How to DIY Your Manicure like a Professional

white nails

Step-by-Step DIY nail guide

Most DIY stuff makes us want to d-i-e after we try it but I’m not trying to give you impossible nail-hacks here. This is the nail method that works for me. Here’s how to nail your DIY manicure. And trust me, it’s actually do-able!

Get to groomin’

If you really want to “manicure” yourself, here’s how it should go. (But if you don’t have manicure tools, a quick filing will do the trick.)

1. Cut your nails
2. File your nails

Yes, it is okay to file back and forth! But if your nail file feels too coarse or abrasive, it probably is. Switch to a softer one!

3. Apply cuticle remover, and then wipe it off

Deborah Lippman cuticle remover works lightning fast!

4. Push back / scrape off cuticle with a metal tool

Not a wood stick, that won’t do anything.

5. Buff your nail plate smooth with a buffer

This will get all the excess cuticle off the nail plate

6. Wipe the nail clean with remover

This cleans and dehydrates the nails so the polish adheres better! nail polish don’t stick to an oily nail

Bonus Tip: Use a disposable mascara wand dipped in remover to scrub all around your nail!

The Paint Job

It’s showtime! Take things nice and slow so you can focus, and so your polish has ample time to dry between coats.There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that says: If you try to do your nails in a rush, you WILL mess them up. Alright, maybe I made that up. Doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

1. Wipe your nails clean with nail polish remover

See step 6 above for logic.

2. Paint a Base Coat

This is NOT OPTIONAL. Base coats help prevent color from staining the nails. They also help your nail polish stick to your nail longer, and therefore last longer!
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3. Paint 1 Coat of Color!

What works for me, is pressing the brush down so the bristles fan out and create a nice shape. I always paint my 1st coat slowly. Be sure to cover the entire nail, and don’t use too many strokes. It’s okay for the color to look a little sheer and wonky the first time around.
Bonus: If you want to add another base coat over this coat, it will help prevent chipping!

Nifty Tip: That orangewood stick that you shouldn’t use for your cuticles? It’s great for scraping away stray polish to create a smooth line at the cuticle.

4. Paint Another Coat of Color!

This time around, you can “float” the polish on a teeny bit thicker than before, but definitely be careful. If a coat is too thick, it will not dry. Don’t worry, you can always do another one!

5. Top Coat Time!

This also is NOT OPTIONAL. Top coats aren’t just for adding shine,  they make your mani last longer by creating a hard finish, and even speed up dry time. Don’t buy a base coat that is also a top coat, because they are totally different things.

6. The Cleanup

While waiting for your mani to dry, get the polish off your skin by using a thin square brush dipped in nail polish remover to clean up around your skin.

And voila, your DIY manicure is done!

If you’re in a rush, quick dry drops will NOT help your mani dry faster! They provide an oily protection layer, so that if you hit your hand on something, it won’t stick to the nail polish. Quick dry drops get your fingers all oily and sometimes mess up the polish, so tread lightly.

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