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    How to Get the Best At- Home Manicure

    By Naja Rickette

    Due to global circumstances, we’ve all been home for some time now. Alone with our nails and missing our manicure appointments. Luckily, I have some fun tips I’ve learned over the years to help with your at-home manicure. I am going to jump right in with the most common mistakes I hear from DIY manis.


    Do not polish WITHOUT a base & topcoat.

    Make topcoat your best friend. It will help smooth out your polish application, add a great shine and keep your polish lasting longer. For less steps and one bottle, there are great base/top coat combos. Try L.A. COLORS Gel Extreme Shine

    PRO TIP:

    ‘Cap the Edges’ of each nail by swiping the tip of the brush along the length of the nail with each layer of polish.

    Do not apply polish to oily nail beds.

    It is imperative that your nail bed be completely clean of all microscoptive dirt, debris, oils, lint etc. prior to applying the grand trio (base, color, top). Do not use cotton. Instead, try lint-free wipes or my choice: a makeup brush dipped in acetone. (This brush will also double as a clean-up brush for polish on the skin/cuticle).

    Try Believe Beauty, Angled Eyeliner Brush- it’s perfect for clean-up. 

    Do not cut or trim your cuticles.

    The skin attached to the nail plate should never be cut because it will grow back thicker and tougher, almost like scar tissue, as it is trying to protect itself from the nippers. 

    Push back the eponychium (side walls of the nails and around the cuticle) by starting at the top free edge of the nail and pushing in a gentle circular motion going down the eponychium. Rule of thumb- whatever is not attached to the nail plate or is ‘in the air’ is considered dead and this is what can be trimmed. 

    The Do’s:

    Do prepare properly.

    The best time to give yourself a manicure is after a long bath or shower. Your skin is softened and cuticles are ready to be groomed.

    PRO TIP:

    A manicure should not hurt. This means the fingers were not prepared properly and a sign of overzealous nipping/trimming. I used Studio Selection Manicure Kit.

    Okay now that we have the Do’s & Don’ts, let’s add simple & affordable relaxation. Use everyday items found in the kitchen aisle at your local Dollar General to create an aromatic hand soak and an exfoliating scrub. (I even got the mixing bowl from DG). 

    At-Home Spa Recipes:

    Hand Soak- In 1 cup water, add 5 drops essential oil + 2 Tablespoon of olive oil. Heat for 1 minute. Soak hands for 3-5 mins.

    Hand/Foot Scrub- Combine 1 cup of sugar (or salt) with ¾ cups of oil. Mix thoroughly. Apply to overall hands, and fingers concentrating on each nail plate and cuticle area. 

    The steps:

    1.     Remove existing polish with lint-free pad soaked in polish remover. 

    2.     Cut and/or file nails by starting at the right side and filing towards the center of the nail (repeat starting from the left and back to center). Never file in back & forth sawing motion.

    3.     Soak fingers in warm water and/or oil for 3-5 minutes.

    4.     With an orangewood stick in a gentle circular motion, push back the cuticle area. Only trim the dry, dead skin that is in the air and nothing that is attached to the nail plate. I used the cuticle stick included in the Studio Selection -Manicure Kit.

    5.     Remove all oil and other impurities from the nail plate with polish remover.

    PRO TIP:  Wash your hands first and then make sure to remove ALL oil, paying particular attention to the side walls of the nails where oil may be hiding. Believe Beauty All-over eyeshadow brush is my top choice for this job.

    6.     Apply 1 layer of base coat. (remember to cap the edge of the nail with each layer). To skip this step, use L.A COLORS, Gel Extreme Shine (no UV light is needed) 

    7.     Apply 2 coats of color and finish with a top coat.

    Circumstances sometimes have us finding new ways to complete our moods and our looks. A fresh manicure completes any look whether at home or around town. Take some “me time” and give your hands a treat.

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