Going to the salon to get a manicure may be fun, but going time and time again can cost you a lot of money. Money that you should really save for college. So take our advice and learn how to get a really great manicure at home. It really doesn’t take that much precision and skill. Just the right tools, lots of patience, and being prepared to clean up any little mistakes. So read on and try doing your own nails tonight!


  • Nail polish remover
  • Nail file
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail buffer
  • Clear nail polish and your choice of color
  • Q tips/paintbrush


1. Begin by removing old nail polish. Use nail polish remover even if your nails are already bare. It’ll get off all the excess dirt and oil on your nails.

2. Now shape your nails with your clippers and nail file. Remember to only file in one direction. Filing back and forth weakens the nail.

3. Soak hands for a minute or two in warm water. If you want to be extremely luxurious, apply lotion after soaking your hands. Use more nail polish remover to clean the lotion from your nails.

4. Using a wooden stick or your fingernails, push back your cuticles. If you need extra help with your cuticles, use a cuticle remover. I like using Sally Hensen Cuticle remover.

5. Now take out your nail buffer and buff each of your nails. The buff should have four sides. Use them in the order that is specified, to get a smooth matte surface which will make your polish job look better and will let the nail polish adhere to your nails better.

6. Now your nails are ready for polish. Do one clear coat, at least two coats of color, and one more clear coat on top, leaving a little time in between each coat for them to dry. Don’t worry about being messy and getting polish on your fingers. Focus on a smooth application and aim for three brush strokes (middle, side, side).

ECG Tip: If you have longer nails, add a fourth brush stroke across the tip of of your nail to seal the nail and prevent chipping.

7. Now that all the coats are finished you may think that you’ve gotten more nail polish on your fingers than on your actual nail, but that really doesn’t matter since you’re going to do touch ups with nail polish remover. Using a q tip or a paint brush dipped in nail polish remover work to remove all the excess polish.

ECG Tip: If you tend to be very messy, do your nails at night following all these steps. Then when you get up the next morning (when your nails are completely dry) focus of picking of any excess polish that is still on your fingers using your fingernails or tweezers. It can really make a difference, especially if you’re a perfectionist.

8. If you really want to feel like you’re at the salon use a nail finishing spray once you’re finished. And voila! Beautiful nails.

What Do You Think?

Do you do your nails at home? What special steps do you take to make them look good? Leave us a comment and let us know!



  1. avatar Chelsea says:

    I thought I might share this little bit they taught us when I was going to school: When Painting nails, use no less than three strokes, no more than six to paint a single nail. We also ALWAYS do two coats of polish, the first one is to cover the nail but is further away from the cuticle than the second coat. The second coat is the coat that you get closer to the skin on your fingers, it also deepens the colour of the polish.
    Thought that might help!

  2. avatar Goldie says:

    Don’t you have any tips for nail art polishing? looking forward to it, I think its amazing to know some basic steps though..

  3. avatar kbg5797 says:

    When i do my nails i always get nail polish on the sides. Then when i go to take it off i always mess it up. But when i do a french manicure they usally look good. The only thing i cant get a hang of is water marbling!!!! i think its sooo pretty but i cant do it.

  4. avatar Allison says:

    Could you tell me the name of the color that you used in the picture??? I love it!

  5. avatar CINDY says:

    A tip for people who suck at keeping the nail polish on their nails: do your nails before you shower.

    The dead skin on your fingers will schelp off in the shower, taking all the nail polish mistakes with it.

  6. avatar Annelise says:

    I always push the sides of my nailbeds away to get the polish all the way across the nail. That way, when they grow out, the non-polished part doesn’t show as bad 8)

  7. avatar Amy says:

    Very helpful! I had no clue about filing directions, so thank you for pointing that out. It would be really awesome if you had posted pics – I’m a visual person u_u

  8. avatar Julie says:

    I usually do my nails about an hour or so before bed so that they can dry completely. For me if I do them during the day then I cannot help but try to do something right after which ends up messing up my nails! So frustrating! So for me doing them at night works best, but I bet earlier is better for some people

  9. avatar Anna says:

    I`d say it`s better to apply nail polish earlier in the day, because if it`s a cheaper nailpolish or you don`t use anything quick drying on top, you are very likely to end up with marks from your bedspread on the freshly painted nails.

  10. avatar MXJ says:

    I always get polish on my fingers, but after a shower it goes away.

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