While having a professional manicure done in nice salon is always a great treat, it is not something that I would regularly go out and splurge my money on. I know that it is possible to achieve just as good results at home with a DIY manicure, and would rather use the time and money on something else … like a great haircut.
If you have 15-20 minutes to devote to yourself, then you can re-create a salon manicure by using the correct products for a DIY manicure.
Some of the items needed are pretty pedestrian are and probably already in your bathroom cabinet. Any nail polish remover and nail stick will do, but there are a few essentials items that cannot be skipped or skimped on to deliver a professional-looking manicure.
Starting with clean, dry nails, the following items are must-haves for a proper DIY manicure that delivers salon results.
When it comes to dealing with your cuticles, you should never cut or snip them, no matter how temptingly fast it might be to do so. Cutting them will lead to hardened, split cuticles, and they will grow back very unsightly and rough.
There is a product out there that is just perfect for safely dissolving your cuticles and allowing them to be gently sloughed off.
This cuticle remover comes in a very convenient little squeeze bottle that is perfect for an easy application. Your cuticles are dissolved and ready to be pushed back with a nail stick in less than a minute.
“I do my own manicures, and your nails feel so much better when all the gunk is off – this product does it quickly! It takes me less than 5 minutes to use the nozzle to put the gel on one hand, use a wooden cuticle stick to push them back/off, and then do the same to the other hand.” —KatieKakes
To shape and smooth your nails before applying your basecoat, skip the nail clippers and use a nail file instead. You have much more control when using a file as opposed to clippers, which can leave harsh, sharp edges.
Not just any old file will do. The OPI Crystal Nail File is made from hardened glass with a very finely etched, abrasive surface that is perfect for getting a close, clean file that won’t shred your nails.
Glass files are also extra gentle on your nails and will leave the ridges smooth and split free, with no ragged edges.
These nail files are also really easy to sanitize between uses, much easier than a regular emery board or metal file. Just a quick rinse under water and it’s ready to go.
A Protective Base, and Top Coat
I have grouped these two essentials together because I am all about effective, all-in-one products that can save you time, money, and shelf space.
Since this at-home manicure should last you well over a week, it is very important to first apply a base coat on your nails to protect and nourish your nails, and lastly a good, fast-drying top coat to protect and add shine.
Essie Protein Base Coat does double duty for your manicure. It is a protective top coat to shield your color from chipping and add extra shine. It also acts as a base coat to protect your nails from yellowing and discoloration, while fortifying your nails and cuticles.
A High Quality Nail Color
After all of the pampering that you have done on your nails thus far, do not skimp on the quality of nail polish you are using.
OPI Nail Polish (93/100) is my top pick because it is specifically created for professional use in salons, yet is available to purchase just about anywhere you shop for your beauty items, at a pretty amazingly low price per bottle.
This salon-quality nail polish always comes in a great variety of colors, and it has a great wide brush for really easy application that delivers great color on the very first coat.
“I usually do my own nails instead of going in and getting manicures and pedicures. So I have tried to come to find the best products. I came across Nicole by OPI line and I have to say I favor it alot. Tons of great colors that you can pick from. Plus I have to say it applies nicely to the nails, and leaves that clean, fresh mani/pedi look I try to get” —kelseyapley24
A Good Hand Cream
Once your nails have completely dried, first spot clean any stray polish around the nail bed with a q-tip soaked in polish remover.
You are then ready to apply a nourishing hand cream like Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream (92/100) to polish off your look and really complement the finished product.
It is important to apply hand cream after your manicure, and not before, as it can leave a light film on your nails that will affect the performance of your nail polish and cause streaking or bubbles.
DIY manicures do take a little practice, but you will be thrilled with both the money savings and great feeling of accomplishment when you admire your own handiwork.