Manicures are such an addictive treat. And with all the latest nail art trends, they’re practically accessories these days. That’s one way to justify investing in a new one every week… but they certainly add up at $25+ a pop. So if spending less is on your resolution list this year, why not just polish your polishing skills? You really can get salon-style nails at home. Read on to learn how.
1. Gather the essentials. Buy a little basket and stock it with the following essentials. This is your new manicure kit! Soon you’ll be using it to do all your friends’ nails, too:
- Nail polish remover
- Cotton swabs
- Rubbing alcohol
- Emery board and nail buffer
- Nail clippers
- Hand/nail moisturizer
- Base coat
- Nail polish
- Clear topcoat
2. Remove your polish. Consider using a premium formula for this purpose. Look for one with a built-in cuticle and nail treatment to nourish your nails while cleaning them.
3. Trim and shape your nails. First use the clippers to create either a square or rounded shape. Then shape them with an emery board to refine the look.
4. Soak your fingertips. Fill a bowl with water that’s hot enough to stay warm for a few minutes. Add a bit of gentle hand soap and/or aromatherapy oil into it for a moisturizing effect. Sit with both hands in the bowl for five full minutes. This will clean your nails and help protect them from splitting once dry.
5. Moisturize. Choose a rich, silky cream (or even an oil) and lavish it all over your hands and cuticles to replenish your skin. Don’t skimp on the quality or quantity of your moisturizer—this is a splurge-worthy step.
6. Prep for polish. This is a little-known step that’s key for a lasting manicure. Using a cotton swab, clean your nails with rubbing alcohol. Steer clear of your cuticles though—you want them to stay moisturized, while removing any trace of oil from your nails.
7. Paint your nails. Apply a clear base coat first. Once it’s dry, apply a couple of coats of color polish. Be sure to let the first coat dry before applying the second. Once the second coat has dried, finish with a clear topcoat. You can apply a fresh topcoat every few days to restore shine to your nails, too.
8. Moisturize again. Your hands and nails will look better and feel better if you moisturize often—plus your manicure will last longer.
For more tips on perfecting your at-home manicure, read our guide.