Tips on Doing Your Nails at Home

Chipped nail polish. Breaking nails. Frail, damaged nailbeds. I’ve never been more desperate for a mani/pedi in my life! While the nail salons remain closed (at least until May 15), it’s time to take control of our wild claws and do your nails at home! Below you’ll find a few tools and recommendations for doing the job right.


Start With Filing

Filing is your new best friend. My grandmother carries a nail filer everywhere she goes, and now I understand why. This is the one tool that can help remove gel or acrylic nails from your last salon visit, file down those scraggly edges, and bring that perfect rounded or almond shape you love. Since you will be using this often, get something a little nicer than your average filer – like the Nail Tek Crystal Nail File ($16.50 from Ulta). This double-sided abrasive surface doesn’t wear out, and its convenient case makes it easy to shape your nails, without annoying peeling or breaking.

Give it a Protective Base Coat

Help your nails build strength and shine by painting them with a protective base coat first. This Deborah Lippman one ($20 from Sephora) helps strengthen nails, while also making them longer and stronger. It is specially formulated to help weak nails damaged by gel or artificial nail removal. It dries quickly, so you can move on to the final step.

Paint or Apply Stick-On Nails

Pretend you’re at the salon by finishing your DIY-manicure with a bright nail polish or fun stick-on nails. I love the Essie Gel Couture in Gossamer Garments ($11.50 from Ulta), as this light-pink color is sweet and springy, and the gel-like formula makes it look shiny and smooth. Another great option is this Kiss Gel Fantasy Ready-To-Wear Nails in Rush Hour ($7.99 from Target). It comes with plum, light pink and sparkly options so you can mix and match. Simply glue them on or stick with an adhesive for an amazing finish that lasts up to seven days!

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