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01st Jul 2012

Can’t Afford a Salon Visit? Introducing The DIY Manicure

Our super-easy DIY manicure guide will show you how to get nail salon results from the comfort of your own home.


We all know that there’s nothing better than going to the nail salon and treating ourselves to a shapely new manicure.

But like everything, manicures cost money and given the fact that we’re up to our necks in a recession, we need to be savvy about the places where we drop our hard-earned cash.

If you’ve been denying yourself the luxury of the odd manicure, fear not. Did you know that you can get salon-perfect results yourself at home?

Okay, okay. So it’s not the same as going and paying a nail technician to work their magic on your poor paws, but it’s fun, it’s effective and it costs a quarter of the price.

Think the DIY manicure is something you’d like to try? Here are our tips on how to nail it (see what we did there?)

1. Setting is everything: Put on a calming bit of music, get into your comfiest, lay-around-the-house clothes, light a few candles and relax. Take a few deep breaths. Sure, you may not be in a five-star spa, but with a bit of ambience, you can at least pretend.

2. Get soaked: Fill a bowl full of comfortably-warm water and give your hands a good soak. This will help to soften up your skin and nails and make them easier for you to work with.

3. Bust out the nail polish remover: When you’re done soaking, grab a bottle of nail polish remover and use it on each of your nails – yes, even if you’re not wearing any nail polish. The acetone in nail polish remover will help to get rid of any excess oils on your nails, which in turn will help your polish to set quicker.

4. Get filing: It is so worth investing in a crystal nail file. Why crystal? Well first and foremost, you’ll have it forever. Secondly, they are super gentle on natural nails, and if you regularly use one, they can help to prevent nail splitting and peeling. They also give a great smooth finish.

When you’re filing your nails, first decide on the shape that you want (right now, oval nails are very much in). Once you know the look you’re after, start filing. Always file in one direction. Start at the edges and work your way slowly up to the top.

5. Buff it up: Use a nail buffer to get rid of any ridges and to even out your nails. Simply run your buffer over each nail three times – remember, you’re essentially grinding down your nails with this so more is less.

6. Soak your hands again: Treat yourself to another long soak, then, when you’re ready, dry your hands and work some cuticle butter into your cuticles. Make sure all the butter is rubbed in before you go onto the next step.

7. Push ‘em back: Get yourself an orange wood stick and gently push your cuticles back – don’t worry, you won’t feel it. You should never attempt to cut your own cuticles. If you take good care of your hands and regularly push your cuticles back, you should be okay.

8. Get painting: First apply a base coat to your nails. Then brush on two coats of your chosen colour. When it comes to painting, always start at the edge of the nail – experts say you should be able to cover your nail in three strokes. When your two coats are dry, brush on a top coat.

9. Celebrate: You can now legitimately feel smug about how great you are. Pah, salon? Who needs a salon!