Achieving the Perfect Manicure at Home
Learning how to give yourself an at home manicure is not only an act of self care, but it can make your wallet happy and save you valuable time. Here’s a beginner-proof guide to walk you through how to achieve an amazing manicure at home. Now ready, set, paint!
1. Trim, Buff, & Shape
First things first. You’ll need to trim your nails and file them to your desired shape, whether it be oval, square, or almond. If you’re unsure what to go for, mirror the curve of your nail bed to achieve a natural look. While shaping, pay attention to shape uniformity to ensure consistency across all ten digits.
Next, gently use a buffer across the surface of your nails to smooth out any pronounced ridges and create a flat base for the polish. If your ridges are extra steep, you may want to consider applying a nail ridge filler or repair base. If so, wait until it dries completely before proceeding to the next step.
2. Spruce Up Your Cuticles
It’s time to give those cuticles some love. Cuticles are the thin pieces of skin that grow at the base of the nail. Left unattended, cuticles can grow up the nail, shortening the nail plate, and can become dry or cracked. Ensure that your cuticles remain moisturized by using a hand moisturizer or a specialized cuticle oil. If you’re in a pinch, olive oil and coconut oil will do the trick.
After your cuticles are hydrated, gently push them back to reveal more nail plate surface area. This will also help you avoid accidentally painting them in the next few steps. Note that it’s recommended that you avoid cutting your cuticles since it’s not necessary and can lead to irritation or infection.
3. Keeping It Tidy (Optional)
If you have trouble painting inside the lines, you have a few options. Some people claim that putting a thin layer of liquid craft glue on the skin surrounding the nails provides a protective barrier, so if nail polish does bleed over it can simply be peeled off. There are also latex peel off skin guards created just for this purpose. Whatever you choose, wait until the skin guard dries completely and then proceed with applying the polish.
4. Base Coat
Apply a clear base coat to further fill in your nail ridges and create a smooth base for the rest of the coats. Ensure that the moisturizer or cuticle oil you applied earlier is completely dry and removed from the nail plate since that would impact the adhesiveness of the polish. Apply a thin layer of clear base coat and wait until it dries completely before proceeding. If you’re impatient like me, you can use nail drying spray or drops to speed up the process.
5. Coloured and Top Coats
Now that your base has been carefully painted and dried, you can now apply two coloured coats, allowing time for each to dry completely. When applying the polish, make sure you use vertical strokes in the same direction, slowly applying from from the base of the nail to the top. For those who are still worried about inaccuracy, you might want to consider using a sheer or light coloured nail polish, such as light pink, so mistakes are less apparent. Once your two coats of colour have been applied, seal it off with a clear top coat to add an extra layer of shine.
Mistakes are inevitable, so don’t sweat it. Carefully remove your skin guards and use a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover to clear away any extra polish on the skin. An even more precise option is to use a clean eyeliner makeup brush.
7. Extra Touches
You’ve gotten this far, so why not take your manicure to the next level? You can use painter’s tape to create negative space patterns on the nails or apply a small and simple dot to create a minimalistic design. If you’re going for a super bright nail colour, applying a white base first will help make the colour pop even more. Even applying gemstones is achievable for beginners: simply use nail glue and tweezers, then apply a top coat once dry.
The process may seem intimidating, but taking it step by step makes it totally achievable, and not to mention rewarding! And when in doubt, we must admit that there are always press ons...