I’ll let you in on a secret, I’ve been doing my own manicures for over 20 years, usually on a Friday or Sunday night while I am working or watching TV. I find it quite satisfying doing my nails myself and there are some great nail products on the market to give you a salon-finish look.
I also don’t have the time to sit in a salon for ages and from what friends have told me, and from what I have read, I wouldn’t step foot in a shopping centre nail salon anyway. There have been too many customers who have received bacterial and fungal infections from shopping strip salons, which is not surprising, as the beauty industry is very underregulated.
How do I do my own manicures?
Step 1. Remove any previously applied nail polish.
When you are at the chemist and wondering which type of polish remover to buy, keep this in mind: Non-acetone nail polish removers are gentler than acetone-based ones BUT the acetone-based remover will work far faster and be in contact with the skin for a shorter period of time than the non-acetone based removers. It’s a trade-off because even the gentler non-acetone based polish removers are still not kind to skin.
Personally, I like the Sally Hanson range of nail polish removers, especially the Sally Hansen Strengthening Nail Polish Remover. They don’t dry out my nails like other brands I’ve used previously.
Step 2: Shape nails.
Clip your nails, if necessary, then gently file them into shape. A slightly rounded nail shape or square-rounded edge is generally the best way to go.
Use a gently abrasive emery board or crystal nail file instead of a metal file for minimal nail splitting. Smooth the tops and sides of the nails with a slightly abrasive buffer to ensure an even surface, but don’t forget, if you buff the nails too smooth, the polish won’t adhere as well and can literally slip right off. We like OPI Pro File Edge 220/280 Grit nail file.
Step 4: Sort out your cuticles
Using a cotton bud, gently push the cuticle back away from the nail, but don’t push it too far because it can damage nail growth or fray the cuticle.
Be careful NOT to pull, lift, tear, rip, force, or cut into the cuticle in any way. Do NOT clip into the cuticle; merely nip off the free edge with a pair of metal cuticle nippers. It’s better to underdo this step than to overdo it because the cuticle helps protect the nail bed from all sorts of problems, like infections.
Now’s also the time to also remove hangnails around the sides of the nail, but again, be careful not to cut into the nail itself or to cut into the skin too deeply.
Step 5: Moisturise.
Massage a rich cream or silky oil into the cuticles and all over the hands to hydrate and replenish skin. Try Lanolips Rose Balm Everyday for Dry Hands cream over hands and nails.
Step 6: Prep for polish.
Moisturising ingredients left on the nail will prevent the polish from adhering properly. Using a cotton swab or pad, apply a small amount of nail polish remover over the nail’s surface to remove any residue. Although it helps to avoid getting remover on the cuticle because you want to keep that area moisturised, don’t worry if you do because you’re going to apply moisturiser on your nails again once the polish is dry. The most important part of this step is to be sure the nail has absolutely nothing oily left on it.
Step 7: Paint nails in layers.
If you have weak or brittle nails, use a base coat of ridge-filling nail polish to shore up the nail. A base coat also protects nails from staining (especially important if you prefer red nail polish) and prevents chipping.
Next, apply your colour polish in thin layers, allowing each layer to dry between coats. Two coats of colour polish followed by a top coat to add gloss should do the trick.
If you’re new at painting nails, use a lighter shade of polish; any mistakes will be less noticeable!
I tend to stick with a few brands of nail polishes including OPI, Sally Hansen, Mavala and Revlon The Sally Hansen range has a more professional look and lasts for at least a week. Mavala’s small bottles are perfect for precise application and the polish looks really good. OPI’s Infinite Shine and Revlon’s Gel range are probably the most long-wearing. Both of their range of colours is huge too! I love OPI’s Tickle My France-y and Somewhere Over the Rainbow Mountains. If you tend to smudge your nails easily or need a mani in a hurry, I highly recommend the Rimmel London 60-second Super Shine nail polish range. Dries quickly and it looks good too.
Tip: Take a few minutes to touch up your manicure every other day with a single layer of top coat.
Step 10: Reapply moisturiser!
Keeping your hands and the nail area healthy-looking requires moisturiser. You can’t have great nails and hands without this essential product.
With using the tips above and some practice, you can definitely give yourself a beautiful manicure. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting a professional manicure for special occasions or just to be pampered (if you go to a reputable salon), but knowing how to do it yourself can save you a lot of time and money!