Curls N Pearls

How To: Beautiful, Long-Lasting DIY Manicures

Most women would agree that a fresh manicure is an instant mood-booster, and perfectly polished nails are a welcome addition to any outfit. I used to get a manicure once a week at a small shop near our home, but since we moved,  one of the first not-so-great things I’ve learned about smaller cities is that certain services are actually more expensive than in big cities. Why? Lack of competition. In bigger cities, there is at least one nail salon — and sometimes several — in nearly every shopping center, therefore you can get a great manicure for a mere $10. In smaller cities, I’ve found that manicures typically start at $15, and quickly go up in price.  Needless to say, since the move I have  become a 100% DIYer when it comes to my nails. After almost a year of practice, I’d venture to say I’ve improved quite a bit. Here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned along the way.


  •  Polish your dominant hand first; I am right handed, so I get the more awkward task of polishing with my left hand out of the way first.
  • Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat is hands-down (no pun intended) the best top coat I have used. Many nail technicians would agree.  It dries quickly and has a long-lasting shine.
  • A good manicure is only as good as the overall appearance of your nails, and this includes the cuticle. I haven’t found a better product than CND SolarOil for keeping my cuticles in good condition. I massage a few drops on my cuticles every evening (keeping your cuticles moisturized is even more important as we approach winter).
  • Nail polish tends to thicken after a little while, making it impossible to successfully polish your nails (think bubbles, peeling). A nail technician once told me that keeping your polish in the refrigerator will extend the life and consistency of your favorite polishes.
  • If you haven’t yet tried CND Stickey Base Coat as a base coat, head to the store and buy a bottle now. It will change your life. I promise.
  • Use rubbing alcohol prior to applying your base coat to temporarily dehydrate the nail plate, this will help the polish to adhere to your nail better.
  • For each layer of polish, be sure to cap the free edge of your nail with a swipe of polish. This seals the polish on your nail better, and should help to prevent chipping more than simply applying polish to the top of your nails.
  • A few days after painting your nails, apply an additional layer of the top coat, this may help you to get a few more days out of your manicure.

What tips or tricks have helped you to achieve a perfect DIY manicure?


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