How to Master an At-Home Manicure + Video Tutorial

BY Ariel Kozicki · August 23, 2017

You love the look of a perfectly polished manicure, but you don’t necessarily love the price tag or the hassle of a trip to the salon. Fortunately, mastering the right skills for an at-home manicure is easier and less time-consuming than you might think. To prove it, we made this video to show you how simple the process can be. All you need are a few tools, a little bit of dish soap, hand moisturizer and your favorite polish! Below, manicure artist Susie Rodriguez of Salon Lucid in Redondo Beach, CA shares her expert tips for salon-worthy nails at home.

7 Steps to a Salon-Worthy At-Home Manicure

Step 1: Shape Your Nails

Whether you’re going for a square look, rounded nails or more pointed tips, start off your at-home manicure by smoothing down any rough or uneven edges. Rodriguez says that “having proper tools is essential to getting started.” To shape your nails easily and accurately, she recommends “a natural nail file, with a rougher side for shortening length and smooth side for shaping.”

Step 2: Soak Nails

Add just a drop of dish soap to a bowl of warm water and let your hands and nails soak for a few minutes. This will help to loosen any dirt and soften up your cuticles!

Step 3: Clean Your Nails

Begin with a clean canvas. Gently scrape any dirt from underneath your nails. Dermstore recommends this dual-purpose cuticle pusher and nail cleaner.

Step 4: Prep Your Cuticles

Drip a small amount of cuticle remover onto each nail, and then gently push back your cuticles to create a smooth, elongated appearance. Rodriguez says, to make this step easier, “gently push back cuticles after bath or shower. The water softens them up so you don’t have to struggle.”

Step 5: Moisturize Your Hands

Massage moisturizer onto your hands to soften and nourish your skin. (Dermstore recommends Murad rejuvenating hand cream). If you still have previous polish on from an old mani, gently remove any polish after you moisturize.

Step 6: Apply Base Coat, Polish and Top Coat

Apply one layer of base coat to your nails. Next comes the the fun part—paint! Choose your favorite color and roll your polish between your hands, rather than shaking it, to avoid any bubbles. Begin painting at the base of your nails, closest to your cuticles. Swipe up the center and on each side.

When Rodriguez applies color she says the best way is to “use three strokes and on the next round get any spots you’ve missed. That way you keep the layers thin (which helps with chipping) and you’re not polishing over any polish that’s already starting to dry.”

Step 7: Clean Up

Dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover and clean up any edges or polish on your skin. Wash your hands once your nails are dry to remove any excess acetone.

Bonus Tips

Rodriguez gives us some extra knowledge to really help us perfect our manicure technique.

  • Throw out polish after two years.
  • To loosen up older polish, add a drop of nail polish remover to the bottle.
  • It’s time for a new manicure when you’re starting to see chips and breaks!
  • Rodriguez lets us know to “wear gloves when doing chores. And keep your hands out of the water while soaking in a tub or jacuzzi.”
  • For repairing a crack or tear, Rodriguez recommends, “purchasing brush-on nail glue. File on and around the break softly to make nail dust. This will help strengthen the tear when you put the glue on. Wipe excess glue off to avoid getting glue on your hands. You can do this a few times if needed. Shorten the nail after your repair, since less length is stronger.”

Ariel Kozicki

Ariel Kozicki is an SEO Manager and a lover of all things marketing. When she’s not playing with HTML, she enjoys writing blogs. A crazy cat lady at heart, she’ll frequently be found... Read More >