Giving yourself lovely looking nails at-home is no easy job – especially if you’re used to visiting your nail technician often.
I’m actually not too bad here. I only get gel nails done around 5 times a year, with the occasional acrylic set for a special holiday or occasion. And (braggy pants time) I’m quite lucky to have nails that grow quickly and to a pretty good strength. That being said, I know soooooo many ladies who aren’t as fortunate, therefore it’s not unusual for them to visit their nail salon more than their families sometimes!
Whether it’s a weekly manicure, fortnightly set of gel nails, acrylic or shellac that you invest in, there’s no doubt you’ll be struggling to keep on top of your nails now we’re all at home. DIY nails ‘salon style’ isn’t easy for the majority of us: you have to worry about your cuticles and applying polish evenly, and the dreaded fear of applying polish or acrylic with your non-dominant hand *shudders at the thought*
Whether you’re turning to at-home nails because your go-to salon is closed or you’re just trying to save some money, I thought I’d put some tips together for how to look after your nails as best you can while we’re all missing our trusty nail tech. Of course, I’m no professional, but I’ve been researching some advice to share for the past few weeks so hopefully it might help a few of you!
Master an at-home manicure:
There are just 3 fool-proof steps to a sleek DIY manicure, and the first one is to use a good base product. A high quality one from brands such as OPI and Nails Inc is a requirement for making sure your nails are prepped for polish, plus, a base coat protect your nails from polish and staining, and helps prevent your manicure from chipping.
Next, apply two coats of polish. If you’re using a polish that’s super sheer, you may need a third coat, but usually two coats should do the trick. You can apply any shade you need – it’s your manicure!
The final step is to apply a top coat. Again, you can get quality top coats from a range of brands. This will seal in all your hard work and makes your manicure look extra shiny and finished. A little extra tip here is to apply another top coat once your manicure is three days old. This extra coat will prevent your nails from prematurely chipping and also keep them looking shiny and fresh.
Learn at-home acrylic nail application
First of all, you need a good acrylic nail kit which is designed for at-home and professional use. Most of them contain the nail powder and liquid you need to apply. For the full list of everything you need, this list here should be helpful: Acrylic nail powder, clippers, nail file, nail liquid, applicator brush, acetone, nail buffer, electric nail buffer, nail primer, cuticle stick, a large fluffy brush to dust off powders and lint free cotton pads.
Of course, it depends on your result. You can get away without using all the above, it just depends on how perfect you want them looking!
Now I’m not a nail technician or a nail professional as mentioned before, so I would strongly recommend heading to YouTube and following a professional step by step from a top nail expert. There are loads out there!
In a nutshell, you’ll need to make sure you have any old polish or gel/acrylics removed before you begin. You’ll need to trim and file the nails, and then use the cuticle remover. Then, nail primer is used before moving onto the exciting bit of applying the powders and liquids.
If you have a steady hand, a bit of patience and an good vision of the result, you can get incredible looking nails at home this way.
At-home gel nails
Gel nails are a personal favourite of mine, and it’s fairly simply to pull off yourself at-home. Before you attempt an at-home gel mani, you need to make sure you have the right supplies, and with this, there are two options: You can buy a gel nail kit online or you can buy all the pieces separately. Along with this, it’s essential to have a UV lamp, a cuticle oil, a nail buff, a top coat, a base coat, and gel nail polish to get started.
A cheats way is to use a regular nail polish and a gel top coat, or, some brands these days have gel polishes which dry without lamps. However, you’ll get the best results from the professional kits.
After you have cut and trim your nails, you’ll then need to apply a cuticle oil. Buff your nails from edge to edge, and apply your professional base coat. This is a must! If you have a nail strengthener base coat, even better.
Then, apply your gel polish, placing nails under the UV lamp. Finish with a top coat, and again, place fingers under the UV lamp for one final top up time.
With all the above techniques, it’s best to watch a few YouTube tutorials first before you start! The last thing you need is to spend money of the kit, and then make a complete mess of it while on lockdown!