Whether you like gel, SNS, acrylics, or just a basic polish, a trip to the nail salon is definitely a splurge! While I love getting my nails done professionally, I usually do my own nails to avoid spending extra money (college budget, ya feel?!). With the right tools and a little practice, at home manicures are a great alternative when you’re looking to save some dollars (or in the case of another pandemic shut down… but let’s ignore that possibility)!
Step 1: trim & clean
A good manicure must start with a clean nails! I’ll admit, sometimes I get lazy with this part, but my nails always look so much better when I take the time to clean them up. I start by trimming, filing to shape, and then buffing to shine. Next, I use cuticle remover and a manicure stick to push back my cuticles, and they’re ready to go!
Step 2: base coat
Base coat is key for a lasting manicure! I have used several different brands for base coat, but my current favorite is OPI. I’ve actually been using OPI’s nail strengthener as a base coat because I feel like it’s healthier for my nails, and it works just as great as (if not better than) normal base coat.
Step 3: the polish!
I’m am constantly changing my nail color, and I often refer to my pinterest board for inspiration I tend to stick to pinks, reds, and nudes, I but am willing to try just about anything! As I mentioned, OPI is my #1 favorite nail polish brand, but I have also been loving Essie recently (in this pic, I’m using OPI “Pink-ing of you”). When your applying polish, start with a brush stroke in the middle of your nail and then carefully work your way to the sides, pushing down so that the brush reaches the edge of your nail. I try to apply a thin layer of polish and always go back over with a second coat. If you’ve never painted your own nails before, don’t expect it to look perfect! It definitely takes some practice, especially when you’re painting with your non-dominate hand. I was terrible at first, but it has gotten so much easier.
Step 4: top coat
No manicure is complete without a glossy finish! Although I love OPI, Seche Vite is my favorite for top coat. It’s nice and thick, has a glossy finish, and dries quickly. I’ve used it for as long as I can remember!
I also love to use quick drying drops — they actually do help your nails dry quicker! Wait about a minute after applying top coat before using the quick dry drops. Lastly, I use cuticle oil to moisturize.