Salon Perfect Manicure at Home

Many of us have been guilty of admiring the perfectly manicured nails of the woman at the grocery store check out, or the flawless nails of the model on the cover of a favorite magazine. Spending the time, and money, to go to the salon to get a manicure may not be in the cards for you, but you deserve those pretty nails too! Discover ways to help get a salon perfect manicure in the comfort of your own home.

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You Will Need:

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  • First, you’ll want to cut/file your nails to the desired length and shape. If you’re not sure what shape suits your fingers, take a look at your cuticle area. The shape of your nails should resemble the shape of your cuticle area. But, if you prefer square or “squoval” (square with softer edges), that’s okay, too.

When filing, avoid any sawing motion. This will make your nails brittle and more likely to break or tear. Use light swipes across the tip until you’ve achieved a smooth edge.

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  • After you’re finished filing, place your finger tips in the bowl of warm water. Do this step one hand at a time. Allow your fingers to soak for 1-2 minutes. This starts the process of softening your cuticle area. Take your hand out and dry with the towel.
  • Apply the cuticle cream/oil and massage it in. If you don’t have cuticle cream or oil, use some lotion at your cuticle area.
  • Take your cuticle pusher and gently start pushing back your cuticles. If you come across a hang-nail or a torn cuticle, carefully cut it with your cuticle scissors. Clipping all your cuticles isn’t necessary.
  • Use the buffing file to smooth the surface of your nails.
  • Repeat this with the other hand.

It is very important to cleanse the nail surface. Take the cotton ball and dampen it with the polish remover. Wipe this over each nail very thoroughly. If there is any cream left on the nail, the polish will not be able to adhere properly.

Before you start this next step, make sure you allow at least 1-1 1/2 hours for your nails to completely dry. If you don’t have the time to devote to polishing them, leave them freshly buffed.

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  • Apply a base coat to each nail. This does a few things; it protects the nail from staining from the nail polish, smooths the nail surface and acts as a primer to allow for even coverage for the color.
  • Apply two thin coats of the nail polish color. Doing two thin coats will help to give an even finish, and minimize the chance of the polish getting clumpy. Try to avoid getting polish on your skin, but if you do, use a Q-tip dipped in polish remover to carefully wipe it away. Apply a thicker layer of top coat and make sure you swipe the brush across the tip of your nail. Doing this seals the edge and helps prevent the chance of chipping.

The polish should be dry to the touch but it will take a while until your nails are dry through all the coats of polish. To help speed this process along, allow each coat of polish about 1 minute of drying time before starting the next coat.

Once your polish is completely dry (1-1 1/2 hours) use some hand lotion to moisturize your skin, making sure to focus on the cuticle area. If your skin is particularly dry and prone to cracks, check out O’Keeffe’s Working Hands CreamLavanila Body Butter is also a great lotion to use for those with dry hands, or you can make your own natural coconut oil lotion.

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To help your manicure last as long as possible, apply a Top Coat every day, wear gloves when you clean and wash dishes (or have your husband/kids do them for you!), and use a moisturizing lotion every day, again focusing on the cuticle area. If you are doing this manicure for an event, wait until the night before so it will be fresh.

Looking for a vegan, non-toxic polish? Check out this post on Dark Natural Nail Polish for Fall

Photo credits CeceLynn Design



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Corinne is a part time hairstylist and a full time wife and mom from Pennsylvania. When she's not at work or chasing after her wild-child, she's busy tackling her latest craft or sewing project. She loves inspiring people to tap into their right-brain creativity. You can check out her girls' clothing at CeceLynn Design.