DIY Manicure: A Foolproof Guide To Getting A Manicure Done At Home

Discover how to achieve strong and healthy nails before painting them in vibrant hues.

By Ramona Sinha, Certified Skin Care Coach

A well-groomed nail speaks a lot about you. However, not everyone has the time and money to visit a salon whenever they go out. So, it will be a great benefit if you know how to do manicures at home. Manicure is an elaborate ritual that involves clipping your nails and coating them with nail polish. You need to take care of your nails just the way you pamper your face. Here, you can find a complete guide that will help you give a manicure to yourself.

Easy Manicure At Home: A Step By Step Guide

Step 1: Gather All The Essential Tools


Before you start, gather all the manicure tools you will need to give yourself the perfect manicure. Here are the things that you will need:

  • Nail polish remover
  • Nail clipper
  • Cotton pads
  • Nail buffer
  • Cuticle pusher and nipper
  • Cuticle remover or cuticle cream
  • Hand moisturizer
  • A base coat for the nails
  • Your favorite nail polish
  • A clear top coat

Step 2: Remove Any Traces Of Nail Polish


To start off, remove the nail polish that you are wearing. Use a non-acetone nail polish remover and cotton pads to remove your old nail polish gently.

Non-acetone nail polish removers do not dry out the skin around your nails. Acetone-based nail polish removers work much faster, but they can damage your nails. If you use a nail polish remover more than once a month, it is better to use a non-acetone nail polish remover.

Step 3: Clip And File Your Nails


Use the nail clippers to trim your nails. Avoid cutting them too short. Then, use the nail file to shape them. If you want to keep it simple, square-shaped nails with rounded edges or simple rounded nails are best.

While filing your nails, be gentle and avoid dragging the file to and fro with excessive force. Avoid filing them too short. Just smoothen the lines and rough edges left behind by the nail clipper. Use a slightly abrasive nail buffer to smoothen the top of your nails. However, do not buff the nails too smooth because, otherwise, the nail polish won’t stick to your nails.

Step 4: Soak Your Nails (And Hands)


Here’s the most relaxing part of the process. Take a big glass bowl (big enough to hold your palms) and fill it with warm water. Add baby shampoo or a gentle cleanser and soak your hands in it for a few minutes (maximum 3 minutes).

Soaking the cuticles helps soften them. It loosens up the dirt and dead skin cells. Use a gentle nail brush to clean the nails and the skin around them to remove any traces of dirt. Don’t forget to scrape under the nails. Avoid over-soaking your nails and hands as it can damage them.

Step 5: Apply Cuticle Cream And Prepare The Cuticles


Wipe your nails and hands, and massage some cuticle cream onto your nails. Then, use a cuticle pusher to push the cuticles back gently. Do not exert too much pressure because that may push the cuticles too far in and damage your nails. This will also increase your chances of getting an infection.

Once the cuticles are clear, wipe off the excess cream from your nails. If you are not using a cuticle cream, you can also apply a bit of cuticle remover to clear up the cuticles.

Step 6: Apply A Hand Moisturizer


Massage your hands with a hand moisturizer. Use a rich and thick cream for intense moisturization. Focus especially on your fingers and the area around your nails. If you want, you can even soak your hands in warm water for 30 seconds before applying moisturizer.

Step 7: Prep Your Nails For Polish


Nail polish will not stick to your nails if there’s too much moisturizer on them. So, you need to wipe it off. Take a cotton pad or a Q-tip and apply a bit of nail polish remover to it and wipe your nails with it.

Step 8: Apply A Thin Base Coat


Use a clear nail polish as a base coat. You can even use white nail polish as a base coat to make the color of your nail polish pop. This prevents your nails from getting stained (especially if you are wearing shades of red or blue). Also, a base coat helps the nail polish last longer.

Step 9: Apply Atop Coat


Once the base coat is dry, apply a thin coat of your favorite nail polish on top of it. Before applying the nail polish, roll the bottle between your hands. Avoid shaking it because that will create air bubbles in it and make it difficult for it to stick to your nails.

Paint vertical stripes, starting from the base of your nail toward the tip. Before applying another layer, let the previous layer dry.

Step 10: Finish It Off With A Clear Nail Polish


Once your nail polish is dry, finish it off by applying another layer of clear nail polish on top of it. This shields the nail polish from chipping or flaking. Moreover, if you have done any nail art, the clear top coat will protect that too.

To finish off your manicure, reapply the moisturizer on your hands and nails. Keeping them moisturized is essential to keep them looking healthy.

Sounds super easy, right? But, there are certain things you need to avoid when you are doing a manicure at home.

Mistakes To Avoid When Doing Manicure At Home


1. Cutting Your Nails

Avoid cutting your nails if they are already short. Just file them. If your nails are very long, just cut them halfway through and then file them down to your desired length. Cutting your nails too short will ruin the look.

2. Avoid Trimming The Cuticles

We all have cuticle skin. You don’t need to cut them off completely. Just push them back. If you think you have too much cuticle skin, try pushing them back every day when you take a shower. This is because your cuticles soften when you take a shower, which makes it easier for you to push them back.

3. Avoid Filing Your Nails In A To And Fro Motion

This will fray your nails and make them peel. File only in one direction. It’s best to start from one corner and work your way to the other end.

4. Clean Your Nails Completely

Before applying nail polish, make sure that your nails are free of any traces of moisturizer, water, or dirt. Use a lint-free wipe and non-acetone nail polish remover to clean them thoroughly.

5. Don’t Forget to Paint the Tips

If your polish isn’t sealed properly, it will start to chip in a few days. The best way to avoid this is by sealing the tips with the top coat. When applying the top coat of clear nail polish, turn your fingers so that you can see the edges. Take the tip of the brush and go over the tips of your nails.

Giving yourself a manicure at home is a great way to pamper yourself. And when you have the suitable technique and the right manicure kit, doing a manicure at home is a breeze. It saves a significant amount of money and time. Try this DIY manicure to give yourself a salon-like experience at home. Apply cuticle oil once a day to ensure that your nails are healthy. Remember, no matter how costly your nail polish is, you cannot have beautiful nails until you groom them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between pedicure and manicure?

A pedicure involves cleaning and styling the feet, while a manicure is to clean and beautify the hands.

How often should you get a manicure?

If your nails grow quickly, it is best to get a manicure once every two weeks. Otherwise, you may leave 2-3 weeks between each manicure.

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Ramona is an editor at StyleCraze. Prior to that, she authored over 200 articles on skin and hair care. She... more