Nothing makes us say, "YAS GIRL!" more than a killer manicure. If you don't have the time to make it to the salon, or don't want to keep up with the rising cost of services, do it at home with the help of our DIY Mani guide! Whether you're going for a wild and crazy look, or something more professional, you'll be ready for your next career as a hand model in 11 simple steps.
Pushing back your cuticles helps maintain that fresh and clean looking manicure. Using a good cuticle pusher and gently pushing back your cuticles is a great first step. Remember to never cut them!
What to use: Tweezerman Pushy
Why we love it: The debate over wooden vs. metal cuticle tools is real. We prefer the metal versions because they last longer and stay cleaner. The Tweezerman Pushy is a great size to help keep your cuticles in the perfect, half moon shape
Clipping your fingernails helps you make sure all your nails are an even length. Careful not to get too carried away here! Clipping your nails too short can be painful.
What to use: Sally Hansen Control Grip Nail Clipper
Why we love it: Slipping while cutting your nails is never fun. These nail clippers have a great grip to help you stay sturdy when trimming your nails. Sally Hansen has tons of other useful mani pedi tools too!
Filing after clipping allows you to get the shape you’re after. Use a high quality nail file to shape your nails and smooth rough edges.
What to use: Tweezerman Filemates
Why we love it: These nail files are nice and thick, so they won’t bend or break while you’re perfecting your nail shape. They come in a ton of fun colors and last a long time.
Buffing out your nails after you shape them helps even out the texture of your nails. Smooth out the surface with a buffing block to help polish sit nicely on your nails. No one wants polish sinking into ridges!
What to use: Trim Nail Buffing Block
Why we love it: Trim makes buffing easy! The buffing block comes in bright colors that are clearly labeled to guide you through smoothing out your nails.
After your nails are shaped and buffed, exfoliate your hands. This step helps to get rid of any dead skin or rough patches on your hands. Nothing ruins a pretty looking manicure than rough hands.
Why we love it: If you’re after something that will do a killer job exfoliating, but won’t be too rough, this is the scrub for you! It’s safe to use as a body scrub and smells great too.
After all the rough patches and dead skin are gone, add a hand cream or moisturizer to help keep your hands silky, smooth, and soft.
What to use: Aveda Hand Relief
Why we love it: For super smooth, hydrated hands, this is our go to! It’s thicker than a moisturizer, and you’ll want to wait about 10 minutes before moving on to the prep step, but it’s totally worth it (and it smells ahhhhhmazing!).
Removing excess oils from your nails is a really important step for a long lasting manicure. Grab a cotton ball and your favorite prepping product and clean each fingernail to remove any oil.
What to use: Alcohol Prep Pads
Why we love it:You can use any rubbing alcohol for this step, but we love having alcohol prep pads around. These small squares are super convenient!
Choosing a good base coat is key! There are base coats for every kind of nail: ridge fillers, strengthening polishes, growth enhancing polishes, and vitamin rich primers. Whichever you decide to go with, make sure it’s your first polish step.
What to use: Essie First Base Base Coat
Why we love it: This is a great, general base coat option to suit everyone. It helps protect your nails from the color and top coats, while helping the color coat stick to your nails.
Sometimes, the hardest part of this step is choosing a color! Once your base coat is dry, apply two coats of your favorite polish. Make sure to wrap the edges of your nails to keep the front from chipping.
What to use: Essie Gel Couture Polish
Why we love it: Not all no light gel polishes were created equal! This polish definitely does what it says and lasts up to 14 days. It’s smooth, just like normal polish, and goes on really easily. The new rounded tip brush helps keep the color from going all over the place.
Once your colored polish is dry, top it off with a top coat. We love the traditionally, ultra shiny top coat, but there are plenty of matte options out there too! Grab a no light gel top coat to keep your color looking great for longer.
What to use: Essie Gel Couture Top Coat
Why we love it: This top coat was designed for the Gel Couture Polish. It helps to seal the polish, helping it last longer. We’ve tried this top coat over regular polish too and while it didn’t last 14 days, it did last longer than a regular top coat!
We’re definitely not master mani artists, so we always end up with a little color on our skin. Using a small brush, dip it into nail polish remover and wipe away any stray color from around your nails.
What to use: e.l.f. Cosmetics eyeshadow brush
Why we love it: This brush is the perfect size for cleaning up the area around your nails. It’s sturdy, but soft and will last through plenty of at home manis!
And just like that you're nails are as fresh as if you just walked out of the salon (but for half the cost). The best part? You can snag all the tools you need form Piggeeback, earn cash rewards, and have your nail toolkit ready to go at a moments notice. No more waiting at the salon or paying high prices. Slay, girl!