Do-It-Yourself Manicures


Have you ever seen someone with awesome nails and asked, 'Did you do those yourself'? I certainly have, especially since I like a lot of different colors and patterns. Most of the time, the answer is no. They usually get their nails done at a salon, which is great for them. *Some* of us, though, can't afford to drop the $40 it often takes to get a full set done. But what if you *could* do them yourself? What if you *could* create the same awesome effects you'd get from a salon at a fraction of the cost? The good news is, you can! Here are some basic tips.

Step 1-Start with some basic maintenance work. Trim your nails to the desired length and remove any hangnails. Take off any old polish with a cotton ball and acetone nail polish remover. Smooth the surface of your nails with a buffer, use a lotion or soak to soften your cuticles and then push back gently with a cuticle pusher. It's a stick with an angled tip, something that can be found in any manicure kit or drugstore. For some extra pampering, some people use a body scrub on their hands before polishing. Just make sure you dry your nails completely!

Step 2-Apply a base coat of clear nail polish. I know it seems strange to put clear on before color, but it helps to even out the surface of your nail. Otherwise, you could end up with ridges and streaks.

Step 3-After the base coat has dried, apply two thin coats of your color. Allow the first coat to dry before you apply the second.

If you are going to use any sort of nail patterns or designs, you would want to do it here.  Sally Hansen and Cover Girl (I think) have some out with 'stamps' that you can use to put a decoration on your nails. Additionally, some stores such as Sally Beauty Supply sell kits to create your own designs at home.  Even if you don't have a kit, however, you can still create your own designs if you have the polish and know-how. For information and instruction, visit If you want some inspiration, visit and

Step 4-Apply a top coat to smooth out the polish and give a protective layer.

Step 5-Just let your nails air dry. I know it's hard, but do not blow on them or dip them in water. This can create bubbles and make your nails more prone to chipping.

There, now you know how to do your own manicure. Give the salon my apologies. :)

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