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How to Give Yourself a Manicure

Updated on September 6, 2014

Ladies, I know nothing feels better than getting your nails done. It's such a refreshing feeling that gives us a little boost of confidence. It adds some elegance and grace to our look. I used to get my nails done so frequently, I started mentally taking notes of the process they did at the nail salon. For me, not only is giving myself a manicure relaxing and therapeutic. But, it also saves me a lot of money. Now, if you only prefer to wear acrylic nails, then this post won't really benefit you. However, if you'd like to start wearing your natural nails, then stay tuned for some tips on how you can give yourself a manicure right from home!

What you'll need

There will be pictures of each item throughout the directions in case you are unsure what each tool is.

  • bowl of warm water
  • nail polish remover/pads or cotton balls
  • nail filer/clippers
  • cuticle cream
  • cuticle pusher
  • hand lotion
  • 2 Q-tips
  • Calcium nail polish
  • colored nail polish of your choice
  • If you prefer to do white tips, it's a good idea to buy stickers to help you paint straight lines
  • Top clear coat
  • No-stick Cooking spray


Don't get me wrong, I'm no salon expert. But, I have very long, healthy nails. I have shared this routine with many of my friends and they now love giving their selves manicures as well!

Nail polish remover

Remove any previous nail polish you have on. Even if you don't have any nail polish on, I still recommend doing this step. It will just clean your nails and get off any dirt to prepare you for the rest of the manicure.

Bowl of warm water

Get a bowl of warm sink water. Make sure that it's not too hot where it burns your hands. Let your hands soak in the water for 5-7 minutes. This will help to soften your nails for a few minutes so that it is easier to clip or file them if you need to.

Clippers/Nail Filer

Filing your nails can actually make them weaker and break them, so try to only file them if you really have to. If you have a chipped part of your nail, try to just clip it instead of filing it. But, if the chip is lower on your nail, sometimes the only option is to file so that you don't have to cut the nail too short. PS: It is also good to trim your nails every now and then to help them grow faster and stronger.

Cuticle Cream

Any cuticle cream will work for this. I've tried many different kinds, and they all seem to work pretty equally. Rub the cream in a circular motion into your cuticles.

Cuticle Pusher

Use the pusher to gently push your cuticles back. This will make your nails appear longer, and make it easier to paint them.

Hand lotion

Any hand lotion will work for this. You can use an inexpensive lotion from the drugstore, and it will probably work just as well. This step is necessary for moisturizing your hands.


Use a q-tip to wipe the lotion off your nails, but make sure to keep the lotion on your hands!

Whether you're a lefty or a righty, we all have that hand that ends up looking like a five year old painted it. If you get nail polish on your skin, dip a q-tip in the nail polish remover and wipe it off your skin. Using a q-tip helps you to be precise in where you wipe the nail polish off.

Calcium nail polish

Calcium nail polish will work as a base coat for your nail polish to keep your nails from getting stained and help the nail polish stay on longer. Calcium also works WONDERS for your nails in helping them to grow faster and stronger. I have tried a few different calcium nail polishes, and my personal favorite is made by Revlon. You can get it from a drugstore for 3 or 4 dollars.

If you are doing white tips, skip this step. You will have to use stickers to be able to paint a straight line, and when you peel off the sticker, it will partially peel of the calcium nail polish. This just ends up looking messy.

Colored nail polish

Wait until the calcium nail polish is completely dried. Then paint your first coat. Make sure you paint the coat thin. Wait until that coat is COMPLETELY dry and paint a second coat. If you paint too thick of coats, or don't wait for each coat to dry, your nail polish is not going to stay on nearly as long.

White tips aka French Manicure

If you prefer to have white tips, you can buy stickers from a drugstore for just a couple of bucks. These help you to paint the white tips in a straight line. Place them on your nails like in this picture to the right, and then begin to paint the tips white. Peel the stickers off slowly so that it doesn't mess up the polish.

Top clear coat

Wait until the second or third coat of nail polish is completely dry before you paint the top clear coat. When you paint this coat, try to paint over the top of your nail and onto the part of your nail that is by your nail bed. This will seal your nail polish on to help it stay on longer.

No-Stick Cooking Spray

You can use any oil spray for this. Spray it on your hands so that it completely covers your nails. I'm not really sure why, but this makes SUCH a difference when it comes to preventing your nail polish from chipping. Your hands will be all greasy, so use a napkin to wash excess spray off of your hands, but try to keep it on your nails for as long as possible. The oil is also great for your cuticles.

I hope that you guys all enjoy giving yourself an at home manicure as much as I do. Like I said, it's very therapeutic, and it saves you lots of money!

Are there any tips you have for building long, healthy nails? Please also leave any additional comments!

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      Jessica 3 years ago

      Suzi, I love your writing, you paint ptuecris with your words, looking forward to future posts. Lucy is a very lucky girl to have such an inspirational Mimi.