Whether you are trying to save money or going on a date, choosing to do your own manicure at home can have real satisfaction. Doing one’s own nails also has many psychological benefits. Even if you are devoted to DIY nails, a lot can go wrong. It is important to take precautions that will help you avoid the same unfortunate outcomes at home. Follow these steps to learn how to give your nails the look they deserve!
Step 1: Clean your nails with polish remover.
To get a great manicure at home, use nail polish remover like Sally Hansens. That means starting with a strong remover like quality brands without harsh chemicals. It quickly takes off all polish (even glitter) and has essential nutrients to help strengthen your nails and moisturize your cuticles. If you don’t have a good manicure, a cotton ball soaked in remover should be run over each nail to remove any hard surface residues. You might be thinking that soap and water aren’t necessary after you wash your hands, but according to the CDC, handwashing reduces your chances of getting a cold or flu by up to 40% and 61%.
Step 2: Clip, file, and buff.
Step 3: Push back your cuticles.
Prep cuticles with remover, like a cuticle oil or balm. Using a remover can also help strips dead, dry layers of skin and will soften the area. Then push back gently with a cuticle stick. We love Flowery Birchwood Manicure Sticks’ sleek updates on the basic orange stick, which are also best for cleaning up any polish residue on your nails. Never cut your cuticles. They provide a protective layer that helps keep nails healthy and easily clean.
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Step 4: Exfoliate your hands
Exfoliate your hands, wrists, and forearms with a scrub that eliminates dead skin cells and replenishes moisture. Next, use your orange stick to gently clean any grime from under your nails, and then wash your hands afterward. Finally, dry them thoroughly after washing them for a healthy moist environment for new skin cells to grow in.
Step 5: Moisturize your hands and cuticles
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Moisturize now to avoid smudging nearly-dry nail polish later. A luxe, light alternative to hand cream is Mario Badescu Rose Hips Nourishing Oil which manicurist Geraldine Holford used for Gigi Hadid’s showstopper. You can give yourself an easy mini hand massage without even going to a spa. Finish by swiping each nail with nail polish remover to remove residue.
Step 6: Apply a base coat
Apply a base coat to help hydrate and protect your nails, preventing chipping. Chill for a few before applying the second layer. You can browse our selection of nail polish shades and styles at Essie to find the perfect one for you!
Step 7: Apply your first coat of color
I’m going to give you a quick tip now: Apply one coat of your favorite color and make sure you get it all the way down to the cuticle. This will maximize how much nail polish covers at once, which makes the second coat easier as well! “Some people overdo their manicures and paint a more than needed amount on the nail,” nail polish mogul Thea Green says. “The key thing is to be able to just load enough polish on the brush for coverage in one coat.
Step 8: Apply your second coat of color
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After you have painted your nails for 2 minutes, make sure to apply a second coat of polish. You may need a third coat if it’s sheer or pastel shades. Just make sure your brush is really thin.
Step 9: Finish with a topcoat
A topcoat protects your manicure from chipping and adds shine to nails—don’t skip it, or you’ll negatively impact the lifespan of your paint job. There’s a caveat though: be cautious when putting on your topcoat. try applying a gloss nail polish like Zoya first, then use a flat topcoat like Zoya’s to add extra protection and shimmer.
Step 10: Clean up rough edges and let your nails dry
Tidy up any mistakes or wobbly edges by wrapping a piece of cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover around the end of your cuticle stick and tracing around your nails. If you have nail polish remover pads, try folding one into a triangle for a quick and convenient option. So, your nails will dry for a few more minutes—it’ll be worth it when you show off to everyone by revealing your DIY.