Sure it’s fun to splurge on a professional manicure at the spa now and then, but you don’t have to overextend your budget just to keep those nails looking picture perfect.
Use this step-by-step guide to give yourself a professional-looking manicure at home:
1. Round up the essential tools. Get those nails looking smooth and clean with the right set of tools. You will need: nail polish remover, nail file, nail clippers, orange stick, cuticle clipper, cuticle oil, cotton balls and a nail brush. A nail strengthener can help your manicure last and prevent discoloration after you add color, and a top coat will seal in the color while adding another layer of protection. And, of course, you will need to pick out your favorite color of nail polish.
2. Buff and trim nails smooth. Remove old nail polish using a cotton ball and some nail polish remover, then buff down the top of the nail’s surface with a nail buffing tool. Clip your nails down to the size you like, making sure to hold the clippers at a slight angle to create a smooth, natural curve. Use the buffing tool again all over each nail to shape and smooth them to the desired shape and length.
3. Clean nails and hands with a nail brush. A nail brush can get rid of dead skin cells on your hands, fingers and around your nails. Gently buff your hands and clean the underside of them with a nail brush. Wash hands thoroughly after you’re done with this step and then pat dry.
4. Freshen up cuticles with an orange stick. Rub cuticle oil on the cuticles of each nail, then gently push back the cuticles using the pointed edge of the orange stick. Be as gentle as possible so that you don’t tear or rip your cuticles. Clean under the nails using the other side of the stick. If the cuticles have grown beyond the desired length, trim them down with a cuticle clipper. Massage more cuticle oil into the nails to moisturize and restore this delicate area.
5. Paint your nails. Apply a single coat of nail strengthener to each nail and let it dry. This will help to restore weak nails and can also make your manicure last longer. Apply a base coat, let it dry completely, and then apply one or two coats of your nail color. Let it dry completely — up to 20 minutes — before finishing with a top coat.
Book yourself a spa-at-home day so that you can work through all of these steps and maintain beautiful looking nails week after week.
Have more tips on giving yourself a manicure at home? Share them in the comments below.