The Perfect At-Home Manicure

The Perfect At-Home Manicure

Photo by Kris Atomic on Unsplash

When you have an upcoming party or business meeting, the first thing that pops into your mind may be what to wear - outfit, accessories, shoes… but for a really polished look, don’t forget to do your nails. Nail salons have always been big in the U.S. but now more than ever, women and men are venturing into dedicated spaces to include everything from a natural manicure to a pedicure. Just about the only negative side to having a mani-pedi, is the price. The average manicure costs a little over $20, while a pedicure will set you back around $35. Clients who have regular mani-pedis go to a salon every two weeks on average, spending over $1,300 a year. The expense is fine if you can afford it, but if you are trying to save, why not learn to pamper yourself with a little ‘me time’, creating twinkling toes and perfectly manicured nails at home?

A Beautiful, Basic Manicure

If you don’t have a heat lamp or acrylic kit, opt for a traditional manicure. The key to a professional look is neatness. Start off by filing nails until you achieve the desired shape. Next, apply a cuticle oil or hand moisturiser and soak your nails in warm, soapy water until your cuticles are soft. Push them back gently with a wooden stick; refrain from cutting cuticles, which can cause bleeding and result in uneven cuticle growth, or even cause infection.

Wash and dry your nails to ensure any oil or soap is removed and dry. Next, apply a base coat, using a ridge filling polish if your nail surface is uneven. Wait for about three minutes then apply two coats of color, leaving a few minutes between each coat. Use a top coat for sheen, and afterwards, an instant drying nail oil, which will ensure you can go about your normal day without waiting for hours for your polish to dry.

DIY Acrylic Nails

Acrylic is a great solution for those who find it hard to grow our nails. To save on buying individual brushes and supplies, an acrylic nail set will do the trick. Don’t be reticent to try this technique yourself; it will take a bit of trial and error but you will be a pro in no time.

First, clean and prep your nails and cuticles as above. When dry, buff the entirety of the nail gently to eliminate erratic surfaces. Use a four-sided buffer to ensure the entire nail area (including cuticles) are smooth.

Adjust the tip of the acrylic nail to your own nail, touching its ‘marking point’ to the tip of your nail. The acrylic nail should cover around half your nail surface. If you are happy with the width, apply glue to the interior of the nail and hold it down firmly over your nail for around 15 seconds. Do this for all nails then trim the acrylic nail and file it to your desired shape. Use a primer pen to strengthen the bond to your natural nail.

Now it’s time to cover the nail in acrylic nail forms, which will stop you having to apply liquid acrylic directly onto your nail. Pour a small amount of monomer liquid into a tiny glass. Dip your brush into the solution then dab it into your acrylic powder. Apply this solution into your nail form and press it down onto your nail. It should take around two minutes for the nails to fully dry. Use a fine stick to clean out any excess liquid.

Once nails are dry, remove the nail forms, file the edges of your nails and apply polish. A typical acrylic nail set will cost in the region of $20, so imagine the big savings you can make by taking the time to do your nails at home.

Two Week Gel Nails

Semi-permanent gel nails tread the middle ground between acrylic and normal manicures. You will need a heat lamp and special gel polish, but the positive side is that your nails will stay perfect for at least eight days (manufacturers claim that the product stays put for up to 14 days but by this time your nails will have grown out). You will need a base coat, color, and top coat, and after each coat you will have to ‘cure’ nails in an affordable UV lamp for around 30 seconds. A typical set from top brands cost around $80, which is more than reasonable considering you can expect to pay around $45 for this type of manicure.

Having a manicure is something you should treat yourself to once in a while, but if savings are on your mind or you’d like to create your own nail looks, take the time to learn new nail art forms, which are becoming easier thanks to tools such as nail forms. Be patient with the results and document your progress online; you may just inspire others to create the perfect home manicure.

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1 comment

I usually get a gel manicure in Ombre and it ladts 6 to 8 weeks


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Hi I am Joanne Litz Cofounder of Steel Pony.
I graduated in Textile Design from, the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science. Worked in the "Industry" as a design director before starting Steel Pony. A company focused on slow sustainable fashion over 30 years ago
I love Creative Fashion, Art, and Energy Healing. My mission is to help women find their inner goddess and shine from the inside out.