There is something about a beautiful manicure that just looks and feels elegant, but the cost of salon manicures can really add up over the course of a year! If you want to save time and money on manicures, you’ll need our essential steps for a DIY manicure at home—for a fraction of the cost!
Step 1: Essential tools. Be sure to have the following in a tote you always have assembled and ready.
- Nail-polish remover and cotton swabs or pads
- Nail clippers
- Emery board and nail buffer
- Cuticle pusher and nippers
- Callous/cuticle remover
- Hand/nail moisturizer
- Base coat
- Nail polish
- Clear topcoat
Step 2: Remove any previously applied nail polish. To acetone or not to acetone, that is the question.
When you are at the drugstore and wondering which type of polish remover to buy, keep this in mind: Non-acetone nail polish removers are gentler than acetone-based ones BUT the acetone-based remover will work far faster and be in contact with the skin for a shorter period of time than the non-acetone based removers. It’s a trade-off because even the gentler non-acetone based polish removers are still not kind to skin.
Step 3: Shape nails. Clip your nails, if necessary, then gently file them into shape. A slightly rounded nail shape or square-rounded edge is generally the best way to go but you can be as creative as you want.
Avoid metal or extremely coarse nail files to minimize splintering. Instead, choose a gently abrasive emery board or crystal nail file. Smooth the tops and sides of the nails with a slightly abrasive buffer to ensure an even surface, but don’t forget, if you buff the nails too smooth, the polish won’t adhere as well and can literally slip right off.
We like the nail buffers from Revlon, Tweezerman, and Ulta’s store brand.
Step 4: Soak away. Ahh … the relaxing part. Place your hands in a bowl of warm (not too hot) water and add a bit of your gentle face cleanser or shampoo to the water. Soaking the cuticle before trimming is crucial, but over-soaking actually damages skin and nails, so limit this step to three minutes or less.
Step 5: Apply callous/cuticle remover. When cutting away the thickened skin around the nail, applying a bit of cuticle remover will be a big help! One of our all-time favorites is Be Natural Cuticle Eliminator. Despite the name, it’s powerful stuff, so don’t let it sit on the cuticle area for more than a few seconds.
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