6 Steps for a Perfect DIY Manicure

People really do notice your nails.
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6 Steps for the Perfect DIY Manicure

People really do notice your nails.

-Jenny Beres

woman doing her nails

It sucks, but I learned this the hard way. One afternoon, a friend of mine was running late for a wine date, so out of sheer boredom, I painted my nails in the car while I waited. She was really late, so I had some time to devote to making them look pretty good- I even got the smudges off my skin.

When we finally sat down at our table, and after the perfunctory kisses and hugs, I grabbed the menu- and she grabbed my hand.

“Oh my God,” she said as if I just slapped the guy next to us. “You got a manicure.”

I think it was here, that I turned as red as the Cab blend I was about to order. That’s when I realized, people notice what your nails look like. It says something about your all around put-togetherness. Your hands make as much of an impression as your face. So, it’s important to keep them polished and ready for the spotlight.

Regular manicures can be expensive: but they look so much better than slapping on some polish yourself, that is, unless you know what you’re doing.

With a bit of patience and a bit of practice, a salon quality manicure could be yours at home, for a fraction of the price and hassle. Here are essential step-by-step by tips to getting the perfect looking manicure at home. Once you perfect this, your nails may never go naked again!

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1. Clean ‘em up

The basic first step to any successful manicure is thoroughly washing your hands and nails. Make sure to get all the dirt from underneath the nail. A soft-bristled nail brush works best with warm soapy water. Make sure to dry your hands completely. Take off any existing nail polish with cotton balls and nail polish remover; make sure your nails are a normal, healthy color before beginning.

Cutex Quick and Gentle nail polish remover ($2.49, drugstore.com)

cutex nail polish remover

2. File and trim

With an emery board, file nails down to desired shape, shorter nails are easier to maintain. A squared off oval shape has a natural elegance to it. File nails evenly, and file each nail the same. If nails are fairly long, you may have to trim them before effectively filing for shape, with a pair of nail clippers. But be careful not to trim too short where the nail meets the skin. Ouch!

ASP crystal file ($3.99, sallybeauty.com)

crystal file

3. Cuticles

The next step is to soak your fingers in a gentle cuticle removing solution. Cuticle remover takes care of excess cuticle growth, without cutting (which increases the risk of infection.) Gently pat dry hands and push cuticles down of off the nail bed, very gingerly, with an orangewood stick.

Nutra Nail 30 Second Cuticle Remover ($3.00, drugstore.com)

nutra nail

4. Find a great base

A great base coat can be tailored to your individual needs. There’s so many out there. You can find a great nail strengthener, ridge filler or one that prevents chipping for example.

This is one that lives up to its promise to prevent chipping and peeling-

FingerPaints base coat ($3.49, amazon.com)


The fun part and clean up tips, next!

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