A fab manicure and pedicure is a must-have for any formal dance or party, and it’s super easy to give yourself great nails with these at-home tips! You can save the cash you’d drop at the nail salon and spend it on a cute accessory instead.
I prefer to never cut my cuticles. Cutting them actually creates hangnails and can make the skin at the nail bed peel. Instead, I push them down after a shower if it’s needed.
That being said, never cut or file your nails after a shower. The nail will be much too soft, which can result in tears and uneven clipping.
Prepare for your DIY mani-pedi by having cotton swabs soaked in nail polish remover nearby. These will come in handy when you accidentally swipe some polish on your finger instead of your nail. It’s always easier to remove the excess polish immediately, while it’s still wet.
Then, file your nails to the desired shape. I prefer square, though pointy Lady Gaga claw nails are all the rage right now. They look a little scary to me!
Line your nails up after you’re done filing to make sure they’re all the same length.
Swipe some non-acetone nail polish remover over your nails to remove excess polish and dirt. Acetone-free polish is gentler on your nails and doesn’t dry them out. Then, use a light moisturizer on your nails.
Use a nail buffer. I used to always skip this step, mostly because I didn’t know what that little buffer was in my at-home manicure kits. But once I started using it properly, I never went back! Rub it over the tops of your nails until they shine.
If you love the hot towels you get at nail salons, you can pamper yourself with one at home. Simply soak a washcloth in lukewarm water and then throw it in the microwave for 60 seconds. Voila- your own hot towel! You may want to use a larger hand towel to cover both of your feet.
If you don’t have one of those fancy foam toe separators, you can easily create your own by twisting up a few sheets of toilet paper and lacing them between your toes. Do this before you start your manicure- you’ll lessen the chance of smudging your nail polish.
To prevent air bubbles in your polish, don’t shake the bottle, according to Julyne Derrick, About.com’s Beauty Guide. Instead, gently roll it between your fingers to mix the polish.
Do your pedicure first. It’ll be easier to maneuver your hands while they’re not wet with polish. Plus, if you have to use some nail polish remover on your toes to clean up the sides, you won’t run the risk of accidentally removing some of the polish on your fingers as well (this has happened to me- and it’s not fun!)
I always start with a coat of clear polish, then a thin basecoat, followed by a top coat. I’ve found that applying thin layers rapidly is the best application method.
Thinner nail polishes will require more than one top coat.
Polish is easier to work with while it’s fresh out of the bottle, so avoid going back to correct a layer while it’s sticky. It’s better to let it dry, then apply a second coat on top to correct any bumps or spots you may have missed.
To prevent air bubbles in your polish, let the first coat dry completely before you do a second coat.
An obvious tip, but one that I forget to do all the time: start by painting your dominant hand with your non-dominant hand. So if you’re a righty, paint the nails on your left hand first. Why? It’s easier to control your dominant hand, so it’ll be easier for you to not nick the drying polish on that hand while you’re painting your other hand.
Give yourself a couple of practice mani-pedis before you attempt one for a special event. After a couple tries, your nails will look salon perfect!