7e5573eb07d50c77ad25 painting nails like a pro

Most salon manicures cost around $20 and up. If you get your nails done every two weeks, that equates to around $40 a month and $480 a year. Salon visits add up quickly, and though they may be an easy way to de-stress a couple of times a month, they’re not necessary to keep your tips in check. Read on to learn how to achieve a salon-quality manicure at home.

Set yourself up for success

As tempting as it may be to start painting as you binge-watch your favorite show on Netflix, give yourself a proper workspace. Lay down an old towel or paper towels on a flat surface, then grab your necessities: cotton, an orangewood stick, a nail file, a buffer, a nail clipper,  base coat, top coat, color, a cuticle pusher and acetone.

Don’t skip the soak

Your skin and nails need to be softened before you start shaping and maintaining your cuticles. Fill a small bowl with warm water and a couple slices of lemon or a few drops of essential oil to mimic a salon soak. Allow nails to sit in the water for five minutes before starting your mani.

Use caution with your cuticles

Some techniques are best left up to the professionals, namely, cuticle nipping. To keep your cuticles in check without breaking out the nipper, soak your nails, then use a stainless steel cuticle pusher to gently scrape the dead skin off the nail. Repeat this process a couple of times to get the nail plate ready for polish. Do not cut your cuticles as doing so can leave you prone to infection.

File in one direction

To help your nails maintain their strength, always file in one direction when shaping. This will prevent nails from breaking down the line.

Work in thin, even coats

Whether you’re applying base coat, top coat or color, always apply product using the three-stroke method. This will ensure that the product dries evenly with a smooth finish.

Prepare for mistakes

Even seasoned pros get polish on clients’ skin every once in a while. Keep polish remover, cotton and an orangewood stick on hand for easy clean-up. To get along the edges of the nail, soak the cotton with polish remover, then apply the cotton to the tip of the orangewood stick and use the stick to clean up around the nail. Or, make it easy on yourself and get a polish corrector pen.

Try: OPI Correct & Clean Up Corrector Pen

Be patient

Perhaps the most important tip for a DIY mani is to give your nails a chance to dry. When painting your nails at home, it’s easy to get distracted and start doing things with your hands. To ensure best results, allow nails to dry for 10-15 minutes before applying top coat, then wait another 15-20 minutes to ensure they’re dry to the touch. And, even if they feel completely dry, avoid showering or going to bed within 2-3 hours of application as dents and smudges can still occur.


For more tips, tricks and trends to get you and your manicure through the season – be sure to check out these articles on Nailstyle!