Everyone enjoys getting pampered here and there, and who doesn’t want nice looking nails? Manicures are a great way to relax and clean up your not-so-neat looking hands, but they can also be expensive. If you don’t feel like handing over that hard-earned 20 for someone to put polish on your nails, follow these steps to get that salon finish at home.
1. First, you want to remove all of your old polish. For this, use a cotton pad and nail polish remover. Although you can get acetone-free remover for a less harsh option, pure acetone is much quicker at getting everything off (and is what most salons typically use).
2. Next, you want to clean up your nails. You’ll need a pair of clippers, a nail file, a nail buffer, and a wooden cuticle pusher. After you clip your nails down to your desired length, file them to get rid of any harsh edges, and buff the tops to smooth and brighten them. When that’s all done, push back your cuticles so that they don’t interfere with the polish.
3. If your nail shape is to your liking, you can move on to the rest of your hands. Grab a sugar or sea salt-based exfoliator, and rub this into your hands and arms. This will get rid of any dead skin and nicely smooth away imperfections.
4. At this point, you can pick out your favorite lotion. Give your hands a mini massage to really work the lotion in and moisturize well. Hands can get dry and cracked easily, so it’s important not to skip out on this step.
5. Once you’ve moisturized, go back in with the nail polish remover. The lotion will leave a layer over your nails, preventing the polish from adhering correctly. Just do a quick swipe over each nail with a new cotton pad to get rid of any residue.
6. Now it’s time to paint! Pick out your favorite base coat, colored nail polish, and top coat. Go over your nails with the base coat to help the color stay put longer. Once this is on, apply two layers of the colored polish. The two coats prevent the paint from looking streaky and will instead leave an opaque color. Finally, add a layer of your top coat to help prevent cracks and chipping.
7. I don’t know about you, but I can never do a perfect manicure in one attempt. To clean up any imperfections, get out the acetone again, but this time either with a pointed cotton swab or a small detailer makeup brush. With these products, you can get rid of the unwanted polish on your fingers without ruining the rest of your nail.
8. Be sure to give yourself ample dry time. After exerting so much effort to get perfectly manicured nails, it’s worth being patient and letting your nails dry so you don’t smudge them and have to re-do the whole process. When they feel dry enough, add a drop of cuticle oil to your nail beds to keep them soft.
I know it seems like a lot of steps, but once you get the hang of it, you can give yourself a manicure at home in a matter of minutes. Be patient, pay attention to detail, and take time to keep your hands soft. You’ll be a pro before you know it!