Need to give yourself a little TLC? An at-home manicure can give you more than some self-care time well spent, it can also help you save money and make you feel more put together. Because when we look good, we feel good. And when our nails look impeccable, we feel like we can take on anything, don’t we?
Yet, for some of us DIY newbies, achieving a salon-quality mani and pedi doesn’t always garner the same results. This is usually because we’re not following the proper order, and we don’t have the best tools. From thoroughly removing your old polish to adding the best nail drill to your arsenal, let’s walk through how to get Instagram-worthy results at home.
Start With A Clean Slate
Remove all your old nail polish, including that little bit that often gets overlooked on the edges. If you are already polish-free, it’s still a good idea to swipe each nailbed to remove dirt and oil that can mess with your base coat.
Invest In The Best Nail Drill For Home Manicures
File and buff your nails manually or pick up a nail drill to do the heavy lifting for you using an array of drill bits that will smooth, shape and buff your nails. They can also help remove stubborn gel polish and help you remove acrylics. If you’re in the market for a new appliance, check out our selection of the best nail drills, vetted by a team of experts.
Exfoliate Your Skin
Give your hands and wrists a good scrub to remove dead cells and then lather up with lotion to replenish lost moisture.
Gently Push Back Cuticles
Use a cuticle remover to help soften and dissolve dead skin. Then use a cuticle stick to gently push your cuticles back. Since they help protect your nails from bacteria, you don’t want to cut them — just push them back. Then wash your hands with soap and water to remove any leftover lotion.
Paint On Layers
Hydrate and protect your nails with a base coat that will also prevent chipping and staining your nails. Let it dry, and then apply your first layer of color. Add a second if necessary for an even appeal. The trick is for each layer to be thin, to minimize drying time and bubbling.
How do the pros do it? Apply one stripe down the middle, and then one on each side. If you have trouble gripping the bottle, try using a polish handle to help you keep a steady hand.
If you plan to add nail art, this is the time. Finish with a topcoat to prevent chipping and add shine. While it might be tempting to skip it, don’t! A top coat is the key to locking in all your hard work.
Touch Up Leftover Polish
Use a bit of cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover or a nail polish remover pad to clean up excess polish as it begins to dry on the skin. Another trick is to wait until your nails are completely dry and then wash your hands with warm soap and water. Small bits of polish on your skin will usually peel right off during this process.
For gel polish manicures, cure nails in between coats with a UV or LED light.
This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money. Checkout Don't Waste Your Money for product reviews and other great ideas to save and make money.