Mani Monday: Perfecting the At-Home Mani

Oh hi there!

Ever since I could remember, back when I was a few inches shorter and had no clue how to paint my own nails I remember seeing my mom always changing nail colors continuously and mastering the art of ‘me time’. No surprise I grew up having an equal love for changing my nails colors often and also for maintaining them myself. My mother still enjoys doing her nails, she colors them about every other day with daily touch ups at that, I love seeing how much she takes care of herself. I’ll do her mani per request when she feels like being treated. Most of the time though you’ll catch us putting epsom salt in a pedi machine I gifted her and taking turns with the light off to relax and unwind. She’ll prep this for me when I’m feeling anxious or stressed, its the best thing ever!  Today, I’m going to share some of the tips I’ve learned from my lovely mother on perfecting the at-home mani. 

Round, square, almond, natural filed down, oval, pipe, squoval. Picking the right shape comes down to personal taste and the length of your natural nails. My first step when doing a mani is shaping my nails and smoothing the edges. The best way to figure out which nail shape would work best is to take a peek at an illustration of all the shape styles and measure whether your nails have the appropriate length for that style. It’ll give you an idea if you can accomplish the same look or not, this offers a great method of elimination to figure out what you like and where your starting point actually is.

Next steps is prepping the nail bed. This step is what’s going to determine how well your nail color will go on and stay. I have soft file block that I use to quickly buff the nail bed and make sure its smooth to the touch. I will then wash my hands and dry them. Next, I always use a base coat, always! One, it’ll smooth out your nail bed and basically prime them for the color to have something to stick to.Two, the base coats usually offer some type of nail hardening, strengthening and helping them to grow benefit. Lastly, three, if you are using a bold color it helps to not stain your nails.

Favorite Bases:

  •  Essie -all-in-one base 
  • Essie -grow stronger base coat
  • Londontown Kur -Nail Hardener & Base Coat

Being patient is key and not rushing but taking your time will already have you headed towards a successful at-home mani. If you are in a rush and about to head out but feel its dire to have some color on your nails your best bet is to go with a clear top coat so your nails look polished and it also dries extremely fast. It’ll also help with providing a barrier so nails don’t chip easily throughout your daily activities.

As far as the application, I start at the top of the nail bed, spread polish across and then quickly work downwards to cover nail entirely before coat dries. If coat dries it could make it hard to work with and create bumps and a bad finish. Waiting until the first coat is a little dry before reapplying second coat will make it easier to color and help you in achieving great coverage.

My steps are: base coat, nail color, top coat and a cuticle oil

Favorite cuticle oil:

  • Ciaté London – Marula Cuticle Oil

Favorite Top Coats:

  • Londowntown Kur -Gel Genius Top Coat
  • Sally Hansen No Chip Top Coat 

Favorite Nail Polish Brands:

  • Essie
  • O.P.I
  • KL Polish
  • Sally Hansen Extreme Wear
  • Maybelline
  • Orly
  • Deborah Lippman

I allow for my nail polish to air dry, this is a great time to watch some tv and relax. I’ll do my very best to not do too much with my hands for a good 30-45 minutes so that I don’t ruin the nail polish.

  • Use gloves to wash dishes to minimize the amount of water they are exposed to during this time. This can help to avoid your nails softening and breaking more easily than usual.
  • Best to allow nails to be fully dry before filing.
  • I have my nails go bare for weeks at a time to give them a break from the chemicals and let them breathe. Especially when I start to notice some staining that’s my cue to leave them alone.

Hope you Beauties have enjoyed these tips!

-A