinestones on gel nails

Removing Rhinestones Safely

When removing your rhinestone nails, do so carefully to avoid damaging your natural nails. Soak a lint-free wipe in acetone and wrap it around the nail, letting it sit for a few minutes. This will loosen the adhesive, allowing you to gently remove the rhinestones and gel polish without harsh scraping.


Adding rhinestones to gel nails is a fantastic way to elevate your manicure and express your style. With the right preparation, tools, and techniques, you can ensure that your rhinestone nails are as durable as dazzling. Remember to clean and prep your nails, choose the right adhesive, and use a nail lamp to cure the gel. With these tips, you'll be able to enjoy your sparkling gel nails for weeks to come.

FAQ Section

How long do rhinestones last on gel nails?

Rhinestones can last as long as your gel manicure, typically 2-3 weeks, with proper application and care. Using a strong adhesive and sealing with a top coat are key to longevity.

Can I put rhinestones on regular nail polish?

Yes, you can apply rhinestones to regular nail polish, but they may not adhere as well or last as long as they do on gel nails. It's best to apply them while the polish is still tacky and seal with a clear top coat.

Will rhinestones damage my natural nails?

Rhinestones themselves won't damage your natural nails, but improper removal can. Always soak your nails in acetone to loosen the adhesive and avoid forcefully prying off the rhinestones.