We understand the allure of freshly-groomed nails. The temptation to drop a small fortune on your nails at the salon is strong if you love the feeling of having clean and polished fingers and toes. The urge to hit the salon during the summertime is especially real, as you want your nails to complement all the cute outfits you plan to wear (and heaven knows your toes need some love after their winter hibernation). But one trip to the salon leads to another, and then another, and so on, so that your bank account has to suffer in order to keep up your nice nails.
But what about doing your nails at home and saving all that money? Maybe you think home manicures leave a little (or a lot) to be desired, and that your nails aren’t luxurious enough without professional results. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way! We’ve compiled five tips for how you can make your at-home manicure or pedicure look amazing while saving money. Don’t believe us that it can be done? Keep reading and we’ll show you just how to take your home manicure to the next level.
Properly Prepare Your Nails
We know this is one of those steps you love to go to the salon for; it’s so satisfying the way your manicurist clips loose skin, pushes back your cuticles, shapes your nails, and makes them look renewed. But you are just as capable of creating fresh nail beds, we promise! Properly preparing your nails is important for achieving a professional-looking end result, so don’t skip it. File and shape your nails to be uniform, clean up your cuticles, and always buff your nail surfaces before applying polish to remove excess oil that could prevent it from sticking.
Wait Between Coats for the Polish to Dry
Maybe you’re guilty of painting your nails right before rushing out the door, but for a lovely manicure you want to make sure each coat properly dries before you move on to the next. Instead of applying each coat back-to-back and ending with thick, lumpy nails, wait a few minutes between your base coat, color coats, and top coat.
Less Is More
We’ve all been there, that tendency to paint . . . and paint . . . and keep painting your nail to get an even spread of rich color. In reality, it should only take three swipes to coat your nail in a layer of polish; you should paint down the middle in a smooth stroke and then fill in the sides with one swipe each. If you feel you need to go over each nail a million times per coat, you’re probably not using a high-quality nail polish, or you might be trying to cheat a few steps by creating one super thick coat rather than multiple light coats. Although it can be hard to resist, your manicure will look much more professional if you use polish sparingly.
Use an Eyeliner Brush to Clean Polish Off Your Skin
You’ve previously used cotton ear swabs for cleaning excess nail polish off your skin, haven’t you? (Or maybe you just ignore it and hope it flakes off later). While cotton swabs get the job done, a flat-edged eyeliner brush has a much better shape for getting into the creases of your nail and lifting any color that has bled. Give it a try and you’ll be impressed!
Consider Going Above and Beyond Basic Nail Polish
Sure, plain and straightforward nail polish does the trick, but if you want a salon-quality manicure (or pedicure), you should consider what other options are available to you. Gel polish is a fan favorite for its long-lasting seal and easy-to-apply polish. The only “fancy” tool you need for most gel polishes is a UV lamp your nails can cure in.
Then there are also dip powder nails, which use an activator coat that gets dipped into colored dip powder; after the final steps of filing and applying a top coat, the powder is transformed into a seamless nail look.
Both gel polish and dip powder can be purchased as DIY at-home kits, and you can get beautiful nails in only a little more time than your basic manicure. But another option is pro-finished gel nails, which is arguably the easiest option of all. After applying the stick-on gel nails (that come in both bedazzled and simple designs), you simply cure your fingers under a UV lamp, and voila, you’ve got semi cured gel nails that look incredibly professional. Out of all the at-home manicure options, this one wins as our top choice. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to carve out a bit of time in order to get great results.
If you love to have nice nails but want to save your money, the best option is to skip the salon and give yourself a quality manicure at home. Use these five tips to get expensive-looking nails from the comfort of your home, and impress everyone with your skills!