7-Step Salon-Quality Manicure

We’ve partnered with, a Procter & Gamble brand, to bring you some of our favorite home and beauty tips, advice and expertise.  

Manicures at the salon can get expensive, and it’s definitely not easy to escape for a salon getaway when you’re a busy mom. With an at-home mani, on the other hand, you can still feel pampered and have perfectly polished nails. Read on for some steps to achieve a salon-quality manicure right in your own home.

1. File Your Nails

Before you start filing away, be sure your nails are dry. Never file wet nails, as it can cause them to split. For an easy filing experience, file your nails into a round shape. Look at the shape of your cuticle and try to mirror the shape as you file your nails.

2. Soak Your Nails

Fill a small bowl with warm, soapy water. Apply your favorite hand cream and then soak your nails in the water. This will soften the skin on your fingers as well as moisturize and prep your cuticles.

3. Push Back Your Cuticles

Whatever you do, do not cut or clip your cuticles! Simply take a wet, wooden cuticle pusher and gently push back your cuticles.

4. Apply a Base Coat

This is a key step in making the most of your at-home manicure. Applying a base coat will give you a smooth surface to work with and help your manicure last longer. Here are some words to live by for your basecoat, topcoat and every layer of polish in between:

  • Paint your dominant hand first: You’ll get the hard part over with first, and you’ll avoid messing up your dominant hand’s nails when you go to paint your other hand.
  • Paint from pinkie to thumb: By starting with your pinkie nail, you avoid smudging the other nails with your hand as you move across your fingers. Allow this coat to dry completely.

5. Apply Your Base Color

Apply your base color after your basecoat is completely dry. Pick your favorite shade or find a mani that fits your look.

For long-lasting color, use a gel polish that does not require a UV light, like COVERGIRL XL Nail Gel.

Tip: Swipe polish from the base of nail to the tip once on the left side, and once on the right side, curving toward the middle of your nail. If still left with an empty space in the middle, fill in with polish and swipe up to the tip of your nail.

Allow first coat to dry, and then apply a second if you desire a deeper pigment. Always wait for the first coat to dry before applying the second, this way you avoid smudging and tackiness.

6. Apply a Fast-drying Top Coat

Not only is a topcoat important for maintaining your manicure, but a quick-dry topcoat can speed up the drying process and will leave your nails looking shiny. Make sure you cover the top of your nails with the topcoat, this will help to avoid chipping.

Tip: Not enough time for a coated mani? Opt for COVERGIRL Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss — its formula combines glossy color with a base and topcoat in one simple step.

7. Clean Up Your Mess

The easiest way to clean up any nail polish smudges that got onto your fingers is with a cotton swab and some nail polish remover. Dip your cotton swab into a bit of nail polish remover and wipe up any mistakes.


Copyright © Procter & Gamble Company