Nail Your At-Home Manicure With These Brilliant Hacks

Getting a manicure at the nail salon can be a relaxing experience, but it also comes with a spa price. To save money and avoid the hassle of heading out to a salon every couple of weeks, some prefer to manicure their nails themself. Fortunately, there are plenty of hacks that can help amateurs achieve the same polished look that a professional manicure can accomplish. You’ll be amazed at what household items like vinegar, baking soda, and Vaseline can do for your nails. From quick-drying your nail polish with hairspray to buffing out stains with toothpaste, these brilliant hacks will transform your manicures.

Prime Your Nails With Vinegar To Remove Oil

Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Sometimes it can seem like no amount of care or skill will yield the polishing results you’re looking for. The culprit may be your nail oil! Microscopic bits of oil on your nails can impact how well the paint adheres to them.

To ensure that your nails are primed and ready to be painted, try wiping them down with vinegar. Dip a cotton ball in the vinegar and rub your nails down to cut through any lingering oil.

Use Vaseline To Avoid Painting Your Skin

vaseline-nails
Beauty Tips For Skin/Pinterest
Beauty Tips For Skin/Pinterest

No matter how careful you are when painting your nails, it can be near impossible to avoid getting polish on the surrounding skin. Especially when you’re trying to paint the hand you write with, getting a steady brush stroke can be a challenge.

Rather than scraping the paint off after it’s dry, try applying some Vaseline to the area around your nails. The slick solution will create a layer between the paint and your skin, making it easy to remove any spillage after you’re done painting.

Revitalize Your Cuticles With Olive Oil

DeAgostini/Getty Images
DeAgostini/Getty Images

Cuticles can easily become dry and cracked, leading to painful tears and even bleeding. To repair the area where your skin and nails meet, give yourself a spa-worthy treatment with olive oil. Start by soaking your fingers in warm water to loosen the skin, then use a nail tool to push back the cuticles.

Heat up some olive oil in the microwave and rub it into your cuticles. Cover your hands with gloves to prevent moisture loss and head to bed. By the morning, your cuticles will be baby soft.

Use A Rubber Band To Paint French Tips

Amanda Edwards/WireImage/Getty Images
Amanda Edwards/WireImage/Getty Images

French tips are a classic look that never seem to go out of style. The problem is that they are one of the harder designs to pull off without the help of a professional. Some use stickers to create a perfect tip-shape, but doing so can leave a sticky residue on the nail.

Instead, try using a thick rubber band! Simply wrap the rubber band around your finger at the length you want your tips to be. Remove the band when you’re done painting and reveal a beautiful French manicure.

Create Ombre Nails With A Makeup Sponge

ombre-nails
Vanessa Reyes/Pinterest
Vanessa Reyes/Pinterest

Ombre nails are a gorgeous design that’s gained popularity in recent years for an artistic spin on the traditional manicure. Though they look difficult to create, they are rather simple if you use the makeup sponge technique.

To start, paint your nails a solid, light color. Then, take a makeup sponge and paint stripes with two or three shades of a nail polish color with the darkest at the bottom. Press the sponge over your nail and finish with a topcoat.

Whiten Your Nails With Baking Soda

BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Nails can become stained for a variety of reasons. Nail discoloration can result from painting your nails frequently, eating turmeric-rich meals with your hands, or even a fungal infection. If you’re itching for a natural nail look but can’t stand the stains, try this baking soda and hydrogen peroxide trick.

Mix one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with two and a half tablespoons of baking soda. Apply the paste to your nails and leave it on for three minutes. Scrub your nails with a soft toothbrush and then rinse with warm water.

Prevent Chipping By Using A Glass File

glass-file
HowcastCareStyle/YouTube
HowcastCareStyle/YouTube

Nail files work by essentially scraping away tiny bits of your nail. Unfortunately, this can lead to weakened nails that break or split. To shape and smooth your nails without damaging them, manicurists suggest using a glass nail file.

Like the name implies, glass files are made up of tiny glass crystals. Unlike emery boards or metal files, glass files don’t shred the tip of your nails. Rather, they seal the nail tip and prevent chips and cracks.

Thin Your Nail Polish With Hot Water

GettyImages-1147761438
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

One thing that’s sure to ruin your manicure is using nail polish that’s gotten thick. Like all paint, nail polish is sure to dry over time, resulting in a thicker substance that doesn’t spread evenly over the nail.

Before you chuck out your thick nail polish, try setting the bottle in a bowl of hot water for several minutes. The heat will help thin the liquid so you can continue using it for a little while longer.

Thin Your Nail Polish With Polish Remover

May Tse/South China Morning Post via Getty Images
May Tse/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

If soaking your nail polish bottle in hot water isn’t doing the trick to thin the liquid, you may need to take an additional step. It might seem crazy, but applying a few drops of nail polish remover to the nail polish can actually help.

The key ingredient is acetone, which manicurists use in its pure form to keep their array of nail polishes lasting over the years. Apply a drop or two of the remover to your nail polish and mix it up for a thinner paint.

Create A Matte Polish With Corn Starch

matte-nail-polish
Jeny Martins/Pinterest
Jeny Martins/Pinterest

One more trend that’s come to prominence lately is matte nail polish. Since it’s more common to see shiny nail polishes, having matte nails can make you stand out in the crowd. Rather than going out and buying a matte finish product, just mix a little polish you already have with cornstarch.

Use wax paper and a toothpick to mix them together and apply the substance to your nails as usual. Apply this technique to any of your colors to double your nail polish collection for practically free!

Use Hairspray To Dry Your Nails

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER Tristan Fewings/Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

After putting so much effort into a manicure, the last thing you want is to ruin your polish while waiting for it to dry. To help mitigate the risk and speed up the drying process, try spraying your nails with hairspray.

The key is to use a hairspray that comes out of an aerosol can and to spray from a far enough distance that it won’t smudge the paint. Not only will the spray dry your nails faster, but it will also reinforce the topcoat and help prevent smudges.

Cover Up Chips With Glitter

glitter-nails
Element5 Digital/Unsplash
Element5 Digital/Unsplash

It only takes one little chip in your nail polish to ruin a perfect manicure. Since removing your nail polish and repainting is time-consuming, try applying a coat of glitter over the polish instead.

The larger the glitter pieces, the more effective it will be at covering up large chips. Alternatively, you can add a coat of paint over the chipped area and then add glitter for more coverage. Adding a layer of glitter polish can also help hide clumpy paint jobs or pesky bubbles.

Don’t Glide On Glitter Nail Polish, Dab It

morenailpolish/YouTube
morenailpolish/YouTube

Glitter can liven up your nails, but spreading the polish evenly can be a challenge. Especially if you’re using it to hide a chip in your nail, you’ll want to ensure that the glitter adequately covers the nail.

Rather than gliding on the glitter nail polish, dab it. This technique will help ensure that the clear liquid doesn’t dominate the sparkles. To further manipulate how the glitter goes on, use a toothpick to move the particles around on your nail.

Remove Traces Of Nail Polish With Toothpaste

colgate
Colgate
Colgate

Even the strongest nail polish remover can leave your nails stained with the color they were painted. A great example is red nail polish, which tends to leave a pink residue behind after being wiped off.

To give your nails a thorough clean, try scrubbing them with a whitening toothpaste. Use a toothbrush or a nail brush and scrub them like you would your teeth. The ingredients will breakdown the lingering nail polish, especially if the paste includes baking soda.

Use Aluminum Foil To Thoroughly Remove Glitter Polish

aluminum-nails
Lisa Evans/Pinterest
Lisa Evans/Pinterest

While glitter nail polish can make for a wonderful coverup, it will inevitably chip off, as well. The annoying thing is that glitter nail polish is much tougher to scrub off than regular nail polish.

To make the process easier, apply nail polish remover to a cotton ball as you normally would. Set the cotton ball on your nail and then wrap them both with aluminum foil. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then remove the foil and use the cotton ball to remove the glitter with ease.

Avoid Air Bubbles By Rolling Instead Of Shaking

nail-bubbles
Jeanine Bailey/Pinterest
Jeanine Bailey/Pinterest

As with many liquids, you may be under the impression that nail polish needs to be shaken before applying. While it’s true that nail polish can separate, shaking it up fills the liquid with air and can result in air bubbles on your nails.

Instead, roll the nail polish bottle in between your palms to prevent tossing the liquid around too much. Another tip is to be sure that the first coat is completely dry before you apply a second coat.

Use The 3-Stroke Technique For An Even Application

GettyImages-1147761373
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Manicurists are trained to paint your nails with precision, so it can feel difficult to achieve their level of perfection. One trick that anyone can use, though, is the three-stroke technique.

Simply apply the first stroke of paint to the center of your nail. Then, do a second and third stroke on either side of the nail. Since your nails are curved, starting in the middle will prevent applying too much paint to the creases at either side of the nail.

Apply Hand Lotion To Avoid Nail Polish Remover Stains

hand-lotion
AdoreBeautyNZ/Pixabay
AdoreBeautyNZ/Pixabay

When removing nail polish, the liquid can cause the paint pigment to spread all over your skin. Thin can lead to your hands becoming stained, especially when removing dark colors. To avoid coloring your skin, apply hand cream before you begin removing the nail polish.

The lotion will act as a barrier, preventing the color from spreading and sticking to your skin. After removing the polish, wash your hands with soap and water to reveal stain-free, baby soft hands.

Avoid Exposing Wet Nail Polish To Humidity

Jakob Owens/Unsplash
Jakob Owens/Unsplash

One thing that may be compromising your nail polish is humidity. Freshly-painted nails can bubble up in moist air and take longer to dry, so it’s best to stay inside on humid days until they’ve finished drying.

Humidity can also shorten the lifespan of your nail polish bottles by causing the paint inside to clump. For this reason, experts recommend keeping your nail polish in a cool, dry place that doesn’t fluctuate in temperature too often. So, avoid keeping your bottles stored in the bathroom.

Don’t Dry Your Nails With A Fan

Bruno/Germany/Pixabay
Bruno/Germany/Pixabay

One common belief is that fans will help expedite your nails drying. While the wind from fans may help them dry faster, it comes with the risk of air bubbles ruining your manicure.

Instead, try to avoid using things like hairdryers to blow your nails dry. Having some patience always pays off when it comes to nail design. If you’re in a rush, try the hairspray technique we mentioned earlier to shorten the drying time.