Getting your nails done at a salon every week can be time-consuming and expensive. It also limits you to the colors that that particular place of business has to offer. If your nail polish collection is expanding, it’s not necessary to spend additional money to have someone apply it for you. With just a few simple hacks, you can create salon-quality manicures in the comfort of your living room. And the best part? These 7 manicure hacks are all low- or no-cost.
1. Apply using the 3-stroke approach
There’s a reason nail technicians manicures always come out looking amazing: they all use the same technique. If you watch your nail artist closely, they apply nail polish in 3 strokes. They do one stroke in the middle, and then one stroke with the brush on each side. This provides a super uniform finish with each nail.
2. Dry your nail polish faster with ice water
Don’t have the time or patience to wait around for your paint to dry? The no-cost solution is to soak your nails in a bowl of ice water after you’ve painted them for up to 3 minutes. Just remember to set up your bowl of ice water before you start painting, so that you don’t risk smudging your freshly-painted nails.
3. Fix clumpy nail polish with nail polish remover
If your favorite nail color is almost at an end, or hasn’t been kept in a cool, dark place, it can start to get a little clumpy. If shaking it up doesn’t do the trick, 2-3 tiny drops of nail polish remover might. Start with one small drop at a time, and shake vigorously between each drop so you can gauge how much you need.
4. Use cornstarch for a matte topcoat
If you want to try a matte look, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on matte shades that you might only wear a few times, try making a matte top coat at home. With a matte topcoat, you can create looks using multiple colors, instead of being stuck with one shade. Simply mix a few pinches, up to a teaspoon of powder, with any clear topcoat. The trick is that you need to really shake your bottle to make sure the cornstarch doesn’t clump.
5. Protect cuticles with a balm
Have a little trouble coloring between the lines? Especially when it comes to your non-dominant hand? Prior to painting, use a heavy-duty lotion or a balm on the cuticles and skin around the nails. Not only will you provide much-needed moisture, but if you slip up with the nail polish brush, the color won’t stick to your skin. Just wipe away any mistakes along with the balm when you’re finished.
6. Don’t dry with a fan or blow dryer
Contrary to popular belief, using a fan or blow dryer to dry the nails isn’t the best idea. Often times nail salons use UV filters to dry nails, which is different than using your fan at home. This rapid air blowing on your nails, especially if it’s hot, can create bubbles in your nail polish. For a smooth finish, try letting them air dry or using the ice water trick.
7. Use aluminum foil to remove gel or glitter polish
Tough-to-remove nail polish styles like gel or chunky glitter just require a little more patience when removing than traditional nail colors. Soak your cotton rounds or pads in nail polish remover and place them on top of your nails. Wrap a little piece of aluminum foil around each soaked cotton round and nail. Leave the aluminum foil on for up to 15 minutes, allowing the nail polish remover to break down the gel. The polish should slide off easily along with the cotton rounds.
Try these tips at home for a professional looking manicure each and every time. Before you know it, people will be asking where you get your manicures done.