Home Manicure Tips


Properly groomed fingernails are not only attractive, they are practical. While maintaining your nails, keep in mind that with a great manicure, you're less likely to have to repair them later.

Painting your fingernails is an art and it's fun! This do-it-yourself fingernail guide is intended for those who don't have the time to visit a manicurist and wish to do it at home, or simply don't want to spend the money. Remember, your hands will show age before the rest of your body. Take care of them, keep them moisturized and well manicured, and you can defy the experts.

Filing and Buffing Your Fingernails

Before you begin an at-home manicure, Place your metal nail tools in an antiseptic solution for about 15 minutes to kill any bacteria and germs.

  • Remove your old polish before you begin.
  • Never file the nail in a back and forth motion. Instead, go from side to side, in one direction.
  • Your nails should be shaped into oval tips.
  • Buff the surface of the fingernail after filing.
  • Soften your cuticles by soaking in a small bowl of soapy, warm water or cuticle cream.
  • Gently loosen your cuticles with cuticle remover or an orangewood stick.

Painting and Decorating

Be creative when you give yourself manicures! Add wild colors, decals, and stickers specifically designed for your fingernails. But first, you'll need a good surface to work with.

  • To avoid air bubbles in your polish, don't shake the bottle. Roll it gently in the palm of your hands before applying.
  • Apply your fingernail polish in three strokes, one in the middle and one on each side, taking special care to avoid your skin and cuticles.
  • If you're in a hurry, or plan to redo your nails soon, apply only two coats of polish. Allow the first coat to dry before adding the second coat.
  • For longer staying polish, apply one base coat, two coats of polish, and finish it off with a top coat to prevent chipping.
  • Metallic nail polishes stay on much longer without chipping, but they're much harder to remove.
  • Apply the polish to the edge, underneath the tip of the nail to reinforce the area.
  • When you're finished, clean up any additional polish on your skin and cuticles with a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover.
  • Let your nails dry completely for about 30 minutes before doing anything, and don't go to bed with wet polish.
  • In a hurry? To harden your nail polish quickly, try running your nails under cold water.
  • If your favorite polish is getting old and thick, add a bit of polish thinner or remover to revive it.

Manicures: Artificial Nails

Before you begin, it's important to lay down some paper or an old dish towel for a work surface. This will help prevent any glue or nail polish from getting on your table. Have all of your tools handy beforehand.

First, buff the surface of your natural nails. This will clean them and rough them up a bit, allowing the glue to adhere better. Then dry the surface of your nails and apply the artificial nails. Gently rock them back and forth to get out the air bubbles. Press tightly and apply glue just under the tips where there is usually a gap. After the glue dries, file your nails as you normally would and clean off any access glue. Paint as usual.

  • Some nail glue is extremely thin. Be careful, it dries almost instantly.
  • Longer nails are more prone to chipping and breaking.
  • Trim down the nails before you glue them on.
  • When removing artificial nails, soak them in acetone and remove them with a cuticle stick.

Repair Tips

The sooner you repair a broken fingernail, the less damage there will be. It's best to always have nail clippers and a nail file in your purse and at work for a quick-fix.

  • To remove a polish smudge, dip your finger in nail polish remover and tap lightly.
  • For a chip in your polish, smooth the edges with nail polish remover and polish the bare area sparingly.
  • For a torn nail, clip and file. For a big break, file off the rough edges and apply glue to the surface of your nail. Hold your nail in place while it dries. Buff out to smooth.