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How to Give Yourself the Best Manicure at Home

Everyone loves a good manicure, but sometimes we don’t like it at a salon price. As luxurious as salon treatments can be, we can easily give ourselves a similar treatment at home! Get your girlfriends together or just have a relaxing night on your own with some Netflix and snacks. Giving yourself an amazing, salon-style manicure at home is easy and affordable…and you’ll feel so proud of yourself after.

1. Have the essential products

For a salon-style manicure, it’s imperative to stock up on the essential products that a manicurist would use during a treatment. So, we spoke to makeup artist and beauty guru, Lilibet Hernandez to find out what her must-have items are for an at home mani.

“Some tools I can’t live without when doing my own nails would be a good nail filer, buffer and top coat!” she says.

She says that “the key to a great manicure at home is keeping your nails well-kept,” and with the right process and products, we can achieve just that.

2. File down your nails

The first thing Lily suggests is filing down your nails. She instructs to file them to the length and shape you want. This is a really important first step as it is laying the foundation for how your manicure is going to look! Nail files are cheap––check out this one for only $2.

There are plenty of tips to filing your nails, but a really important one is to file only in one direction. Celebrity manicurist Jenna Hipp told Nail It magazine that people should “use a side-to-center motion, where you sweep the file over the tip of the nail in one direction, and then shape the nail accordingly.”

Nail It magazine suggests starting at the tip of the nail, filing perpendicular, then moving to the sides, filing parallel. Lastly, file the edges to the desired shape.

3. Buff your nails

Next, you’ll want to buff your nails. Lily says that buffing your nails removes any oils from your cuticles so that your nail polish can shine. Revlon’s Crazy Shine Buffer will be perfect before applying that first coat of nail polish. Make sure to buff lightly and in circular motions; if you apply too much pressure you could damage your nail!

4. Take care of your cuticles

Cuticle care may be the most important part of keeping your nails healthy. Lily says, “For me it’s about keeping them hydrated and nourished. My nails have a hard time growing so I like to keep my cuticles hydrated and protected, so I’ve been using this O.P.I. treatment.”

“I actually use it because my mom always used it on me when she would do my nails,” she told us. “I use it every time after I do my nail polish or when I don’t have any nail polish on, I try to apply some at least once a week.”

This is an essential step whether you’re applying polish or leaving your nails with a natural shine. Cuticle care is like skincare for your nails!

5. Paint your nails carefully with quality polish

As always, you want the best quality nail polish for your at-home mani, and if you’re not sure where to start, Lily suggests trying Essie and O.P.I. brands. She says “Personally. my favorite nail brands are Essie and O.P.I! Spending on more expensive nail polish will give your nails the salon look you want without the cost once again.” 

Once you’ve picked out you’re color, apply a basecoat. A basecoat will help your mani last longer with minimal chipping and maximum shine. After that’s applied, start painting at the base of the middle of the nail and swipe the polish up. Then move to the sides and continue to swipe up. You may have to do this two or three times for good color quality. This video is short and shows exactly how to do this process!

6. Apply a top coat

The top coat is going to be the sealing step in your at-home manicure. According to Lily, “Making sure you finish off any nail polish with a top coat will ensure that they last and stay shiny like at any nail salon.”

Lily’s favorite top coats are O.P.I.’s matte and traditional top coats. Some top coats are made for specific kinds of nails, whether that’s dry and brittle or oily. Look at various brands and formulas to decide what will be best for your nail type.

7. Upkeep your manicure throughout the week

Brooke Shunatona, senior beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, gives two super important tips for keeping your manicure in tip top shape. First, don’t use hand sanitizer because it’ll dry out your nails, causing them to split––only use mild soaps when washing hands. Second, apply a fresh layer of top coat every two or three days to keep nails from chipping and to keep them looking shiny.

As luxurious as a salon mani can be, there’s no reason to keep spending a ton of money at the salon. Try these tips and you can do your very own manicure at home for a fraction of the cost! If you’re looking to shake things up a bit, take a tip from Samantha Burke, a Sienna alumna, who says she uses “the other end of a paint brush to make Daisies. Put down a yellow spot, and then spot white around it!” Sooooo cute.

Your manicures are going to look so #fresh this summer.