Tips for your at-home manicure

Have you been practicing your nail skills during quarantine? Here are a few tips that might come in handy.

If there is one thing we have learned in 2020, is that we should stay home as much as we can. Of course, spending so much time home comes with a fair deal of boredom, especially if you live on your own, and stress, given that going for an exhilarating night out or visiting with friends is getting increasingly difficult. Many people found comfort in their own creativity, picking up and dedicating time to their hobbies and, if possible, learning new skills. If you have experimented by giving yourself an at-home manicure, you’ll know that you’re able to get as creative as you wish and get exactly the nails that you wanted for a fraction of the price: so reward yourself with some you time and follow these tips to give yourself the perfect mani.

Whether your favorite technique is dips, gel, acrylics, or regular nail polish, you must start with a good base - and I’m not referring only to a good base coat: you need to treat your cuticles.

After having removed your old polish, you’ll want to start by soaking your fingers in warm water for a few minutes, as it helps soften the cuticles. The best way to take care of them would be applying cuticle oil every few days, but realistically it can be difficult to be that diligent.

Gently dry your fingers before applying cuticle oil and allow it to sit for a couple of moments. This will allow you to push them back with barely any effort. When pushing them back, remember to be gentle: you don’t want to scratch or ruin your nails!

The use of cuticle clippers is strongly debated, and in the end, it comes down to your individual preference. If you have been using it for a long time and have had no trouble with it, then you’ll probably want to keep using it. If you never have, then maybe see how simply pushing back your cuticles works for you.

If you believe your nails and fingers need some extra love, then apply nourishing hand cream and wait at least 15 minutes before washing your hands.

The first thing you will want to do before working on your actual nails is washing your hands (possibly even with dish soap) or cleaning your nail plate with nail polish remover once again. Your nails are covered in oils, mostly coming from your fingers, that could interact with your nail products and cause a suboptimal manicure. Washing your hands with soap or acetone will allow your products to adhere better and yield better long-lasting results.

At this point, focus on the length of your nails. If you need to trim them, maybe opt for nail scissors instead of a clipper, as the latter creates fractures and tears in your nails that may lead to peeling, cracking, and breaking.

The best way to shorten your nails, however, is filing them. This too should be done responsibly: regardless of how easy or timesaving it might be, you should avoid filing your nails both ways. The typical back-and-forth motion will fray the tip of your nails and easily cause breakage, so the best thing you could do is file them in one direction.

At this point, several people use a buffer to polish their nails and give them a “clear polish” look without actually having to use nail products. If you are going for a natural look (or you’ve run out of time – we have all been there!) then this might be a good idea; however, you should avoid buffing your nails if you wish to apply some color on them.

Smoothing your nail plate will reduce the grip the nail color has on it, even when it comes to plain nail polish. To make sure your color lasts longer, you’ll either want to leave your nails in their natural state (recommendable when using nail polish) or roughen them up a bit when using gel, dips, or acrylics.

The next steps depend only on your nail product of choice, as they all have different applications, perks, and cons. Regardless of your preferences, however, you’ll want to keep a neat worktable to make the application process as smooth as it can get. Using products such as the Saving Tray, Jar Liner or Brush Rest will allow you to have all of your mani tools organized and elevated from the table, which means no bumping fingers and no ruined polish. And if you love glitter and want to give an extra-professional finish to your at-home manicure, then you will love the glitter press, which will also allow you to make a perfect cuticle line with minimal effort.

The best tip I can give you, however, is to have fun and get creative. Your first homemade manicures will probably not be perfect, but they will be uniquely yours. Don't forget to pick up a shiny and sparkly Nailfie Prop to show off your at-home mani!

Check out a recent post How to Take the Perfect Nailfie for some tips and tricks to showing off your nails!

Comment below with your tips for an at-home-mani and don't forget to tag #nailpropshop on IG to have your nailfie featured!

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