How To Do An At-Home Manicure, According To Nail Experts

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During this coronavirus pandemic, the country is being asked to practice social distancing. Stores, salons, and restaurants are all closing to help fight the spread of the virus. Things don't feel so great, but there are small ways to find normalcy and practice self-care while self-isolating. An at-home manicure can act not just as way to maintain a bit of your beauty routine but also as a method to take care of your mental health.

While many nail salons, like Sundays and Ten Over Ten, have closed, it's still possible to get a salon quality manicure at home. Bustle reached out to multiple celebrity nail artists and brands for the best tips on how to maintain your cuticle health (from all that hand washing you should be doing), create your own nail shape, and maintain all of your hard work from the comfort of your own home.

If you need a little at-home care — be it just because you love having a fresh mani or because you need a little pick-me-up — here's how to get the best at-home manicure.

File & Shape The Nail

Nails, Inc ambassador and celebrity nail artist Lisa Logan tells Bustle that the best way to make your manicure look as professional as possible is with filing and shaping your nail.

Logan tells Bustle, "Keeping the shape of your nails neat, working with a high-gloss polish like Nails.INC's new Crystals Made Me Do It, and cleaning up around your nail bed and cuticles are essential to making your manicure look professional."

As for how to file, celebrity nail artist Elle explains to Bustle, "If you’re taking down length you can go back and forth, but always finish going in one direction to make sure that the nail won’t split. When you saw, you rip the keratin layers and that causes nails to split. Never buff on top of the nail as that also leads to splitting. Sometimes I’ll use a light oil with a very smooth buffer to release the skin off the nail after doing the cuticle work (to make sure there’s no skin layers left)."

Care For Your Cuticles

As Logan mentioned, cleaning up your nail bed and cuticles is a great way to make your mani look professional. Bustle also spoke with Amy Lin, founder of wellness nail care brand Sundays, who explains, "It is important to take good care of the cuticle so that you create a good foundation for the polish step. Definitely consider using a good base coat before the polish and a top coat after the polish. They can keep the nails healthy and make the polish last longer."

While doing your at-home manicure, incorporating a cuticle oil into your routine that will soften and moisturize the skin is also a good idea according to Elle. Once applied, you can use a cuticle pusher to push them back, but she recommends not using a wooden orange stick or cotton ball. She says, "It will only deposit lint and chemicals back onto your nail which will prevent your polish from drying correctly and looking smooth."

Use A Non-Toxic Polish

Amy Lin recommends using a non-toxic nail polish. Lin explains, "Health is so important, especially right now. If you're not already using non-toxic products, now is a good time to review the ingredients you are absorbing through your nail care products. It's important to protect your immune system with fewer toxins and chemical exposure especially when you're at-home."

If you have trouble painting with your non-dominant hand, LA-Based Celebrity Nail Artist Brittney Boyce and ORLY ambassador has some tips. "Painting the non-dominant hand is hard, especially as your hands can be a little shaky," she tells Bustle. "Stabilize that hand by putting your elbow and forearm on the table. That helps keep your hand a little bit steadier. It's OK if you paint outside your nails and get it on your fingertips. Just use a nail brush dipped in nail polish remover to erase it."

Use A Top Coat

Once you've picked your polish of choice, your at-home manicure becomes more about nail care and upkeep. Logan recommends a protective top coat that also works as a nail strengthener. She says, "I really love Nails.INC’s 45-Second Retinol Top Coat because it strengthens the nails and is especially good for weakened nails. It's also super long-lasting and really locks in your polish."

Continue To Apply Top Coat

Logan explains that while you should apply a top coat immediately after finishing your polish, you can also apply it after to extend the life of your manicure. "You can continue to apply top coats every few days to lock in the polish underneath," she explains. "Make sure to carry through and cap your polish over the ends of your nail to lock it in place."

While you may not be able to head into the salon, these tips from experts will help you achieve the perfect at-home manicure.