How to Give Yourself a Manicure

How to give yourself a salon manicure at home
How to give yourself a salon manicure at home - The Well Dressed Life

Today, we’re walking step-by-step through the process of how to give yourself a manicure at home. With the right tools, products and about 30 minutes you’ll quickly elevate your look while saving time and money. 

We talk weekly about how to look more polished and pulled together. Obviously, our clothes play a huge role. Their quality, fit, and the general composition of an outfit all work together to create an elevated look. 

But what about that one friend we all have that’s wearing her workout clothes, or a simple pair of jeans and a tee shirt on the sidelines of her kid’s soccer game and looks impeccable? Why does she always look so great even when she’s not wearing anything particularly special?

It’s all in the details of how she’s groomed. And I would bet that her nails are manicured. Tiny details, like well-manicured nails, make a huge difference in our overall look.

How to Give Yourself a Manicure at Home 

So many of my friends religiously maintain their weekly manicure appointments, but I just can’t get myself together enough to stick to a schedule. Maybe I’m missing the “salon is fun” gene? 

I’m already over-scheduled as it is, so I find them to be a colossal drain on my time. While the idea of sitting for an hour or two sounds heavenly, like so many of you, there is little margin in my day.

Salon appointments also costs a pretty penny and that adds up. We all need to find places to save so we can spend in others. For me,  with the exception of special events and the occasional pedicure, I’ve been skipping the salon and giving myself manicures at home.

After a lot of trial and error, I’ve figured out how to give yourself a manicure quickly and simply and the tools we really need to get salon results at home. So if you feel like I do, and want an elevated look without draining  your resources, follow my steps below. 

How to Give Yourself a Manicure

How to Give Yourself a Manicure

Top Coat, $11.50  |  Nail Polish, $11.50  |  Hand Scrub, $10  |  Cuticle Oil, $20  |  Cuticle Pusher, $12.50  |  Nail File, $2

How to Give Yourself a Manicure Step by Step 

The secret to a shiny, and long-wearing manicure at home is using quality products and taking the time to prep your nails. It’s kind of like painting a room. The more time you spend getting ready, the easier it is to paint and the better the result.

Typically I do this on a Sunday night as part of my getting-ready -for-the-week-self-care-routine.  Honestly, its the only time I have to myself all week long, so I happily hand the baby over to my husband while the big girls get ready for their own busy week, and lock myself in my bathroom for an hour. 

Multitasking is the name of the game, so I pack a lot in that hour. 

Here’s how to give yourself a manicure at home in less then the time it takes to drive to the salon. 

Trim your nails

My nails grow fast, I’m always typing and I’m blessed with long nail beds so I keep mine as short as possible.  Plus, the shorter you keep your nails the less you’ll deal with chipping and the longer your manicure will last. 

Soak and scrub your nails

Depending on how much time I have, I might sit for a few minute and soak my nails. This is a helpful step in getting your nails clean and your cuticles soft. More often, though, I hop in the shower with a body scrub and use the steam of the shower instead. 

I found this scrub at Target last year and use it almost every day.  It’s great for your body pre self tan and on your hands and nails. It gently exfoliates while leaving your skin soft and smooth. 

After I trim my nails, I hop in the shower, scrub this on my hands and nails and gently push my cuticles back with a warm wash cloth.  It’s a great buy for under $10.

Take care of your cuticles

Healthy cuticles are essential for youthful looking hands and nails. Depending on the state of your cuticles you might need a little more than just pushing them back with a wash cloth. 

Cuticle cutting is controversial, but if you need to trim them or remove a hangnail move with caution and use a pair of cuticle scissors. I also recently picked up this cuticle remover at Target for $3. It helps you easily trim them back with more control than the scissors.

Your skin should soft from your shower or soak. Never cut your cuticles when your hands are dry, it’s too easy to trim too much and cut yourself in the process.

Likely you’ll just need to clean up your nail bed and push back your cuticles. For this use a cuticle oil. I have a few I like. L’Occitane has a nice one, this one by Essie also works well and is affordable, and I recently started using OPI’s cuticle pen and I love it.

Apply the oil around the nail bed and gently push with with this cuticle pusher

To keep my cuticles in good shape, and make subsequent manicures easier, I brush a little of the oil on my nails at night before bed. It’s helpful to use it throughout the day too if you are constantly washing your hands in hot water. 

Related: How to Look Expensive Without Breaking the Bank 

Dry off

Take a dry towel and wipe any extra moisture off your nails before you file and polish. You want your nails bone dry. If you file wet nails they will break easily. 

File

Don’t go crazy with this step.  All you want to do is lightly file down any rough edges. You can use any nail file you have. I like this curved file by Butter London because it helps you easily create a “rounded square” shape. 

It’s important to file in one direction to create a smooth finish.  When you go back and forth you create a ragged tip which will make it easy for your nails to crack and chip. 

Wash and dry your hands again. 

Polish

How to Give Yourself a ManicureThe woman who used to do my nails regularly did an incredible traditional manicure. I could never figure out what she did that kept it looking so perfect for so many days. 

It turns out; she skipped the base coat step. “If you prep the right way, you don’t need it,” she told me. And boy, it makes a huge difference. 

Since then, I go right to polish. Use your favorite polish. I happen to love Essie Gel Polish.  The colors are pretty, and the formula is so smooth and easy to apply.  The brush is wide and flat, so you can cover your entire nail in three simple swipes. You don’t need to use a gel polish. Essie’s basic line is great, so is OPI. 

The trick is to place the brush on your nail bed a little above your cuticle line and then gently push down and pull up so the polish spreads evenly. Have patience and take your time. 

The Secret To a Perfect Manicure at Home 

Here’s the game changer. Once you have applied your color, add the Essie Gel Top Coat. It doesn’t matter what polish you use. Two coats of this gel top coat and you will have a shiny, long lasting, chip free manicure for days. 

Let your nails dry completely and enjoy looking down at your perfect fingers all week long. 

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Our content is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers in any way. 

Recommendations are based on personal experience and my time working with women as a stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2019: Best of Beauty

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2019: Beauty Picks

We are wrapping up our Nordstrom Anniversary Sale coverage with a quick beauty post. As long-time readers know, I am incredibly loyal to my products and beauty tools. It took me a long time to find a skincare routine that works for me. It’s extensive but effective, so why mess with it? That’s why we don’t feature a ton of beauty content. 

Anyway, I’d also like to move on and talk about other things, so this is our last post about the sale. I’ll update our Facebook Private Page with some specific deals over the next few days, so if you’d like to join just click here and answer our three membership questions.

But back to the sale. Many of the beauty items in the event are fragrance related, be it perfume, candles or diffusers so check and see if your favorite is on sale. There are also a lot of gadgets and tools, some are helpful, but many aren’t necessary (more on that below). And if you love luxury brand makeup, there are a few that are a decent value.

My advice, though, is to make sure you’re not paying for something you don’t need.   For example, most of the perfume exclusives come in a gorgeous box, with an extra body wash or cream. I don’t ever use them, so I don’t find much value in the set.

Today, I sorted through all the options and narrowed our list down the products I love and use, that are worth the spend or splurge. 

Once again, this post is not sponsored but if you make a purchase from one of our links we may receive a very small commission. 

Top Beauty Picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2019 

 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2019: Beauty Picks

Living Proof Trio, $84  |  Mario Badescu Set, $23  |  Alterna Caviar Set, $72  |  Philosophy Set, $55  |  T3 Curling Iron, $107   |  Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Duo, $25  |  Slip Pillowcases, $119

Haircare

Two haircare sets made my list. First, I have loved Living Proof for a long time. This full-size set featuring the brand’s hero products is a nice value. Their dry shampoo is the best on the market, and their shampoo and conditioner make my hair look full and shiny after one use. 

I also included Alterna Caviar Replenishing Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, another brand I’ve been loyal to for years. Between aging and processing my hair to an inch of its life, this set helps bring it back to life and gives it the surge of moisture it is desperately lacking.

They both have a steep price point but they last a while since my kids aren’t allowed near them. I alternate between the two depending on what my hair needs. 

Hair Tools

Part of the reason I need a powerful conditioner is due to the heat I use to style my hair most days. I bought this T3 Curling Iron to replace my old T3. The first one lasted a little over 2 years, with lots of daily use so I feel ok replacing it now. It cuts my styling time in half and the curls last longer than with a drugstore brand curling irons. 

If you are in the market for a new hair dryer, I also highly recommend T3.  Their Cura Dryer is part of the sale for $155

Little Luxuries and Gifts

I’ve been sleeping on a silk pillowcase for a few years, and guess what? It’s still one of my all-time favorite, most-used purchases. There are lots of benefits, from helping to keep hair from breaking to preventing wrinkles. But I just like that it feels a little indulgent. After working all day, wrangling three kids, and running our home, I think I deserve every little luxury I can get. Pick one up for yourself, or save one to give to your mom, sister, or favorite friend this holiday. 

This Philosophy Amazing Grace set for $55 is another stock up for the holiday’s option. I picked one up to put under the tree for my oldest. (And yes, I am super impressed that I am already planning Christmas gifts.) 

Skincare

In the skincare category, Mario Badescu’s drying lotion destroys breakouts. I use to have terrible cystic acne for years, and a few drops of this right on the inflamed part of the pimple would remove it in a day or two. Next, his aloe and rosewater spray would help with inflammation, reduce redness, and cool down my skin.  I keep them both on hand still and will be happy I have them if and when my girls start to experience their first breakouts. 

Makeup Must Have 

Next, who doesn’t love a good eyebrow? When I really want to kick up my look, I use the Anastasia Beverly Hills eyebrow duo. It helps you create a strong brow in minutes and gives your whole face more definition. 

Finally, a few honorable mentions in makeup. Nars has a pretty blush/bronzer/highlighter kit for $42.  Laura Mercier’s Lip Duo in rose is a lovely neutral for every day. And for fun, I picked up this Trish McEvoy Brighten and Define Eye Duo – I’ll report back my findings if it’s worth it.