There are a number of reasons to give yourself a home manicure. It could be you don’t have the time to visit your local nail spa. Or it could be that same nail spa charges an arm and a leg because of all the unicorn dust and rainbows they use in their mani. Or maybe, you had a bad experience in that same salon, and you just don’t want to go through the hassle of finding a new place to get your nails done.
Either way, going the DIY route when getting a manicure is something you should try at least once. Of course, it’s completely understandable if you get a bit nervous when giving yourself a manicure at home. This could be especially true if you’re trying out a new mani technique, like dip nail powder, or gel polish.
And that’s what we’re here for! In this article, we’re going to try our best to give you some tips to help make sure your first – and hopefully succeeding – home nail treatments go off without a hitch. Mind you, this article will cover the general prep work involved in getting a home manicure, and not necessarily how to perform a specific technique (like the previously mentioned dip nails or gel polish.)
Getting Started: Organization.
Before anything else, the first thing to do is to get organized. Find a comfortable spot in your home or apartment, and lay out everything you’ll need in front of you. Or at the very least, keep everything within reach. When attempting a DIY anything, there’s nothing more irritating than needing a piece of equipment and having to go look for it.
You may also want to place a terry cloth towel, or a wide sheet of paper on the area where you’ll be working to minimize the mess. Like, you don’t want to mess-up your dining table with the manicure of your choice (because, let’s face it: as far as work places go, very few areas in your home is better than your dining table!)
Besides prepping your work space you’ll also need the following items:
- Nail polish remover (if your nails happen to be polished, of course.)
- A pair of nail clippers.
- A couple of nail buffers in different grits.
- A nail brush.
- Cotton pads.
- A cuticle tool.
- A deep bowl with warm soapy water.
- Cuticle cream.
- Hand moisturizer
- A loofah pad or sponge.
Have all of these ready, plus an extra terry cloth towel to dry your hands. Once you’re all set, it’s time to get started!1. Remove any old manicure. This might seem like an obvious step but it’s still worth repeating. Simply put, you can’t put on a fresh manicure if the old one is still on! Remember to make sure every single bit of the old manicure is removed. If you happen to be rocking a dip nail manicure, congratulations! That's some glamorous nails right there! But we digress...you could always refer to a previous article on how take it off.
2. Cut (if necessary), file, and buff. Next is to get your nails into the shape you want. Cut your nails with a clipper, if you think they’re too long and file into the shape you want. Just be sure to file in one direction only, using one fluid motion. Filing in a back and forth motion can cause your nails to become jagged over time. As for the actual shape of your nails, you could go round, square, pointy, coffin; it’s really up to you. When you’re done, lightly buff your nails along the tops and sides to give them a matte look. This will make the manicure stick to your nails much better. Remember: don’t get too crazy with the buffing; you don’t want to thin out your nails! About 5 to 6 strokes per nail are enough.
3. Soak your hands. When you’re satisfied with the shape of your nails, you now move on to the most relaxing part of the process – the soak! Get that bowl of warm soapy water and soak your hands for about 3 minutes. What you’re doing here is you’re softening your cuticles in preparation for the next step (which we’ll get to shortly.) A couple of things to remember: make sure you use a bowl large enough to submerge your hands up to about the back. Also, to get the water soapy, use mild liquid soap or baby wash.
4. Work on your cuticles. With your hands – and by extension your cuticles – properly softened, it’s time to work on your cuticles. Get some cuticle cream and massage into your cuticles. You then get your cuticle tool and push your cuticles back gently. The jury is still out as to you whether or not you should cut your cutes. Nevertheless, we prefer pushing our cuticles, rather than cutting them.
An example of a cuticle tool. Check out how the flat end can be used as a scoop.
5. Exfoliate and wash. Coming into the home stretch, you now exfoliate! Using your loofah, mild soap and warm water, you wash and scrub your hands up to your forearms to get rid of any dead skin cells. With your nail brush, you also scrub under your nails. You could also use an exfoliating scrub, if you have some. After you’re done scrubbing, rinse, dry thoroughly and you’re done!