You can get the salon look with a manicure at home. Here are the best tips for painting your nails.
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Ever since this quarantine started, I’ve been attempting to perfect my at home manicure. Man, I really miss having a set of shiny gel nails.
But, in the meantime, I’m trying to focus on the good.
- Not going to the salon saves me money.
- Painting my nails at home gives me time to do some self-care. PS: painting your nails at home is a great time to do a face mask. Double-win!
- I don’t have to change out of my pajamas or even brush my hair to do my own nails.
- Plus, now I have some awesome tips to share with you.
Still Social Distancing? Try this fun at home project and create you own Reverse Tie-Dye Tee.
Best Tips for a Lasting Manicure at Home
1). Clean Your Nails Properly
You know how when you go to the salon, they use acetone on a cotton ball to clean your nails before applying gel or acrylic? Well, the same step is vitally important when you paint your own nails.
I recommend using an acetone nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad. This helps remove any natural oils as well as dirt, etc. that might be on your nails.
Be sure to wash your hands and nails with soap and water afterwards. This will ensure the base coat and nail polish bond to your nails better.
2). Buff, File, and Clean up Cuticles
These steps are easy to ignore because they are time consuming and technically, you can get a decent looking manicure at home without doing it. But, if you want a more professional looking manicure, I recommend you take the extra five or ten minutes to prep properly.
Buffing your nails will help the nail polish adhere to your nails better. It also helps to reduce the texture of your nails. This 12-piece set includes both your buyer blocks and nail files and is only $11.
If you have cuticles that are growing over the base of your nail, use a cuticle pusher or even your fingernail to gently push them back. Then use a pair of clippers to carefully remove the skin.
3). Do NOT Skip the Base Coat
It only took me my whole life to realize that a base coat is absolutely necessary when painting your nails at home. Even if you aren’t using a gel polish that requires a UV lamp, you need to be using a base coat. This one from O.P.I is my favorite.
A base coat does multiple things to help protect your nails and to make your nail polish last longer.
To start, a base coat protects your nails from the damage of nail polish. Many of them contain Vitamin E, calcium, or other nail strengthening ingredients. This will help prevent breakage or weak and brittle nails.
It also protects your nails from staining. Many darker nail polishes or those with blue or purple tones can leave your nails stained.
And lastly, a base coat will help the nail polish adhere to your nails better. This means less chipping and a longer lasting manicure.
You only need to use one layer of base coat. And if you have a lot of ridges in your nails, opt for a thicker, ridge filling base coat like this one.
4). Allow Each Layer To Dry Completely
I know how tempting it can be to rush through each layer of polish. But, doing so doesn’t allow all of the solvents in the polish to evaporate completely.
Not allowing enough time for your layers of polish to dry can cause your polish to peel off, dent, or smudge.
The best trick is do very thin coats. This way they will dry quicker and you don’t have to wait around. Most polishes only require 2 coats of polish, but some darker colors may require 3-4.
I didn’t know this until recently, but quick dry polishes are damaging to your nails due to a higher volume of solvent. But, if you still want to use them (like me) be sure not to skip your base coat.
5). Use and Reapply Top Coat
Much like the base coat, you don’t want to skip the top coat. The top coat helps protect your polish from chipping, and it gives it a beautiful high-shine effect.
To keep your manicure lasting longer, reapply a layer of top coat every 2-3 days after the initial polish.
Bonus Tips for a Professional Manicure at Home
- Avoid hot water. Hot water causes your nail polish to lift from your nail. When possible, wear a pair of gloves while washing dishes and turn the heat down a little in your shower for a longer lasting manicure.
- Dip Nails in Ice Water. Shortly after painting your nails, dip them in a bowl of ice water for a minute or two. You can also use the cool setting on your blowdryer. Nail polish dries quickest and bonds best in cool conditions.
- For a Gel Manicure Without a Light, get Essie. If you are willing to splurge just a little bit, you can get a gel manicure at home for a fraction of the price. And, you don’t even need a UV lamp. Essie Gel Couture looks and feels like a gel manicure from the salon. It’s an easy two-step (polish and top coat) process and they have tons of colors to choose from.