While kicking back at the salon to get a professional manicure is great and all, those of us who live on a budget and for those of us who (like myself) constantly change up their nails can agree that this is definitely an only occasional luxury. Alas, doing them ourselves can lead to a less-than-Pinterest-worthy manicure.
Well, ladies, I am (not) a professional and I’m here to help you. You can have an awesome manicure in the time in takes you to sit and watch Grease on Netflix and still have time to spare.
Rule #1 Clean your nails. Wash your hands and scrub your nails with a nail brush. Of course, do this after you’ve made sure to remove all traces of old polish. You risk bubbles in your nails if they’re even remotely dirty.
Rule #2 Use a base coat. Prime your face for makeup, prime your walls for painting, prime your nails for polish.
Rule #3 Keep your coats thin. Trying to pack on one or two thick layers to shorten the waiting time is actually counterproductive. It takes longer to dry and you risk messing them up even hours after painting them.
Rule #4 Let each coat dry before doing another. Seriously. Be patient. Otherwise you have another reason to anticipate yucky bubbles in your nails.
Rule #5 Clean up as you go. I’m completely lost without these little wooden sticks. After I finish each nail I clean up the edges and cuticles while the nail polish is still wet. Do not try to finish your nails first because this crap dries fast on your skin. Seriously, this is the way to go to avoid jaggedy cuticles and get that clean round line. And for any extra that really got away then just dip a q-tip in some nail polish remover and scrub it off the skin.
Rule #6 Use a topcoat. Protect these suckers because you just worked hard on them. Not to mention there are awesome matte topcoats and super shiny topcoats to amp up your look by like a billion.
Rule #7 Bathe them in ice water. I’m sure there’s a super cool science-based reason explaining why this helps them to dry quicker but regardless it just works. I’m lazy and don’t like to put together a bowl of ice water and lounge around freezing my fingers off so instead I give them a few minutes to air dry and then run them under cold water from the faucet and it works the same for me.
Rule #8 Maintain them. Cuticle oil and lotion are your bff’s. Keeping them well moisturized will not only prolong the wear but will also just make your hands/nails look and feel better. Dry cuticles are ugly, guys, I’m just gonna say it.
Now, just to warn you, you’re right hand (assuming you’re right handed but if not then just replace the word ‘right’ with ‘left’ and continue) may take some more damage during the process but if you follow rule #5 then they should look almost as amazing as your left hand. Cleaning up the area around your nails seriously makes all the difference.