A Manicure on the Cheap

I love getting manicures, but my weekly habit started getting a little too expensive. I’ll choose a nice meal over colorful fingers any day. So it was time for me to finally master the at-home manicure. It was long overdue because it turns out that I really like doing them! In addition to their cost-effectiveness, I don’t have to leave the house (always a chore) and I don’t have to make small talk (also a chore) with the manicurist. Plus, it’s a great way to procrastinate!

I’ve come up with a few tips to make the process easier. First, file/shape your nails and cut any excess skin away from your cuticles if you like. Picking at my cuticles verges on an obsession, but I can curb my habit if they are trimmed down. I’ve also found that if my nails are shorter, they don’t bend and cause the nail polish to crack and chip off. Then, coat your nails with OPI’s bond aid. It’s a formula that optimizes the pH level of your nails to help the polish adhere to them. After a manicurist in Chicago used this product on my nails and my manicure didn’t chip for a whole week, I knew it was worth the investment. Then, apply your favorite base coat to your nails and to their tips/top edges.

Next, apply one coat of your favorite nail polish. I used a Confetti brand polish called Cherries Jubilee that costs $1.99 at CVS and comes in a huge variety of colors. It’s a great, opaque formula that is very glossy and pigmented. While the polish itself is nice, its low cost is reflected in the bottle’s plastic cap and flimsy applicator brush. Overall, it’s definitely worth buying for trendy colors. Before your second coat, apply some nail polish to the tips/top edges of your nails. I’ve found that this step also prevents the polish from chipping. Then, apply your second coat. Lastly, apply your favorite top coat to your nails and to the tips/top edges. My favorite top coat is Seche Vite because it is really glossy and dries the polish super quickly. But I recently dropped the bottle on my bathroom floor, causing it to splatter all over my legs. I spent the next day peeling clear lacquer off my knees. Don’t do that!

I also try really hard to color in the lines, but I’ve found that if the nail polish gets on my fingers, a hot shower after the polish dries gets it right off. Enjoy your at-home manicure! I’d love to try out whatever tips you have for making your nails look great!

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