11 Manicure Tips for Those on a Budget

With unstable economies and unpredictable job statuses, everyone needs to be budget-conscious these days. Watching your budget doesn’t have to mean giving up all the little luxuries you afford yourself, such as manicures. It simply means you make adjustments to better fit your finances such as choosing a do-it-yourself manicure method rather than going to an expensive salon.

If your budget doesn’t allow for professional manicures, don’t fret! Here are 15 tips to help you achieve the perfect manicure at home for a fraction of the cost.

1. Whiten your nails. There are several methods for whitening your nails including using bleach water and a toothbrush. However, a less harsh and just as inexpensive method is to dissolve two denture cleansing tablets in a small bowl of warm water. Soak your nails for several minutes and then scrub them with a nail brush.

2. Shape your nails for strength. Many round and pointed nail shapes tend to tear or break easily. Square nails are strong but often make fingers look pudgy. So what’s a girl to do? Try shaping the nail in to a “squoval” – a square with rounded corners. You will have the benefit of strength and still maintain a delicate looking manicure.

3. Measure your nails . Compare them against their counterpart to ensure they are the same length after filing. This will give your nails a more professional looking manicure.

4. Never shake your nail polish to blend it. Instead, roll it between your palms. This stirs and warms the polish without causing air bubbles to form.

5. Wash and rinse nails thoroughly. Do this  applying polish to remove any excess oils or soap residue. Oils and soap residue can cause the polish to peel and wreck your manicure. Another way to remove oils is to soak a cotton ball with nail polish remover and give it a swipe across each nail, allowing it to dry completely, before applying polish.

6. For a smooth polish application, you need a steady hand. Properly hold the applicator by grasping the brush between the thumb and middle finger and resting your index finger on top of the cap.

7. Apply polish in thin layers. Allow each layer to dry for roughly 5 minutes between coats. Basecoats and polish should be applied first down the center of the nail and then filled in on the left and right sides. There should be a total of 4 layers of polish per nail when completed. First apply a clear basecoat, then two layers of polish and topped with a clear topcoat. Let the polish dry for a minimum of 15 minutes before using hands. It can take up to 2 hours for polish to dry completely so be careful what you do with your hands during that time!

8. Remove excess polish. After the polish has dried for at least 15 minutes, dip an orangewood stick into nail polish remover and run it along the sides of each nail to remove any excess polish from your fingers.

9. Massage with cuticle oil. Once polish has dried completely, or after about 2 hours, apply a small amount of cuticle oil around the cuticle area and massage into and around each cuticle.

10. Reapply topcoat. Do this 2-3 times per week to keep polish from chipping. Should a chip emergency arise, simply buff the edges of the chip until they’re smooth, fill in with polish. Once the nail is dry, apply a coat to the entire nail, follow with topcoat. Let dry completely.

11. Never file your nails after they’ve been in water. This makes the nail soft and will cause the nail to tear during filing.

As you can see, there’s simply no reason to remove monthly manicures from your budget when you can do them at home. Make it fun, call your girlfriends, grab a bottle of wine and give each other a manicure!