We all know and love the feeling of freshly-painted nails. However, as COVID-19 related social distancing measures become more widespread, many nail salons around the country have been forced to close their doors. In a few simple steps, you can recreate the salon experience at home for a perfect manicure at a fraction of the cost. So, light some candles, press play on the perfect spa playlist, and get ready to #TreatYourself.
Step 1: Prep
You may have some pre-quarantine gel or dip polish still on your nails. Never fear: there are ways to remove these types of polish at home using 100% Acetone Nail Polish Remover, which is available at many grocery stores. Just be sure not to get the acetone on furniture, which it can corrode. Once your nails are bare, clip them — if desired — and shape them with a file.
Step 2: Soak
Next, fill a small bowl with warm water and soak your hands for around 5 minutes. This will soften your nails and cuticles, and for an extra treat, add a pinch of bath soak or even a piece of a bath bomb to the water. I love “The Martini” Emotional Detox Bath Soak from Goop.
Once your nails are soft, gently push back your cuticles with an orange wood stick. They are super inexpensive, and will make your mani last much longer.
Step 3: Scrub
Using a hand scrub is super relaxing and leaves your hands feeling soft. Especially with all of the hand-washing we have been doing recently, our hands need the extra TLC. Any body scrub works — try this one from Herbivore — or make your own at home by mixing 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup olive oil, and essential oils to scent (I like lavender). Be sure to scrub all the way up your forearms, too. Rinse, then apply your favorite lotion.
Step 4: Paint
Time to paint! This part can be intimidating, but with a little practice, you’ll be painting like a pro in no time. One tip I’ve found to be super helpful is to push the polish into the cuticle rather than placing the brush directly on the base of the nail. Refer to YouTube for more tips & tricks, and remember — if you mess up, you can always touch up with a Q-Tip dipped in polish remover!
Depending on the shade, you should apply 2-3 coats. I also recommend using a base and top coat. My absolute favorite polish is Deborah Lippmann‘s Gel Lab Pro line: it gives the same long-lasting shine as gel polish, without the potentially harmful UV light. Be sure to check out our roundup of Spring 2020 nail trends for inspo!
Voilà — perfect nails, all at home!