Whether you visit the nail salon every three weeks or you’re the type who only wears polish for special occasions, now is a good time to learn how to give yourself a manicure at home. Tending to your nails and hands is a form of self-care — the process of cutting, filing and painting your nails may be calming, or even therapeutic, during this uncertain time. Polish isn’t a requirement, either, so if you’d rather keep your nails trimmed and bare, just skip the painting steps. Follow along below to give yourself a salon-worthy set of nails in the comfort of your own apartment.
Remove Old Polish
The first step for an at-home manicure is to remove any existing nail polish from your nails. You want to start off with clean, fresh nails. Use a nail polish remover with acetone in it for stubborn or dark-toned polish.
Clip Your Nails
Trim off excess growth with a nail clipper. You can skip this step if you’re happy with the length of your nails. Just be sure to clip away any hangnails or brittle ends that are about to break.
File Your Nails
Next, it’s time to file your nails. You have a few different options here. The most popular choices are square, round or oval-shaped nails. The shape you choose comes down to personal preference, but here’s a little advice: Round nails can make short, wide nails look slimmer, while square shapes tend to flatter thinner nail shapes. Use a nail file to achieve your desired shape. Keep them uniform for that true salon-worthy look you’re trying to achieve.
Buff Your Nails
Buffing your nails will help ensure that the polish will last longer than a few days. Use a gentle buffing block to smooth out your nails, remove bumps or ridges and add some shine. This step is crucial for setting up an ideal foundation for your at-home manicure. Don’t overdo it, though, or you’ll risk weakening your nails.
Soak Your Hands
Submerge your hands in a bowl of warm water with a few drops of oil (we prefer coconut). This soak softens your skin and cuticles to prepare your hands for the next step in the manicure process.
Care For Your Cuticles
Now is the time to tend to your cuticles. At nail salons, this step may involve removing the cuticle all together with a trimming tool. However, this may lead to infections or cuts on your skin. Instead, push your cuticles back with a homemade cuticle pusher using an orangewood stick and a moist piece of cotton on the end.
Paint Your Nails
And now, the best part: Painting your nails. Start with a base coat to keep your nails safe from polish stains. For your main color, apply it in three stokes: Start with a brushstroke down the middle, and then apply strokes on the left and right sides of your nail.
Finish With A Top Coat
Apply a top coat to keep your nails chip-free and polished for as long as possible.
Hydrate Your Hands
Finish your at-home manicure off with an indulgent hand massage. Once your polish is dry, choose your favorite lotion or hand cream, and lather it on generously while massaging your palms and fingertips. This does more than just feel good — it’ll rehydrate your hands, giving them that freshly-manicured look they always have right after leaving the salon.