At-home manicures can be a terrific alternative to the expensive nail salon services that often only last a handful of days, no pun intended! But in order to give yourself a thorough, long-lasting manicure at home, you’ll want to follow a few key treatments to get the maximum number of days out of it.
Even though I love getting my nails professionally done (who doesn’t love some pampering?), I do my nails at home on a weekly basis. Buy a few new nail polishes and these home manicure supplies, and you can do them yourself late at night when you’re reading in bed or watching something on the iPad.
It’s easy and saves me money and time. Just make sure to allow 45 minutes or so before falling asleep to avoid smudge disasters!
Our favorite at-home manicure supplies
We’ve put together a little step by step guide on the ultimate salon-worth at-home manicure. Be sure you set aside plenty of time for the manicure itself and for the drying time after, and you just might be surprised how great your manicure looks.
Step 1: Remove old nail polish thoroughly
Using natural polish remover and cotton balls, be sure to remove all signs of your previous color choice. Sometimes it takes a few passes to get a bright color, such as red, removed thoroughly from your skin and nails.
No remover? Don’t fret, try one of these at-home nail polish remover ideas.
Nail polish removers:
Karma Organic Natural Nail Polish Remover Unscented is non-toxic, scent-free, and it strengthens your nails, too.
The Cutex Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover is a non-acetone miracle, and it’s also affordable.
Step 2: Soak
In a shallow dish, combine raw honey and olive oil in warm water. The honey has antibacterial properties and will cleanse and soften your nails while retaining moisture, which is great for dry nail beds.
Olive oil will also add moisture and shine to dry nails and cuticles. Soak them in the solution for about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Clean
Using a brush or nail file, remove debris and dirt from beneath your nails. If your nails are yellow or discolored, make a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Massage your nail beds with the mixture, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then rinse it off.
The luxurious BYREDO Rose Hand Scrub is basically a spa for your hands.
Or treat yourself to a Hemp Hard-Working Hand Scrub from The Body Shop, and enjoy the feeling of soft, moisturized skin.
Step 4: Massage
It may feel a little strange to give yourself a massage, but don’t skip this step! Your skin will benefit from the hydration, not to mention we hold a lot of tension in our hands and fingers. This whipped shea butter is a perfect choice to use during a hand massage.
The Body Shop Almond Hand & Nail Butter is the 2-in-1 hand moisturizer of our dreams.
Philosophy’s Hands of Hope Hand and Cuticle Cream is non-greasy, easily absorbed, and perfect for super dry skin.
Step 5: Cuticle treatment
To soften cuticles, add 1 drop of lavender essential oil to 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Gently massage the mixture into your cuticles, and then use a cotton-tipped swab to push your cuticles back so they won’t get in the way when you polish.
You’ll love the scent and feel of the Cuccio Natural Milk and Honey Cuticle Revitalizing Oil on your hands.
Strengthen your nails and cuticles with a precise application of Bliss Kiss Simply Pure Cuticle & Nail Oil Pen. Or make the DIY version of cuticle oil pens with our favorite nail-strengthening essential oils.
Tweezerman Pushy Cuticle Pusher is ideal for at-home use, but it’s actually salon-grade quality.
Or you can push, cut, and trim your cuticles with a super-affordable stainless steel cuticle pusher cutter trimmer set.
The Tweezerman Grip & Snip Spiral Spring Cuticle Nippers tool is both good looking and comfortable to use.
Step 6: File
Using a nail file, shape your nails into your desired length and shape, making sure they are all even.
The OPI Crystal Nail File is reusable, sanitizable, and travel-friendly, not to mention long lasting. A crystal nail file is the best thing you could ever buy. I’ve had mine for years, and I can’t tell you enough how much I love it.
Alternatively, the Tweezerman Neon Hot Nail Files come in a set of three, and they can file both natural and acrylic nails.
The Revlon 2-in-1 Nail Clipper and the basic Revlon Nail Clipper are both excellent, long-lasting options for an at-home mani.
If you’re going to a no-polish manicure, The Body Shop Nail Polishing Block lets you buff and polish your nails to perfection for a salon-worthy finish.
Step 7: Polish
Now you’re ready for nail polish. Are you a neutral girl that sticks to pale pinks and nudes, or do you change your nail shades with the season?
Most nail polishes should be applied in two even coats. And don’t forget an additional clear top coat because it can lengthen the staying power of your nail polish and help speed up the drying time.
The Karma Organic 2 in 1 Base Coat and ella+mila Ridge-Filler Base Coat both make perfect base coats for at-home use.
Essie is our all-time favorite, particularly the Baby’s Breath and Luxedo shades. Beginning in 2021, Essie polish became vegan and 8-free! You can find more non-toxic nail polish options here.
Our favorite top coat options include Mineral Fusion and Karma Organic.
You’ll love the OPI Nail Polish Remover Pen and the Nails.inc SOS Nourishing Corrector Pen for those last-minute touch-ups.
Step 8: Plenty of drying time!
One of the reasons at-home manicures are difficult is that we rush through them without allowing our nails to thoroughly dry. That ultimately leads to dings or smudges. Give yourself a good 15 minutes (or longer!) to make sure everything is completely dry before you jump to the next thing on your to-do list.39
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