As long as I can possibly remember, I have been awful at painting my own nails. I’m willing to bet that many a 3 year old has shellacked her own nails better than I could ever dream possible. But since leaving my job in early August, one of the things that I’ve smartly cut back on was paying for manicures, which meant that if I wanted to have nice nails, I had better crack the code to an excellent home manicure. Learning to paint my own nails well is something that I now consider a high benchmark in my world of ladylike maturity, and I want to share the tips and secrets with you today. Honestly, if I can do it, you 100% can as well.
In the world of a brilliant home manicure, there are three important steps. The first being that you prep your nails before any bit of product touches them, the second being that you use great products and the third being that you learn to slow the hell down.
Prior to this declaration of manicurization that I declared 2 months ago, I was never that great because I always skipped the step of properly prepping the nail! So when I decided it was time to grow up, I went out and got a simple manicure kit from Duane Reade and learned how to use it correctly:
- Remove all nail polish, wash your hands to get the acetone off, pat dry and then soak your nails in a bowl of warm, soapy water
- Cut your nails to the shape that you prefer while they are still wet- this keeps the nail from breaking off and creates very clean lines. Use a nail file to create your dream shape.
- Take your nail tools and push back your cuticles and use your clippers to clip away until you have a nice even canvas that the paint will glide perfectly on top of.
- Optional, but I also massage this acuticle oil around my nails, just to make sure that the acetone from the remover doesn’t dry them out. I love Kur by Londontown USA
One of the main problems that I had always encountered when doing my own nails was that I was never using a base coat (what?!) and my top coat was awful. Despite it being a really great brand that we all know and love, it was never working and the second I was done, it would start to chip. Annoying. Someone recommended to me that I pick up Rejuvacote as a base coat and Seche Vite as my top coat, and ohmygod it changed everything.
- Rejuvacote is made for people that need to strengthen their nails, so it works double duty as both a great base coat and helps you build back up the health of your nails. Brilliant.
- Seche Vite, as far as I can tell, is everything good about nail polish in one bottle. It is specially formulated to penetrate through nail lacquer to the base coat forming a single solid coating over the nail plate for a much more durable finish. You nails don’t yellow, it dries very fast and forms a gel like coating that leaves your nails stronger and more resistant to chipping. It’s brilliant.
A great home manicure, one with clean lines and no bubbles comes only when you slow down and let each layer dry before you apply the next layer. As someone who has the nickname “Tasmanian Devil” because I move too fast, this was the hardest step for me to learn, but it is the ultimate secret to great nails! I get all of my nail stuff together, turn on an hour long episode of a show and don’t move until that hour is done. Sure, you can definitely go faster, but I end up really enjoying this hour that I give myself and I end up with perfect nails that last chip free for a week.
After prepping the nails, here’s how you finish your manicure:
- Paint one base coat of Rejuvacote, let it dry
- Paint one layer of nail color, let it dry
- Paint second layer of nail color, let it dry
- Paint one coat of Seche Vite top coat, let it dry and go about your day.
- If you want a matte look, like the one I did above, I picked up a really inexpensive matte coat and applied it after my Seche Vite top coat, and so far it’s lasted 5 days without one single chip.
Using these three simple steps, I’m saving myself $10 a week and am feeling oddly very proud of myself and my ability to do my own nails. It’s silly, or maybe it’s not, but it sure is a great way to update my look week by week and feel good about the way I look.
Did I forget any tips? Anything you’ve learned along the way that enhance the experience? Let me know below!