DIY: What You Need For A Salon-Grade Manicure At Home

Well manicured nails. Spa and wellness concept.

June 14, 2018:

Nothing says all-night-pampering like a successful at-home DIY session. Sure, going to the salon feels dreamy, but sometimes you just want to spend some me-time over a glass of wine in front of the TV. Thankfully, you don’t really need to choose one or the other. We’ve put together a handful of must-have mani essentials that will leave your nails looking salon-level without requiring you to leave the couch.


Prep your nails

We swear by this stuff from Zoya to get the toughest of nail polishes off – including glitter — without stripping your nails and skin. As an added bonus, this gentle but does-the-job formula has a spill-proof bottle that lets you pump out just the right amount of polish remover onto your cotton pad. In order to get the right shape, go for a pair of nail cutters like Revlon’s 2-in-1 that have a wider grip, which allows for more precise control. For salon-level filing, avoid disposable ones and instead, opt for a glass file like this one. Not only are they more hygienic (easier to clean with warm water and soap), but they’re also much more gentle on your nails when it comes to buffing and more durable. You’ll definitely notice an immediate difference at how much easier it is to achieve your desired nail shape, too.  In terms of cuticles, we have to admit that cutting them does seem intimidating at first glance. It’s about having the right tools. Start with a cuticle cutter that is precise (look for one with a thin tip, like the Tweezerman Cuticle Nipper). The key to removing your cuticles painlessly is to get your cuticles moisturized enough. Leave on a gentle formula that has exfoliating properties, like CND’ Cuticle Eraser (which softens the skin around your nails) or Sally Hansen’s Cuticle Remover, which also works great on calluses.


Once you’ve callus and cuticle free, dry off well. Next is hydration, which is key to maintaining a long-lasting manicure. Apply a generous layer of your favorite hand cream. For this, pick something rich and extra-moisturizing. Our personal favorites for super-dry hands include the decadently-scented L’Occitane hand creams, Soap & Glory’s shea-butter infused Hand Food, and Burt’s Bees Hand Salve if you’re prone to extra-dry cuticles. A base coat is important, so definitely don’t skip (or skimp!) this step. Opt for a multi-purpose product (Sally Hansen makes an affordable option, here) that will not only lengthen how long your mani will stay put, but also strengthen and protect your nails at the same time.

Make it last

Once you’ve topped off with your color and style of choice (if you need some inspo, check out some of our most-loved nail trends of the summer), it’s time for top coat and drying. Seche Vite and Infinite Shine Pro-Stay are both salon-favorites with cult followings for a reason. Both give you that glossy finish while sealing your mani to prolong your paint job and cut down your dry time = win-win. If you do happen to smudge during drying, have no fear. Instant-smudge fixers have come a long way. Try Kur’s Smudge Fix, which helps erase any dents or chips, so you don’t have to redo from scratch.


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