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Do It Yourself Manicure

DIY Spa Treatment: Manicure

So many people always ask me why they can't achieve a salon-quality manicure at home, so I thought I'd break down the technique and the tools for you. DIY manicures are not only a great money saver, but I happen to think they are a relaxing weekend ritual. Here's what you'll need:

  • Cotton Balls
  • Paper Towels
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Emery board
  • Cuticle Cutter
  • Cuticle Remover
  • Wooden manicure stick
  • Base Coat
  • Nail Polish
    • Step 1, Remove Old Nail Polish: Begin with clean, dry hands and be sure there is no dirt under your fingernails. Then, wet the cotton balls with nail polish remover and one at a time, press down firmly on the nail and then pull away so that you get most of the polish off in one fell swoop. Repeat until all of the nail polish is off.
    • Step 2, Trim and File: Next, cut your nails to the desired length, or, if they are short, you can simply file them to a uniform length and/or shape. Popular nail shapes include variations on rounded edges, long and short squares and pointy tips.
    • For the final two steps,


    • Step 3, Cuticle Maintenance: After your nails are shaped, take your oil or cream based cuticle remover and dab a generous amount over each cuticle. Then, soak your hands in warm soapy water for a few minutes. You can do this at the sink or with a bowl filled with mild soap. Remove your hands from the water, dry them and push your cuticles back with the wooden manicure stick. If they are red and swollen just leave them be. If they are healthy (pink) you can gently trim them with your cuticle cutter. Do not over-trim.
    • Step 4, Base Coat and Color: Apply a base coat to your nails and let it dry for about thirty seconds. This will act as an adhesive for the polish. Next, prepare to add color to your nails by shaking the nail polish bottle to mix the ingredients. Wipe the front and back of the brush off on the tip of the bottle so that you coat your nails evenly. Begin at the base of your nail and steadily bring the brush towards the tip. Wait a few minutes before applying a second coat. Wait another few minutes and apply a top coat for added shine and protection against chipping.
LilGlamDiva LilGlamDiva 9 years
Very helpful I never feel quite as put together as when my nails are perfectly done
classybltch classybltch 9 years
i agree with fokked- don't shake the polish bottle to mix! all you need to do i gently roll it around. you'll get less air bubbles & the color will mix better. also, make sure to remove any lotion from your nails with polish remover before you paint. buffing your nails is great. i feel that it makes polish stick better & makes nails look healthy & lovely even without polish. for maximum effect, put some cuticle oil on your nails before buffing. ;)
bluecanary bluecanary 9 years
Thanks for the tips. I've recently stopped biting my nails and am doing my best to keep them pretty. My main problem is that while most of my nails grow naturally in a pretty round shape my ring and middle fingers are naturally square. It just looks odd! If I try to round the squares they become weak and break. Anyone else have this problem?
Fokked Fokked 9 years
I have a few tips for painting nails: - Using a ridge filling base coat will protect your nails against staining more than a regular base coat. - If you lotion up your hands before painting, make sure to wipe down your nail beds with alcohol to dehydrate the nail and remove all oily traces. - Roll the bottle between your hands to mix the colour, don't shake it too hard. This way you won't incorporate air bubbles into the polish, which will just end up on your nails. - For the strokes of polish by your cuticle, start a quarter of a cm down from the cuticle, 'push' the polish up, and then do the downstroke. This will give the polish a smooth curve to follow your cuticle, and you are less likely to get gobs of polish on your skin. - If you end up smudging a nail while your polishing (when it is set but not cured) use a dry finger to pat what nail polish is left into a smooth shape. Then, do a very thin coat of polish on top. Often, this can save a nail. - If you are painting your nails, and have time (ie. aren't running out the door) and you get nail polish on the skin, let it dry completely. Then, take a shower/bath/wash your hands and the polish will loosen right up around your nails. Rub your hands with lotion and you should be able to easily peel away the excess polish, without worrying about taking off what's on the bed.
Sylly-Ess Sylly-Ess 9 years
I do my own manicure 97% of the time. My favorite color is Sheer Beige Gloss or Pink Whisper from Sally Hansen... the nail polish has nylon, which lasts the week specially when I wash my hair using warn water.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
Great step by step.
gigill gigill 9 years
Ew, I never cut my cuticles. This is one reason why I prefer the DIY treatment. Hmmm...I could do with a DIY manicure for the weekend.
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
I was gonna say, DeAnna, that cutting cuticles is bad. I use solar oil and an orangewood stick to push them back.
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 9 years
let me just tell you that I am addicted to my cuticle clippers! some ppl bite their nails? Nope, not me... I clip the heck out of 'em! I have a pair at the house and a pair I carry in my small makeup bag that I keep in my purse. I clip in traffic, at work, waiting in line... I can't resist it!
sophia_HL sophia_HL 9 years
I do my nails myself every weekend. I love Essie base coat and quick dry top coat. It helps my nails dry very quickly and they always look nice. I also like their glass files. Once you find the good products it's so easy to do it at home.
cheersxoxo cheersxoxo 9 years
Does anyone know how to prevent bubbling? I do my own nails all the time, but a lot of the time my polish will get little bubbles in it (especially with dark colors). It is so annoying!
WiCkeD_LaDy WiCkeD_LaDy 9 years
yes Bella thanks for the advice, but you forgot a little thing...... Do this when you have a lot of time other wise would be just a quick-fix
Daisie Daisie 9 years
I give myself manicures and pedicures weekly! I used to go every 2 weeks to have them done, but can't at the moment! Oh! I did hear that you don't need soapy water though...that it can be I only use hot water to soak them in. =)
NurseDeAnna NurseDeAnna 9 years
Removing your cuticle is the worst thing you can do. The cuticle is there to protect you from infection. Ewww...get an orange stick and cuticle oil instead.
emalove emalove 9 years
I give myself a nice manicure every so often...
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
I love giving myself (and my friends) manicures! It's such good fun!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I need to do this!
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
I suck when it comes to cutting my cuticles :(
partysugar partysugar 9 years
Bella I love this! I give myself a manicure every Wednesday night and have been doing for the past 9 years!
Thiv04 Thiv04 9 years
The trick is in the painting. If you do it yourself, it is always easier if you are painting your nails a nude favorite is Madamoiselle by Essie. The hardest color to paint is red, so unless you are highly skilled, I go to a pro. It's usually around 6 bucks just for them to paint it on.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I ♥ do it yourself things!
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