I love a good beauty splurge, but the one thing that never seems to measure up? Salon manicures. Even though it’s a relaxing and relatively inexpensive process, the polish never seems to last as long as when I just do it myself, at home. Not only that, but doing my own nails has become an almost meditative process – a short period of time where I can’t touch my phone or really be bothered with anything else around the house because “HEY my nails are wet!” So I’m here to share all my secrets for how to get a long lasting manicure at home.
Start with clean nails – take off last week’s cracked polish and settle in for prep. I like to start with cuticle oil and let it seep in as I file and shape my nails. I use Sally Hansen Cuticle Pen because it’s so easy to apply.
Preferred nail shape is different for everyone, go with what looks best on you, but my long-time favorite is a classic square tip. First, I use a coarse grit file (these are usually black) to get the length I want, then I use a smoother file (pink or white) to clean up the edges and get the perfect shape.
TIP: Don’t saw your nail file back and forth, that can cause splitting and peeling between nail laters, only drag in one direction.
After that, your hands will be a big mess of nail dust, which is totally gross (and will get in the way of your polish). You’ll need to wash them, but I prefer to swipe out my regular hand soap for something with a scrub. Then I go for a moisturizer that’s more balm than cream – your hands do a lot of work, show them some love.
At this point, you can do one of two things. You can swipe your nails with some alcohol or nail polish remover so they’re free of moisturizer residue OR you can just let it all sink in and come back tomorrow to finish up.
The final step is applying the polish. Before you just go swiping away with your classic red or edgy grey, you should know that your base coat and top coat are what will make or break your mani. I’ve tried many, but my favorite is the Formula X system by Sephora. It actually has a “cleaner coat” that you apply before the base, then base, color (x2!), and top coat.
Two coats of your color are a must. Another great thing to have is a little stick so you can swipe up any polish that goes astray – it’s much easier to clean up as you go.
Don’t forget to swipe the top coat across the tip of your nail to seal it all up!
And that’s it! If you’ve followed all the steps, you should have a neat clean mani that looks good for at least a week!