This is how I achieve professional-looking manicures at home.
Nail clipper. Nail file. Cuticle pusher. Nail brush. Cuticle remover. Pure acetone. Base coat. Nail Lacquer. Top Coat.
Tools (not shown):
Rubbing alcohol. Cotton pad/tissue paper. Hand soap. Toothbrush.
I mostly purchase my supplies from Sally Beauty, Ulta, and Target stores. Sometimes Walgreen’s or Amazon.
First, I clip my fingernails down with a nail clipper. I like them short.
Then, I use a glass nail file, filing in one direction, to somewhat soften the freshly clipped edges.
Next, I clean up my cuticles.
I’ve used Sally Hansen cuticle remover for years.
It doesn’t actually remove your cuticle…just that dry, whitish film (dead skin) that likes to hang out underneath & around the edges of them, especially during the cold weather months. See detailed before & after photos here.
I essentially apply the product around my cuticle, let is sit for several seconds, then use a cuticle pusher to gently push back my cuticles and scrape up any loose film underneath.
The cuticle pusher and nail clipper came in a Tweezerman pedicure set. I got it years ago from Target. I couldn’t find it online anywhere to link.
Step 3.5 (not shown)
Washing hands & nails thoroughly with plenty of water & hand soap. Gently brushing around the cuticles with an old toothbrush to remove all traces of cuticle remover and loose cuticle remnants. Drying hands.
Rubbing each nail with rubbing alcohol clears away any remaining oils from the nail bed that would prohibit the nail polish from adhering properly.
I highly recommend Orly Bonder rubberized basecoat. I’ve used it for several years. I believe this (combined with Steps 1-4), prevents my nail polish from chipping off so soon after polishing my nails.
The freshly clipped and filed ends give a sharp ending to the nails, ensuring that the polish comes to a clean, aligned stopping point. Clean cuticles gives the polish a fresh place to start. The polish will go on much smoother there, without the interruption of dry cuticle particles. And, the alcohol & basecoat provide grip for the nail polish & topcoat to stick.
My manicures usually last about a week and would probably last longer if I had a dishwasher.
When polishing, I like to take my sweet time. This is how I achieve the neatest-looking applications.
Painting my nails feels relaxing. I don’t like to rush through the process. Plus, rushing gets polish all over and outside my nails. That, I don’t like.
When brushing on the nail polish, I avoid getting too close to the edges. I like to leave a little line of space about the cuticle perimeter, so there isn’t much need for Step #8.
This neon pink color is Pink Voltage by China Glaze. It used to be a pretty decent formula. I recently purchased a new bottle and now it takes about 3 coats for an opaque look. Boo! Still a pretty color though.
I wish I could recommend a good top coat. I’m still looking.
I’ve tried Seche Vite and Out The Door. Pro-FX too.
Seche Vite is still my #1 but, the formula tends to get pretty thick over time, with regular use. It’d be perfect if not for this.
I make sure to drag the brush over the edges of my nails. This seals the manicure and helps prevent chipping.
After applying the top coat, I try not to do anything with my hands until my nails are completely dry.
This last step involves swiping around the cuticle perimeter with a very thin nail brush, dipped in acetone. This removes any polish and provides a very clean and professional-looking finish to home manicures.
And, that’s it!
I forgot to take a “Ta-dah!” result photo but, you can probably see from the photos above how the finished look looks.
Please let me know if you have any questions.