On naked manicures + my top tips and products to D.I.Y. your best nails yet.
Hey besties, today we’re talking about self care, in the form of nail polish. As someone who rarely takes the time to treat herself to a manicure but desperately wants to be the kind of fancy lady that’s always buffed and shined, I’m making an effort to take things into my own hands and, well, take better care of my hands.
When my nails look good, I feel like I have my life a little more together. (Anyone else?!) Painting my nails is a small self care ritual that I’m trying to make part of my regular routine. The process itself feels like a mini meditation, and the finished product delivers a tiny dose of dopamine every time I look down at my hands. We need all the dopamine we can get these days, people!
I love a good nail salon pampering session for a special occasion, but I mostly do it at home. After more than a decade of practice, I think I finally have a grasp on getting the perfect D.I.Y. manicure.
Here are the easy video tutorials that helped me hone my technique + the products and tools I always have in my home manicure kit.
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Start With The Basics
This quick Mani 101 video from Olive & June completely upgraded the way I do my nails at home. It’s super simple, requires just a few essential tools, and teaches you how to get salon quality results on your own. Her cuticle trick and shaping tips took my nail game to the next level.
If you struggle with chipped and peeling polish just a few days in, check out these 8 tips for making your manicure last.
Build Your Toolkit
I still have my childhood Caboodle and it’s filled with my home manicure kit. It includes: the best $4 nail clippers, a cuticle nipper, instant cuticle remover, nail buffer blocks, medium grit nail files, this ridge-filling primer, and my favorite nail O.P.I. and Essie polishes.
Lately I’m loving the Essie Gel Couture 2-step manicure set, which eliminates the need for extra base and top coats. It’s the quickest route to a successful mani that almost looks like a fresh gel set from the salon.
If I have more time to use one of my regular nail polishes, I have 2 picks for the best top coat. One is Essie’s Fastest Drying Top Coat — it does exactly what it says — and the other is Seche Vive’s Instant Gel Top Coat, which dries to a high shine finish and is the closest dupe I’ve found to a gel finish without the LED light.
Other Hand Care
To keep your D.I.Y. manicure looking fresh, make hand care part of your daily routine. Since I’m so rough on my hands as a floral designer, I have hand lotion stashed everywhere at work and home. Necessaire’s hand cream sinks in quickly, so it’s perfect to slather on after handwashing and get right back to work. When my hands are extra battered at the end of the day, I reach for Weleda Skin Food and pile it on. And I recently started using this retinol hand treatment; I keep it on my nightstand and try to remember to put it on at bedtime.
The Naked Manicure
If you want the most low-maintenance routine, but still want your nails to look buffed and healthy, I love this naked manicure kit. For around the price of one professional manicure, this perfecting kit has everything you need to get lots of your-nails-but-better DIY manis at home. It treats, improves discoloration, and protects in five minutes, leaving your nails with a natural satin buff finish that lasts. Over time and repeated use, the Zoya Naked Manicure kit improves nails’ strength, condition and flexibility. It’s especially great if you need a rehab from acrylics or gel manicures.
I bought my first kit in a local salon in 2015, and over the years, I’ve lost count of how many times I repurchased. It’s a staple that I always want to have on-hand. (Pun intended.) Now you can find it on Amazon!
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Read more manicure posts from my blog archives:
Easy Home Manicure With Essie Gel Couture