I love a good salon pampering sesh as much as the next girl, but I usually don’t have time to sit down for a professional manicure.

{Sometime soon I’m going to make time for this cherry blossom mani.}

Over the years, I’ve mastered the DIY five-minutes-or-less version of a basic manicure. It’s worth splurging on a few good products to get salon-worthy results at home, over and over again.

1. PREP. I like to start with a natural sugar scrub to exfoliate my hands and remove any dead skin from the cuticles. I never trim my cuticles; I condition them with avocado oil a few times a week before bed to keep them moisturized and gently push them back with my fingertips.

2. CLEAN. Next, I remove any polish and oil from my nails with acetone polish remover. I like Butter London Scrubbers 2-in-1 nail prep and remover pads; they aren’t smelly, and one durable wipe cleans all ten nails. At most, you may need two wipes if you’re wearing a few coats or dark polish. They’re great for travel or to stash in your purse for the days all your nails start chipping at once (how does this happen?).

3. SHAPE. I shape my nails with a medium file; usually round or squoval since I keep my nails pretty short for work.

Nail Shape Guide
{source: Beautylish}

4. PRIME. Good manicures are made in the base coat. I love Butter London Nail Foundation. It creates a perfect silky foundation for even color application — especially light pinks that can go on streaky — and used alone it’s like a clean buffed mani in a bottle.

5. PAINT. After the base coat dries, I brush on 1-2 coats of color. Essie polishes are my favorite, and lately Ballet Slippers and Enuff is Enuff are on regular rotation.

6. DRY. Ain’t nobody got time for wet nails. I didn’t think I’d ever find anything I liked as much as Essie’s Good to Go rapid dry topcoat, but their Quick-E Drying Drops are pretty awesome. It doesn’t dry as fast, but it protects from nicks, smudges and peeling and has silicone that adds shine. The foolproof liquid formula is really easy to apply with the dropper, and it makes my manicures last well over a week. I don’t even use a topcoat anymore.

Posted by:Keira Lennox

I'm a small town girl from the sunshine state with an affinity for bookstores, beauty counters and unfussy style. I spend my days running my flower shop, and my nights blogging about what I love and what I wear. (Or watching Netflix and drinking wine.)

21 replies on “6 Steps to the Perfect Home Manicure

  1. Reblogged this on addicted to irresistible and commented:
    I absolutely love this post by A Pretty Penny!. I have always deemed myself awful at at-home manicures and I am usually in the nail salon every 2-3 weeks shelling out almost $40 bucks. You do the math. I really want to try my hand at doing my own nails and this post gives me great pointers to start. Thanks!

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  2. love this post!! It would mean alot to me if you could check out my blog and maybe follow me, it’s ok if you don’t want to. I did a review on the montagne jeunesse facemasks, babylips etc. I love your blog keep up the good work! xx hatice

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  3. Reblogged this on Fotos by Franzi Photography and commented:
    Today’s blog is a guest post from A Pretty Penny. She blogged yesterday about the 6 Steps to the Perfect Home Manicure and I thought I would share it. Everyone doesn’t have the time or money to pay to have your nails professionally done so check out these few tips to get the perfect at home manicure!

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  4. This is so helpful! As a fashion addict who is terrible at nails, I have noticed that my dodgy nails can ruin my outfits half the time. Will keep this advice in mind :)

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  5. Thanks for this! I’m a sucker for the salon but I can’t always justify spending the money. I always stick with square nails and for anyone reading those dry drops look GREAT! Fantastic way to avoid ruining your fresh mani!

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  6. You might check out the quick dry top coat from Digital Nails (indie polish maker on Etsy), it’s literally called “Ain’t’ Nobody Got Time For That.” ;-).

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