Who doesn’t love DIY projects that you can indulge in from the comfort of your home? Certainly not us! Who loves to save some coin by doing all the self-grooming at home instead of emptying out their wallets in salons? Definitely us! And if you’re someone who’s prudent and wants to look like you just walked out the latest cover of Vogue, you’ve come to the right place!
If the pandemic has gotten to you and staying home has been difficult, we relate. We’ve been here to see all the disastrous home-cut bangs and bleach faux pas and let us tell you, it has not been cute. BUT your hands don’t have to join the party. If going to the nail salon has been difficult or even if you’re on a money crunch, your hands need not suffer. Here’s a cool and super easy 10-step guide to doing a killer manicure at home (and all the important information around it) at home and perhaps even wave a bittersweet sayonara to your manicure artist cause you most likely won’t be needing them anymore!
What is a Manicure?
The term manicure simply refers to a type of beauty treatment or cosmetic procedure that aims at beautifying your hands and fingernails.
Products You’ll Need
Doing a manicure at home naturally can be truly a calming self-care activity that gives you great-looking hands and nails, provided you have the right products to help you along the way. Here’s what you’ll need for that perfect manicure at home that rivals your salon artist: -
Polish Remover: - To get rid of any grime or leftover polish from your nails before they’re prepped further. An acetone-based polish remover works the best!
Scrub: - An effective, no BS body scrub can do wonders for your hands. It gets rid of all the dead skin cells, leaving you with beautifully smooth and glowing hands.
Moisturizer: - The key to having beautiful-looking hands is keeping them well-moisturized. Dry-looking crackly hands tend to get ashy and are more prone to wrinkles and unflattering texture. This is where moisturizer steps in.
Cuticle Softener: - It is a solution that helps to dissolve the dead skin around the cuticle area of your nailbeds. It acts as an exfoliating treatment and gives your fingernails, a clear look. You may find a cuticle remover/softener online, it is a product that may be somewhat difficult to find in stores in India. Additionally, this is optional, but we highly recommend it. You could try soaking your fingers in warm to hot water as an alternative.
Cuticle oil: - People often confuse cuticle oils and cuticle dissolvers/removers but they’re very different! Cuticle oils are aimed at strengthening your nails, overall. They nourish your nailbeds and moisturize your cuticles. Cuticle oil isn’t the most necessary part of your manicure and is an optional product but can help a great deal if you deal with brittle nails.
Base Coat: - This one should ideally be called ‘BAE’ coat because of all that it does for you, essentially your nails, but you get the point! A base coat gives your nail polish or pigment something to adhere to, meaning your polish will last longer and won’t chip away at the first sight of chores. A base coat also prevents any staining that may occur otherwise from the pigment of your polish.
Nail Polish: - Well, duh. If you want some colour on your nails after your DIY manicure at home naturally, you’ll need some good nail polish. The formulation is entirely your choice, liquid or gel but be sure to spend some precious coin and invest in one that has decent review and is revered in the industry.
Clear Topcoat: - A topcoat is just as important as the base coat, if not more. It adds longevity to your manicure’s life, prevents your nail paint from chipping, and gives a more pristine and complete look to your nail, resembling the work of a salon. Your clear top coat can add shine to your nails if you prefer a glossy one or you could opt for a mattifying topcoat if that’s your thing.
Tools You’ll Need
Now that you know about all the products that you’ll need, below is a comprehensive list of all the tools that will accompany these products and do all the heavy lifting for you and your nails to give you the manicure of your dreams. Most of these products are super easy to find online as well as in physical stores, but we recommend little manicure kits that you can find. They’re quite often on discount so that’s a big ‘yay’ for your pockets. And they’re a great fit for people who frequent the nail salon but also like to occasionally pamper themselves at home!
Cotton Pads and Cotton Buds - To help you remove any grime and overflowing or botched polish off your nails.
- Nail Clippers - To cut your nails.
- Cuticle Nippers - To trim your cuticles.
- Cuticle Pushers - To push back your cuticles and give a better shape to the base of your nailbeds.
- Nail File - To shape the free edges of your nails.
- Nail Buffer - To make the surface of your nails smoother.
- Fine-tipped Nail Brush - To create nail art (Optional).
10 Step to Do Manicure at Home
Don’t let the long list of tools and products we’ve mentioned scare you. Doing a manicure at home doesn’t have to be a cumbersome process. It can actually be quite therapeutic. That is if you follow our guide! In 10 simple, quick, and easy-to-follow steps, you will have the manicure of your dreams. Here’s what to do!
Step 1 - Clean Your Nails and Remove Chipped Polish
It is extremely important to spend a decent amount of time prepping your nails just like the professionals do to achieve perfectly manicured nails. Take a cotton swab or a cotton pad, wet it with an acetone-based nail polish removing solution, and swipe it over each of your fingernails. Apply a little pressure to get rid of those tiny stubborn bits of polish. This not only does away with any color remnants but also cleans your nails of any dirt or oils.
Step 2 - Clip, File, and Buff your Nails
This step is fairly simple. All you need to do is cut off the length from your nails or if you’re going for a longer look, then just trim off the thinner edge of your nails. Use a nail file to give them the desired shape. A rounded & curved oval shape or a squared shape with rounded edges is usually the easiest and quickest to do at home but feel free to be creative! Once your nails are shaped, use the buffing tool to smoothen the surface of your nails but avoid overdoing it so that your nail paint can adhere better.
Step 3 - Soak Your Hands
Take a wide bowl, filled with warm soapy water, and submerge your fingers, palm as well as the back of your hand completely. Do this from 2-4 minutes only as over-soaking can cause damage. Soaking your hands softens the skin and makes it easier to scrub off any dead skin.
Step 4 - Exfoliate/Scrub Your Hands
Use a gentle body scrub that is not too abrasive to exfoliate your hands. This smoothens out any rough patches, gets rid of the dead skin off your hands, and makes them appear brighter and feel soother. After using your preferred scrub for a minute or two, wash the remainder off with water.
Step 5 - Prep Your Cuticles
Apply your cuticle removing solution to your cuticle skin using a drop. Use a cuticle nipper to trim off the softened edges. Then push back your cuticles for better-looking nail beds while also removing any goopy remnants of soaked cuticle skin off your nails.
Step 6 - Moisturize
Use your favorite lotion or hand cream to moisturize your hands and keep them looking beautiful. You can also use cuticle oil in this step. Avoid doing this if you wish to apply nail paint to accompany your manicure at home. Or wipe off the excess oil from your nails using acetone and cotton.
Step 7 - Apply the Base Coat
Remember that very important product we said you absolutely need for a longer-lasting manicure? It’s time to use it. Apply an even layer of your base coat product (it resembles clear polish in most cases and can also be a translucent white) on all your fingernails. It introduces a stronger adherence hold on your nails and helps your nail polish/paint stick much better.
Step 8 - Apply Your Paint/Polish
Pick out whatever color you want for a simpler look and easier manicure at home. But if you want to be bold & adventurous and have fun with your manicure at home, choose multiple colors that are similar in formula and paint away. You may use nail art and other tools, which may be a bit complex but also that much more rewarding. If you choose the simpler route, apply an even layer of your preferred nail polish using the tip-sides-base method. Let the first coat dry completely. Wait for two whole minutes or use a drying device (if you have one at home!) and layer a second coat for even color distribution. Lighter colors and pastels may need a third coat so be patient. It is worth it.
Step 9 - Apply Your Top Coat
Depending upon your preference, apply either a matte (for a more professional and subdued look) or a glossy (for a more lustrous and glamorous look) topcoat. A top coat pulls together your entire manicure (it’s like eyeliner and lipstick but for your nails) and adds longevity to it. Apply an even layer of the topcoat only after your nail polish has fully dried to avoid weird texture.
Step 10 - Clean Off the Edges and Remoisturize
Using a cotton swab, wet with acetone, clean off the edges of your nails to remove any messy polish that has gone astray. Once done, wait for 30 seconds and then reapply your moisturizer to have perfect-looking hands and a manicure at home that is picture-worthy!
Mistakes to Avoid During Manicure at Home
Some steps in a manicure at home exist for a reason. They’re essential and they work! We won’t lie, it is tempting to skip a few of those and get to the good part already, but if you do that, you cannot expect the same results. Here’s a list of common manicure at home mistakes to avoid: -
- Filing incorrectly. Be patient. Spends a few extra seconds. You’ll thank us later.
- Dry-scrubbing your hands. Not soaking your hands prior to a good scrub session can irritate your skin.
- Neglecting your cuticles. It may be daunting to push back clean off your cuticles but all that dry extra skin is only going to look ghostly and shabby with your pretty nail paint.
- Over cutting your cuticles. When dealing with cuticles, it is important to nip off the bare minimum, if you get too greedy and overcut them, it can cause redness and leave your nailbeds more susceptible to infections.
- Over moisturizing. We get it. Moisturizer makes your hands feel soft and appear more glowy. But over-moisturizing directly affects the ability of your nail paint to adhere properly. The surface of your nails needs to be fairly dry for your nail paint to stay. So, you might want to skip that cuticle oil right before the paint job.
- Skipping the layering coats. Yes, there are too many coats, yes, they’re cumbersome, time-consuming, annoying even, but they’re necessary! Patience is a virtue, a cherished one at that! So, apply that base coat, layer your nail polish with two coats, and please finish off with a top coat.