Tips for Perfecting the DIY Manicure (& How to Stay Safe at Your Favorite Nail Salon)

You may not have the option to visit your favorite nail salon in person right now, but that doesn’t mean that your nails have to suffer. You can get a great manicure from home, you just need to know how.

How to Get the Perfect Manicure From Home

#1. Prepare your nails properly.

The quality of your manicure is greatly affected by how well you prepare your nails before you get started. Preparing your nails properly before painting them will make your manicure last longer and the paint go on smoother.

How to prepare your nails:

  • Clip – Unless you’re attached to your length, you’ll want to start by clipping your nails. Clip carefully, starting from the side of each nail. If you start in the middle, you run the risk of breakage.
  • File – File your nails to smooth out the edges and to get the shape that you want.
  • Buff – With a nail buffer (not an emery board) lightly buff the tops of your nails. This will smooth out the ridges and remove natural oils that can undermine your manicure.
  • Cuticles – Soften the cuticles and remove any dead skin with a cuticle remover. Cuticles help to protect your nails from bacteria, so don’t cut them, but you should gently push them down with a cuticle stick.

#2. Prepare your hands.

A manicure isn’t just about making your nails beautiful; it’s about making your hands beautiful, too. And, to do that, you need to take some time to pamper your hands.

Prepare your hands for your manicure by gently exfoliating them with a sugar scrub. This will help to remove any dead skin cells and excess oil on your hands and nails. Then, moisturize your hands thoroughly. For a little extra pampering, wear a pair of cotton gloves for a couple of hours after moisturizing.

Before you move on to painting your nails, go over each nail with nail polish remover to get rid of any remaining oil from the moisturizer, which could make the polish dry improperly.

#3. Use a base coat.

Before you start painting your nails with the color of your choice, make sure that you paint a thin layer of base coat on your nails.

Applying a base coat will help to protect your nails, keep them hydrated, and prevent chipping. It will also prevent the polish from staining your nails. Give your nails a few minutes to dry after you’ve applied the base coat.

#4. Paint two coats of color.

Now, for the fun part, actually painting your nails!

Pick the right color, and if it has started to separate, roll it, instead of shaking it, to combine it again. If you shake it, little bubbles can form in the polish that prevent it from going on smoothly.

Most DIYers will put too much paint on their nails, as well as use too many strokes to apply the paint.

Instead of painting the polish on in one big blob, you’ll want to paint two thinner layers of paint. With each layer, try to get just enough paint on the brush to paint the whole nail without redipping it, but not much more than that.

Try to paint each nail in three big strokes. Start with one stroke in the middle, and finish with single strokes on each side.

Repeat this process with a second coat, and finish by painting the tip of the nails, which will help to seal in the color.

#5. Seal the deal with a topcoat.

Give your polish a few minutes to dry, and then finish your manicure by applying a layer of topcoat polish. This will make your nails look shinier, protect them from chips, and make your manicure last longer.

Do you want your nails to look great for longer? Apply a new layer of topcoat to your polish every two to three days to keep it looking fresh and new.

Nail salons may, or may not be, open in your community, and even if they are open, you may not feel comfortable going into one. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have beautiful nails, nor does it mean that you can’t support the local businesses you love.

If you can’t, or don’t want to, visit your favorite nail salon in person right now, think about supporting them in other ways, like buying gift cards, taking advantage of any alternative services they’re offering — like online consultations or tutorials — shopping with them if they’re selling products, donating to their GoFundMe, writing reviews for them, etc.

If you do feel comfortable visiting a nail salon and they’re open near you, make sure to follow a few safety precautions while you’re there. These include wearing a mask, scheduling an appointment ahead of time, waiting in your vehicle until your appointment, and double-checking the salon’s safety precautions prior to scheduling an appointment.

Whether you want to leave a review for a nail salon you already know and love or you want to find a local nail salon to help you get the look you love, start with Top Rated Local®.

With Top Rated Local, you can read a nail salon’s reviews from across the web and quickly compare their overall online reputation to their competitors’ side by side — all from one place and in no time at all. Get started today.