Having manicured nails has always been one of the little things that I really enjoy. I think it helps us not feel as self conscious about our hands (and feet). Unfortunately, even if your polish stays looking perfect for two weeks, your manicure won’t look fresh because by that time, it’s grown out. I’m frequently asked if and where I got my nails done, but I’m gonna let you in on a little secret… I do them myself. Here’s how.
Find a Polish You Love
It took me a while to figure out a polish that worked for me. I experimented with those home gel kits (complete with lamp). While my nails did look professionally done, I discovered that I’m allergic to something in those polishes, and that caused a lot of problems. I was really sad to give those up. If you can use them without any problems, I definitely recommend. Eventually, I landed on regular OPI polish. No polish is perfect, but it wears really well and they have a great color selection.
Prep Your Nails Well
Clip your nails to all be the same length and file the edges smooth. Put oil (coconut oil, olive oil) on your cuticles and gently push your cuticles back, but don’t trim them! It’s hard to do properly, and when your cuticles are dry, they’re going to look awful if they’ve been trimmed, I promise. To prep your nails well, you have to meet the needs of your nails. Know your nails. Do the layers split? Lightly buff out the tips of your nails. Do your nails split at the sides? When you file the edges, don’t forget to smooth the sides. Avoid cleaning out from under your nails to keep the side splits from happening.
Paint Thin, Even Layers and Let Them Dry
Over the years, there were two roadblocks between me and a good manicure: painting too thick, and not allowing the polish enough time to dry. Paint your nails when you’re gonna have a little bit of time. I usually do mine while I’m watching TV. If you watch The Bachelor, you have a 2 hour block to get this done.
Finish off the Edge
I typically do two coats of color and a clear top coat. But here’s something I’ve started doing that has extended the life of my manicure: I lightly run the top coat brush across the tip of my nail, so that the thickness of the nail has a light coat of polish. I’ve tested this by painting one hand with and one hand without, and the difference has been significant.
By the time a week has passed, my nails have usually grown enough that I think I’d like a fresh manicure. Your nails will always look most fresh when done weekly. I try to do them once a week, but at least once every other week.