A natural manicure never goes out of style — and if you can’t make it to a salon right now, don’t fret. It’s never been trendier (or more essential) to learn some DIY manicure tips.
Give your fancy gel manicure a break and skip the shellac for a bit. It’s time to get back to the basics and rock a natural nail look. By nixing any nail art or loud nail polish, you’ll be giving your real nails a chance to shine (literally and figuratively).
Besides, knowing how to do a basic manicure on your own (and a DIY pedicure, too) makes sure you’ll always have clean, polished-looking hands and feet. While it’s always a good idea to leave the trickier shellac manicure, dip powder tricks, and gel nail polish to the pros at your favorite nail salon, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from figuring out how to own a natural nail look.
Read on to learn more about why you need regular nail upkeep, what essentials you’ll be needing, and some quick and simple tips.
How A Natural Manicure Contributes To Healthy Nails
Letting your nail beds breathe a little from the constant application of nail polish and other nail products might help give you a clearer picture of your nail health. Seeing the actual state of your natural nails and cuticles can help you assess more clearly if you have any damage, or worse, fungal infections.1
Maintaining a natural nail routine may also help you avoid potentially harmful chemicals in commercial nail polish formulations. These ingredients may contribute to the discoloration and damage of your nails.2
Having a solid DIY manicure regimen at home also helps to ensure that you aren’t neglecting the skin on your hands. You won’t forget to massage and moisturize your hands often to complement your pretty (and natural) nail look.
Make Your DIY Manicure Look Professionally-Done: Don’t Skimp On The Nail Polish Remover
Even if you aren’t wearing any nail polish, cleaning your nail with a cotton pad soaked in quality nail polish remover can help remove any grime or oils trapped in your cuticle. These oils can undermine the nice finished look of your cleaned nails later on, so make sure your nails are nice and clean before you start your DIY manicure.3
Select A Round Nail Shape For Safety Reasons
Too-long of nails can make chores, working on your laptop, and even childcare harder (or more dangerous) than it should be. A shorter, rounded nail shape is easy to maintain and is safe from snagging or tearing.4
Clip or trim your nails, then use a nail file to gently create a smooth, rounded shape. You can also lightly buff the surface of your nail to give it a smoother, more naturally-polished surface.
Give Your Cuticle Special Care: Use The Right Products And Tools
Your cuticle protects your nail beds from unwanted bacteria, so avoid clipping or tearing them during your DIY manicure. It’s enough to gently push your cuticles back with a cuticle stick after soaking the nail in cuticle remover.
A good cuticle remover product helps soften the cuticle, making it easier to push back. Don’t confuse cuticle remover with cuticle oil. A cuticle oil helps moisturize and fortify the nail area. Make sure you have both remover and oil for your at-home manicure and pedicure needs. Cuticle sticks are easy enough to come by, too, at beauty supply stores.5
When It Comes To Nail Polish, Less Is More
After you’ve trimmed and prepped your nails and taken care of your cuticles, you can give yourself a five-minute hand massage (or foot massage, if you’re doing a DIY pedicure) and call it a day. But if you want a (literally) more polished finish, now is the time to swipe on a nice, neutral shade to cap off your natural manicure.
Two things to remember before putting on nail polish: Don’t shake the bottle vigorously right before applying, as air bubbles in the formula can undermine that seamless swipe of color you’re after; and don’t overload the polish brush with product.
Simply apply three thin stripes down your nail (center and sides), wait a couple of minutes, and then repeat with another layer. The goal is thin and even coats of color drying well on each nail — that’s the secret to smudge-proof polish that looks like a pro did it.6
Don’t Forget About Your Hands
Since you’re paying special attention to your nails with a DIY manicure, make sure not to leave the skin on your hands out. While it may be tricky to do your usual paraffin wax treatment by yourself at home, there’s nothing stopping you from having a mini hand spa experience anyway. Try exfoliating the skin on your hands (pre-polish, of course) and massaging in some moisturizing oil and lotion at the end of your DIY manicure session.
You’ll love how smooth and well-moisturized hands set off your clean and polished nails.
Nail That At-Home French Manicure With These Tips
The french manicure is a classic nail look beloved by generations of women. It’s still natural enough to look timeless and effortless, but carries a certain chic vibe. You can definitely pull off doing french tips at your DIY manicure. Here is an easy trick to nail that trademark white stripe.
After you’ve applied your neutral base coat and let it dry, place one finger on the edge of the table. Instead of swiping the brush across the bottom edge of your nail, you’ll actually roll the finger from one side to another as you hold the brush loaded with white polish horizontally over the tip.7
Clean up any smudges or excess polish with an orange cuticle stick topped with a cotton ball dipped in nail polish remover. Apply a top coat to protect against cracks, and you’re all set.
How To Make Your Handiwork Last Longer
It’s not easy to maintain nice nails, whether it’s a DIY manicure or a pricey salon job. Working with your hands on a daily basis (especially if you’ve discovered all the cooking and baking you can do during this extended period at home) can really do a number on nicely-polished nails.
To prolong the life of your DIY manicure, try using gloves whenever you do chores like washing the dishes or cleaning. Make it a habit to massage your hands with lotion, rub a little cuticle oil on your nails, and clean under your nails often — both as an act of self-care and hygiene.
Nice, natural-looking nails will always be a delight to have and admire, and now you know you don’t have to drop a ton of money to achieve polished tips. While it’s a treat to go and have a fancy gel manicure done, it’s good to know you can definitely make your nails look beautiful yourself in a pinch.
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