Thursday, March 27, 2014

Steps to the Perfect At Home Manicure

Confession: I paint my nails every two or three days. I get bored with a color pretty quickly, or see another one that I want to try. It’s my own little 20 minute ritual of “me time” that’s become an indulgence. As much as I love to get a salon manicure, I can’t really justify paying for it, since I’ll probably want to change it in a couple of days. So, I have perfected the at-home manicure. Follow the steps below for salon quality tips at your kitchen table.

You Will Need:

 The power players

Polish remover, Cuticle oil, hand cream, base coat, color (pictured is CoverGirl Stay Brilliant in Coral Silk), 
top coat, fast drops, buffer, cotton, nail brush, 
clean up brush, emery board, cuticle pusher, cuticle nippers, 

 The Steps to a Perfect Manicure:

  1. Remove old polish. I found this nifty and most effective way for removal a while back on Pinterest, and it’s my favorite way to get rid of everything cleanly with only one cotton ball. Check it out here.
  2. For a quick color change, skip the next two steps. But for a really indulgent and “salon day at home” manicure, I like to use a good hand scrub, like this Coconut Sugar Scrub. Massage into dry skin well, then add some water and continue to massage in. Rinse completely.
  3. I like to use a stiff nail brush to scrub under my nails for a few minutes and to soften up cuticles. Dry completely when you’re done and slather on some hand cream. 
  4. Now, file each nail to your desired length and shape in one direction. Going back and forth can cause your nails to tear or split later. Remember, shorter nails tend to chip less often and show tip wear later than longer nails.
  5. Take a buffing block and lightly buff back and forth over each nail to smooth out the ridges and allow polish to adhere better.
  6. Add cuticle oil to each nail and massage in. Push back cuticles with a cuticle pusher. Avoid using cuticle nippers unless you are trained in using them. Improper usage and clipping too close can lead to nasty infections. I may or may not have personal experience in this. Okay, I do. I’ve done this and had to deal with a red, painful finger that ended in a gross and painful hang nail. Trust me. Don’t clip your cuticles with these.
  7.  One of my approved uses for cuticle nippers is for skin around my nails. I’ll admit it. I’m a picker. And sometimes I get little bits of unsightly skin around my thumbs. I’ll carefully get rid of these. 
  8. Since you’ve moisturized and used cuticle oil, you’ll need to swipe over each nail with a little remover on either a cotton swab or one of your left over cotton pieces. If you go over the cuticle, it’s okay. You’ll moisturize as the last step. 
  9. Apply a thin coat of base coat to each nail.
  10. Apply color in a thin layer. Wait a minute or two and add a second thin coat of color.
  11. Finish up with a thin layer of top coat.
  12.  If you have any stray polish, go around the edges of each nail with a small paint brush or eyeliner brush dipped in remover. Make sure you reserve this brush for this purpose only.
  13. Add a drop of Zoya Fast Drops to each each nail and wait five minutes for it to dry. I’ve already gushed about how much I love this stuff. It’s a manicure essential for me.
  14. Moisturize again with your favorite hand cream (I love the scent of Camille Beckman Midnight Monarch that I got in a Birchbox).

Enjoy your beautiful, salon quality, at home manicure! You’ve just saved at least $15 plus tip! Hooray! 

A few more helpful tips: 

  • Instead of shaking your bottle, try rolling it between your hands. This will decrease the chance of air bubbles forming
  • If your polish tends to bubble, put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes before you begin
  • Paint in thin layers
  • Paint one stripe down the middle, then one on the left and one on the right. Don’t forget to cap the edge of the nail with a swipe of polish
  • Paint your dominant hand first (so if you’re right handed, paint your right hand first)


  1. Going to a parlor just to get manicure and pedicure after every other week seems like such a big hassle. I now know how to get a perfect manicure at home and the credit goes to this amazing post.

  2. Sometimes you need a manicure so bad but you're not in a mood to go parlour at all. Or spend money on that. This is some really useful stuff.

  3. It feels like a hassle to visit a parlour for the manicure. Your method of doing the manicure along with the pictures look easy and simple which I will surely try at home. Thanks for this help. Anyone looking for professional thesis help should get in touch with expert thesis writing service.