Since I was in grade school, I have always polished my own nails at home. I would paint my nails two or three times a week, changing the color to match my outfit. My nails have always been naturally healthy, strong and fast growing.
After high school, I even attended “beauty school” (aka: cosmetology school), but alas, I was a beauty school dropout (cue the song from Grease!). However, even though I never became licensed, I did learn a lot, including how to properly do a manicure and pedicure. My life was complete. LOL
I’ve had “professional” manicures done in a salon several times, but have never had them done as well as I could do them at home.
Let me share my 40+ years of home manicure experience, along with my “professional” manicure tips I gleaned from cosmetology school, so you can DIY a professional manicure at home.
Below are the products I personally use, and the manicure steps I do, to get a professional looking manicure at home:
- Gather all necessary manicure supplies:
- Nail polish remover. I like Zoya Polish Remover
- Cotton rounds or cotton balls
- Nail file. A glass file is best, but a regular emory board also works, just make sure you only file in one direction, to avoid splitting the nail.
- Nail brush
- Orange stick. I use to push back cuticles and clean any mess around nails.
- Cuticle trimmer. Used to trim neaten things up (hangnails, excess skin, etc..)
- Sally Hansen Cuticle Remover Gel. Best cuticle remover EVER!
- Sally Hansen Advanced Hard As Nails Strengthener. I love this, and use it as a base coat, as it fills in any ridges in my nails and offers a good base for polish. My nails have never yellowed in my 40+ years using this base coat.
- Nail Polish of choice. These are a few of my favorite brands:
- Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
- Nail Oil. I use organic Jojoba Oil. I also bought some of these brush applicators for the oil to carry in my purse
- Silicone pad. Keeps your counter/table clean from any possible spills.
- Old wash cloth. I use to clean off orange stick used to clean edges of nails.
- Music or a Movie/TV Show to watch – to keep you occupied so you don’t wander off before your nails dry 😉
- Remove old nail polish. I use cotton rounds soaked with Zoya Polish Remover to remove old nail polish
- File nails to desired shape
- Apply cuticle remover gel, following directions on the bottle.
- Use the orange stick to gently push back the cuticles and remove any excess dead skin around the nail bed.
- Thoroughly washed your hands and really clean under the nails (I use a nail brush)
- Use the cuticle trimmer to only trim excess dead skin around the nail bed, if needed, and do not cut your actual cuticles!
- Apply one coat of Sally Hansen Advanced Hard As Nails Strengthener. Wait 2-3 minutes to dry.
- Apply 1-3 coats of the nail polish of your choice. I like a really opaque color with my polish, so I always apply at least two coats, sometimes 3. But if you like more sheer coverage, then apply just one coat.
- Do not flood the nail with a lot of polish. Use thinner coats of polish, trying to avoid getting polish on the skin around the nail. This helps keep things neat and helps the polish dry evenly.
- I use an orange sticks to clean off any polish messes on the skin, as I go; then I wipe that excess on the old wash cloth.
- Allow 3-5 minutes drying time between coats.
- Apply Seche Vite Dry Fast Top coat. Wait 3-5 minutes for it to dry enough for you to safely use your hands without smudging your polish. I usually always “baby” my fresh nails for at least an hour, but with Seche Vite they are dry sooner than that. (Old habits die hard, as back in the old days, we had to wait 2-3 hours for our nails to dry.)
- After your nails are completely dry, apply the organic jojoba oil to the skin around my nails, and gently massage onto the cuticle. This helps restore moisture to that area that would have been lost from the polish remover and cleansing before polishing.
- Enjoy your beautiful nails!
Make sure to share a pic of your manicure on Instagram & tag me @chronicbeautylife & use the #chronicbeautylife tag so I can see your beautiful nails.