Do it Yourself: The At-Home Manicure

As I’ve mentioned before, I give myself a manicure every week.  It’s a way for me to relax and take care of myself, plus I just love how a nice nail looks.  This post reveals my secrets to the perfect at-home mani.  Enjoy!


Remove any old nail polish.

Even if you don’t have leftover nail polish on your hands, it’s not a bad idea to swipe nail polish remover over your nails to remove excess oil or dirt.  Use cotton balls or pads–a tissue or Q-tips will absorb the remover without distributing it well, and you’ll end up wasting remover.


Moisturize hands.

Nail polish remover is not exactly gentle on your skin.  Make sure to apply moisturizer to replace the lost oil.  Here, I’m using Cucina hand lotion which I love because it soaks into the skin so completely without an oily residue.  Also, the borrowed softness will help you with the next step…


Push back cuticles.

Use a dowel to push back cuticle and rub off any excess cells on the bed of the nail.  The dowel I have here is a metal one by Revlon, but I have also used wooden dowels like this one by Tweezerman.


Trim nails.

I have very deep nail beds so my nails look long even if they’re filed way down (I know, woe is me).  I also happen to hate the feeling of long nails.  So I trim my nails down so that they’re a millimeter or two shorter than my fingertips.


File and shape nails.

I prefer a slightly rounded nail (though more square than what they’re showing in magazines these days).  I use a big two-sided file that has foam between the two sides (this one happens to display my favorite breed–hey, the money went toward dog rescues, don’t judge me).  If you have an uneven nail bed, you might want to also try buffing the surface of your nails.  Don’t overdo it as it can weaken the nail bed.


Wash hands.

You want to get any oil off your nail beds as it will prevent polish from sticking.  If you want to keep your hands moisturized still, you can wet a cotton ball and wipe just the nail bed down.


Apply one coat clear nail polish.

Clear nail polish applied before a colored nail polish prevents nails from yellowing.  Apply a single coat and let dry about 10 minutes.


Apply two coats colored nail polish.

All nail polish shades need at least two coats in order to be as bright/dark/pigmented as possible.   Leave at least 15 minutes in between each coat to prevent bumps from trapped air bubbles.


Apply final coat clear nail polish.

The clear layer on top will prevent the color from chipping and cracking.  Yes, you will end up with a total of four coats of polish.   This is why my paint jobs last a week without significant damage.  But, again, wait a good 15-20 minutes before you put that last coat on.  Trust me, I do this for…well, not a living, but I might as well, I mean, come on, a decade of experience?  That’s gotta count for something.  Enjoy your mani!

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