While it is delicious to treat yourself to a salon manicure (complete with a hand massage and cuticle treatments), the expense of monthly (or weekly) trips to the nail salon can add up. With most of us trying to save anywhere we can, it makes sense to try to cut out the frivolities. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your beautiful tips!
While daunting to some, it is possible to get a manicure that lasts from the comfort of your own home. Here are some insider tips to help you make your manicure last:
1. Choose quality materials.
Choosing quality nail polishes and tools does make a difference. You want to be sure to have a good base coat, polish color and top coat for optimal results. The base coat not only provides a smooth even surface for your color, but it also serves to protect the nail from staining.
Some base coats also contain proteins, vitamins and minerals to promote healthy nail growth. The top coat seals and protects the color, providing a layer of defense against chipping and staining as well as a beautiful shine. Don’t forget a great nail file, buffer, set of clippers, cuticle oil and a nourishing, non-acetone nail polish remover.
2. Clean up.
Remove any leftover polish with polish remover and wash your hands. Afterwards, clip and file your nails to your desired length and shape.
3. Prep the surface.
Use a buffer across the tops of your nails to smooth out the surface. Use a cuticle stick to push down your cuticles, and cuticle oil if you’re prone to dry cracked skin. Once this is done, wash your hands again and use your polish remover one last time to remove any residual oils.
4. Follow the “1, 2, 1” rule.
The rule is: 1 base coat, 2 coats of color, and 1 top coat. Apply these layers as thinly as possible, and allow each layer to dry fully before applying the next coat. The thinner the layers, the faster your nails will dry and the less likely the polish is to chip or bubble.
5. Paint Smoothly.
When applying your polish, start with one stroke in the middle of your nail. Slowly paint on either side, pushing the brush to the edges of your nail similar to how you would “cut in” when painting the corners of a wall in your home. You should be able to fully coat your nail in three to five strokes. This grants you more control, and helps to keep the polish off of your skin, which creates a cleaner, more professional look.
Should you slip up and get polish on the sides of your nails, simply dip a small ½” flat brush (or a q-tip!) into your polish remover and run it along the side of your nail bed to remove the polish.
6. Be patient!
Simply put, you have to wait. Wait for your nails to completely dry before attempting any maneuvers with your hands. This seems like it is an obvious piece of advice, but the longer you allow the polish to dry and set, the longer it will last.