I’ve never been one to regularly splurge on salon visits. I get my hair done, yes. But I often find myself getting it done months overdue!

My nails are a whole different story. I think it’s been a couple of years since I had them pampered in a nail salon. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like them all pretty and polished. I just choose to do them at home instead!

Related: My Top Drugstore Beauty Favs

It doesn’t take me a whole lot of time to give myself a home manicure, and it sure saves a lot of money as well.

I have a few favorite nail items and tricks to make them look top-notch—even without the help of a professional!

Since a lot of people are still doing their nails at home, I thought I’d put together my secret to a perfect home manicure so you can give yourself a little pampering this week. Here you go!

Helpful Tricks For Your Home Manicure

Extend your manicure with these helpful tips I use at home!

Use a Topcoat

I’m sure it’s pretty obvious, but did you know that short nails last longer? When you don’t have long nails getting banged up (and you’re not using them to take off stickers or cut tape…) they’re likely to last.

But to all you long-nail gals, there’s hope! One of the most essential things you can do is invest in a good topcoat.

home manicure top coat
Find the top coat HERE.

I love this one from Seche Vite and I have a few friends that swear by it as well. At $10, it’s pretty affordable and when used correctly it will definitely fight against chips!

Oh, and when you apply the topcoat, make sure to seal the edge by brushing the polish over the front of your nail.

Prioritize Your Nail Health

There’s this common misconception that since your nails are “dead” (kind of like your hair) that they don’t require nutrients or attention. But they do!

You can always take Biotin to help with nail and hair growth. Typically, it comes in little capsules that are easy to swallow and even easier to add to your morning routine.

You can also find a good ridge filler or nail strengthener to use when you’re trying to give your nails a “break” from the colored polish.

home manicure recovery kit
Find the nail kit HERE.

While I haven’t used this Nail Tek kit, it was recommended to me by a friend. Trust me, her nails look gorgeous!

Are You Filing Wrong?

They’re a little more expensive, but glass files are the best way to go according to top celebrity stylists. It’s more gentle on the nail and it will last for years!

nail file
Find the nail file HERE.

I found this one [multiple options for this link and attached to the picture above] with over 11,700 Amazon reviews and it looks like a great option. It even comes with a carrying case!

You should also always file your nails from the corner to the middle. Think of your nail as two sections and sweep the file from the outside to the inside.

Oh, and don’t saw! It will just create unwanted breakage.

Avoid Messy Lines

If you have trouble “staying in the lines” when working with your opposite hand, you can avoid a messy clean-up with Vaseline. Just dip a Q-tip in the jelly and outline your nails. When you mess up, wait until the paint dries and brush it right off!

You can also line your nails with some classic Scotch tape, but I think it the Vaseline is much easier to apply.

Opt For Quality Nail Polish for Your Home Manicure

I get it. Those $2 nail polishes at the store are super tempting and some of the colors are gorgeous! But often, with a cheap product comes a dull polish that will chip.

One of my favorite brands is Essie because they have a variety of stunning colors and my home manicure lasts just as long as the salon version.

nail polish
Find the Essie polish HERE.

Check out this Mademoiselle color. It’s a feminine favorite and it’s a springtime must. I’ve been using it for over 10 years and it still makes me smile every time I put it on!

The brand also has a quick-dry version for the girl on the go. Sometimes, it’s just too hard to sit still!

home manicure polish
Find the Essie polish HERE.

This color is called Millennium Momentum [product not available for this link and for the picture above]—the nude is beyond timeless.

Use Shellac Polish for a Home Manicure

Getting a Shellac manicure is more expensive, but it typically lasts longer than regular polish.

First, a base coat is brushed on, then a color coat followed by a topcoat. But in between each layer, the nail is “cured” under UV light to harden the polish.

It’s a bit of a process, but you can actually do this at home with your own UV light and polish!

UV light
Find the lamp HERE.

This lamp is super compact which makes it easy to store. It also guides you through the process so that you’ll end up with a perfect home manicure every time.

home manicure shellac
Find Satin Pajamas HERE.

I like to use this Satin Pajamas color.

It’s still pink (like my favorite Essie shade) but it definitely embodies more of a mauve look.

Find Field Fox HERE.

There’s also this color called Field Fox which is one I typically wear during the transition from summer to fall.

Revive Your Old Nail Polish

Is it just me, or do you use a polish twice before it gets clumpy? Or maybe you’re the one who just wants to use up that last drop… every bit counts!

If you feel like your polish is getting dry, you can add a couple of drops of acetone to the bottle. When you put the lid on and shake it up, it will be much smoother.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!

I said it three times so you know it’s important… but moisturizing your hands is one of the best ways to extend your home manicure!

When your cuticles and nails are moisturized, they’re more pliable. And when they’re more pliable, there is less of a chance of them chipping!

Find the Peak 10 duo HERE.

No matter the time or place, I always reach for my Peak 10 Skin Soothe Hand Cream. It’s lightweight and doesn’t feel greasy. Plus, it’s super easy to throw in my purse!

I like that it comes with the Save My Sole Foot Rescue Cream too… great for a perfect pedicure!

Upgrade Your Home Manicure With an Oil

Another way to keep your cuticles and nails moisturized is with manicure oil.

home manicure solar oil
Find the oil HERE.

I swear by this one from CND… it’s been my TV-ready trick for nice-looking nails for over 25 years!

So if you’re in the mood to give yourself a much-needed home spa day, you can turn to these tips for all your manicure needs.

From my home to yours,


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