Tuesday, July 19, 2016

At-Home Mani Tips & Tricks

{Essie "enuf is enuf"}

While I find getting my nails done at a salon amazingly indulgent, I actually love doing my own nails - there's something therapeutic about taking an hour to relax and pamper myself on a Sunday afternoon. I've been religiously painting my nails myself for a few years, and I must admit I'm pretty proud that my right hand no longer looks like a 5 year old painted them! My nails used to chip after day 2 or 3, which invoked an enraged series of four-lettered words! Gel polish used to be the only kind that would last longer than a week, but the time and money was just draining. Years later after many hours of practice, trial and error, and a (growing) collection of polish shades, I finally mastered the at-home manicure. My most recent manicure lasted a record 13 days! See my tips & tricks for a long-lasting mani below.

{Step 1: Prep}
I start by using an acetone soaked cotton ball over all of my nails to remove any traces of polish or oil. Using a wood orange stick, I gently clean under my nails. Then, I file them into a squoval shape (square with rounded edges). Next I use a buffer to smooth out the nail surface, and soak my hands with warm water and soap. Cuticles are up next: while they are soft from the soak, I gently push them back with a cuticle stick and trim the excess if necessary.

{Step 2: Base}
Nailtique is my favorite product - it gives my nails protein and keeps them shiny, long & strong. I use it as a base coat (and top coat - more on that later),  and apply one layer over each nail.

{Step 3: Polish}
Next comes color! I use a lot of Essie & OPI honestly because I love the names - they're so fun! I apply 2 coats of colored polish. I start on the pinky finger of my left hand and work my way right so I don't accidentally bump my wet nails with my other hand. Beginning in the middle of the nail, just slightly in front of the cuticle line, I make a thin swipe of polish. I then fill in the rest of the nail, repeating on the left and right side to smooth out the coverage. Repeat on all nails twice. Let the two coats dry for about 15 minutes. If there are any mistakes (hey they still happen to me too!) I just dip a Q-tip into a little nail polish remover and run it around the outline of my nails to clean up any stray polish.

{Step 4: Shine}
I end with a layer of Nailtique for shine and protection. I apply it all over the nail including the very tip in order to seal in the polish and prevent potential chips. I re-apply a layer of Nailtique every night to keep my manicure completely intact for 2 weeks!


  1. Pushing back the cuticle is soooo important for a nice finish- a step I used to skip all the time and then wonder why my mani/pedi didn't look as nice, haha. Now I know better!

    Le Stylo Rouge

    1. It makes such a difference! Thanks so much Ashley!

  2. Amazing, I love it ;)

  3. I need to try Nailtique! Sounds like a game changer. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It's seriously amazing!! Thank you Laura!

  4. Love this post, thanks for sharing your nail tricks!

    -Lily from With Love Lily Rose

  5. I used to do my nails at home for a while but have just been so busy lately I've been getting the gel at the salons! It's so expensive though--I need to go back to doing at home manis! LOVE these tips!


  6. Such great little tips and tricks!

  7. These are great tips and tricks! Wish I could do it myself, but I am the worst at this to be honest. :) Must try again soon! :)