I wish I had money in my budget for a regular manicure, but it’s just not there. Not to mention I don’t have time to drive 30 minutes both ways to the nearest salon (unbelievable right?). However this has forced me to get really good at painting my own nails, because going without is not really an option. I have learned a lot of tips over the years, mostly from my mom who is a cosmetologist, that will really step up your nail game and help you get the professional look you crave.
12 Tips for a Salon Quality Manicure
- After removing old nail polish, wash your hands to get rid of any stringy cotton pad residue. It is super annoying to have to keep removing cotton pad (or worse ball) fuzz from your nails while painting them. Save yourself the trouble.
- Always file towards the middle of your nail. This will prevent hang nails and rough edges. Also, filling all over in a willy-nilly fashion weakens the ends of your nails.
- Moisturize and push back your cuticles, but don’t trim. Other than to remove skinnies, refrain from trimming your cuticles as they will grow back tougher and coarser.
- After moisturizing, apply rubbing alcohol or polish remover to your nails to remove oil. The oil prevents the polish from sticking well to your nails. Use a paper towel to avoid leaving fuzz.
- Keep your polish a small distance from your cuticles. For a easy way to kick your nail game up a notch, paint almost, but not quite, up to your cuticles. Polish on your cuticles always looks sloppy, although I know it washes off in your next shower. You can also use this as a way to shape and enhance your nails by staying a little away from the skin on the sides of your nails, this will make them look longer and more slender.
- Apply polish in only 3 stripes. Start by applying it down the center of your nail then finish each side. This method produces the smoothest coat and the most precision.
- Always use a base coat. For three reasons: it helps the polish adhere to your nail, smooths out small ridges, and protects your nail from stains.
- Apply 2 coats of polish to ensure even color and good coverage.
- Let your nails dry at least 2 minutes between each coat. I know you have stuff to do and places to go, but you will save your self so much dry time at the end, if you let each coat dry separately. (if you’re in a really big hurry read tip 15 for the quickest nail drying secret)
- Use high quality polish. I hate to be a snob, but it really makes a difference in how long your manicure lasts, as well as how nice it looks. Some of my favorite brands are OPI, PS cosmecutical, and CND.
- Finish each nail with a lateral swipe of topcoat along the edge. This seals the end of your nail (the first place that nails start to chip) and makes your manicure last soooo much longer.
- For the fastest dry time, after applying all your polish, soak nails in ice water for 2-5 minutes (or as long as you can stand it). I love this tip for that last minute polish right before I run out the door. Note: this tip is best saved for emergencies as quick-dried polish, doesn’t tend to last as long (even if you use professional quick dry spray)
Theses are also great tips to get your toes ready for all those adorable summer sandals I know you are looking forward too. To make sure your fingers and toes complement each other instead of fighting for attention, try a monotone look. Pick a color, then do a lighter shade on your nails and a darker one on your toes. Or do nude on your nails paired with a bright red or pink on your toes. This is much more fun than having your toes and fingers match exactly, but ensures that your whole look goes together well.
What was your favorite tip. Do you have any to add?