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How to Give Yourself a Manicure or Pedicure at Home

Updated on May 21, 2012

Looking for a quick pick-me-up? If that dress won't zip or a pimple's got you down, grab a nail file and some nail polish, and you'll be feeling beautiful in nothing flat. Doing manicures and pedicures yourself is easy if you've got the right tools and you give yourself enough time. Knowing how to give yourself a manicure at home will save you a lot of time and money at the salon.

At-home manicures and pedicures will also keep your nails healthy and beautiful. Regular nail care will smooth nails and remove any imperfections. This will help keep nails from splitting and breaking, which is important even if you're not the girly-girl nail polish type.

What You'll Need For Your At-Home Mani-Pedi

  • Bowl of warm water
  • Cuticle oil or cuticle cream
  • Cuticle Stick
  • Towel
  • Nail Clippers
  • Nail File
  • Buffing Block


  • Base Coat
  • Nail Polish
  • Top Coat
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Cotton Pads

10 Steps to a Perfect At-Home Manicure and Pedicure

  1. If you're wearing nail polish, remove it with a cotton pad and nail polish remover.
  2. Trim your nails with nail clippers if they've gotten too long. You'll get the perfect shape later, so don't worry about it now.
  3. Shape your nails with a nail file. File your nails in one direction. Start at the edge and file towards the center. Filing back and forth will damage you nails. Short nails with rounded edges will give you a modern look.
  4. Soak your hands in warm water for a few minutes to soften your cuticles. Now is the time to exfoliate if you'd like to. If you're doing a pedicure remove calluses with a pumice stone.
  5. Put cuticle cream or oil at the base of your nails. Let it soak in for a few minutes, then take a cuticle stick and gently push them back. Don't cut your cuticles. This puts you at risk of infection. Wipe your nails clean before you continue.
  6. With the coarsest side of your buffer, buff each nail in a circular motion. This will smooth out imperfections in your nails. Next, move to the next finer side to smooth the nail. Repeat with each side of the buffer. You'll end up with shiny, beautiful nails. You can stop here or you can continue on to polish.
  7. Apply clear base coat onto each nail and allow to dry. Don't skip this step. Base coat hydrates your nails and prevents splitting. It also protects your nails against discoloration from the polish.
  8. Apply two thin coats of your favorite nail polish. Let your nails dry a few minutes between layers. Be careful not to apply it too thickly. Thick polish is more likely to chip, and it can look uneven.
  9. Apply a thin top coat. This will protect your polish.
  10. Reapply top coat every other day or so to make your manicure last even longer.

DIY manicures and pedicures are easy if you have the right tools and a little patience.
DIY manicures and pedicures are easy if you have the right tools and a little patience. | Source

Giving yourself manicures and pedicures will get faster and easier with a little practice. Care for your nails about once a week. You'll notice them getting stronger and healthier, which will allow you to go longer between mani-pedis.

Congratulations! You now have a beautiful manicure and pedicure that you did yourself at home! You can change your nail polish as often as you like without breaking the bank at the salon. Not to mention your nails will be beautiful and healthy.


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    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 3 years ago from Virginia

      Love your hub. Easy to read through for a quick refresher. I never use a base coat, but will now.

    • emmyanne profile image

      Emmy 5 years ago from Australia

      I totally agree, having pretty nails always makes you feel good about yourself. Great article :)

    • Modern Lady profile image

      Modern Lady 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      @Brainy Bunny - Don't give up! It just takes some practice. I always seem to better painting my toes than my hands - perhaps because my standards are lower since they are farther away.

      @ P for Peony - I couldn't agree more. I prefer doing it myself too. I especially don't like other people touching my feet.

    • P FOR PEONY profile image

      Peony 5 years ago

      A concise step-by-step! Unlike most girls who'd prefer to be pampered at a salon or nail bar, I actually dislike strangers 'messing' with me. I paint my nails myself but this is way detailed!

    • Brainy Bunny profile image

      Brainy Bunny 5 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Ahhhh. . . If only I had the patience to do this. . . And the dexterity. I always spill SOMETHING when I polish my nails!