Applying gel nails gives you the strength of acrylic nails with the appearance of natural nails. When applying gel nails, you don’t get the strong fumes that you get when acrylics are applied. The gel hardens under UV or Led light. Each layer has to harden under this light for two to three minutes or 90sec in LED lamps. This creates a chemical bond that connects the gel to your nail. STEP 1 Before an artificial tip can be applied, the natural nail bed has to be clean and dry.