Spent the entire weekend basking in the sun and didn’t manage to make it to your weekly manicure appointment? Us too. For these moments when you don’t have time (or money) to get to the salon, the next best thing is DIY. To ensure high-gloss results, we’ve broken down the steps and tools you need. Hone your technique now, and you’ll be a pro in no time.
How To Give Yourself A Flawless Manicure At Home
Butter London Scrubbers Nail Polish Remover
1. Clean nails with polish remover.
Even if you aren't wearing polish, a remover will ensure an oil-free surface, which is ideal for applying new lacquer.
2. Cut, shape and smooth nails.
If some of your nails are longer than others, use a clipper to shorten them to a consistent length. Refine the shape with a file, which will also smooth bumps and peeling nails.
Deborah Lippmann Smooth Operator Buffer File
Danielle Creations 24K Gold Plated Nail Clippers
3. Soak hands, then push and trim cuticles.
Warm water will rinse the dust from filing and also soften cuticles. After a few minutes, blot hands dry and push back cuticles. When trimming, only clip hangnails and minimal amounts of cuticle to avoid nicks and bleeding.
Tweezerman Dual Sided Pushy Tool
Tweezerman Ultra Precision Cuticle Nipper
Essie First Base Base Coat
4. Apply one layer of base coat.
A thin glaze will ensure a smooth appearance. If you see any bumps or imperfections after this step, now is the time to go back and fix them. Better to correct flaws before you add coats of color.
Chanel Les Vernis Longwear Nail Colour in Espadrilles
5. Apply two coats of polish.
It's crucial to apply polish in a thin layer—and only two coats (not three). Let the first coat dry for a minute before applying the second, so the polish won't be tacky and will set properly. If your polish is too thick and doesn't dry between coats, it'll remain soft and will be prone to chips and flaws.
6. Finish with top coat and quick-dry drops.
A glossy top coat will add shine and smooth the surface of your nails. Quick-dry drops are key if you're impatient and know you won't sit still for a full 10 minutes.
OPI Drip Dry Nail Polish Quick Dry Lacquer
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat