Hi friends! I am so excited about today’s post – it’s all about nails at home! This post is a very long time coming and has been a labor of love. I’ve spent quarantine testing all of the different ways to do nails at home since we have not been able to go to the nail salon. It’s been fun and a major learning experience. I’ve tried all of the things – dip, gel, wraps, press on’s, weekly polishes, you name it!
I need to mention that purchasing any type of manicure tools is challenging right now. As we are all in the same situation and need to do our nails at home, there has been a run on virtually everything. Stores and brands are beginning to restock now, so just be patient and mix and match what you need to for the perfect manicure!
Two random thoughts before we jump into the specifics- First, there are pluses and minuses to every way to do your nails. I truly think that no single way is better than the other, they just work better for different people. Second, this article is an interesting read on not going to the nail salon. The gist: you’re giving your nails a detox and that is never a bad thing.
Dip Powder Polish
What a hot mess this was for me. In theory, at home dip is great, but it is a lot of work. There is a powdery residue everywhere! However, so many people I know are pro’s at doing their own dip. Me – not so much. I tried this two times and there is definitely a learning curve involved. My first set only lasted three days and was a total mess. My second set was immensely better. This is by far the most labor intensive way to do your nails and requires the most clean up. It also requires the most precise painting. If you get your base coat onto your cuticles it can ruin an entire nail’s look and ability to last. I’m far too sloppy at painting my non-dominant hand for this to ever look good. There is also a good bit of filing involved, so be prepared to commit time and detail to your nails when using dip. I’m not ruling this out entirely and will probably give it another try in the near future, but it will take a lot of practice to fully nail this. ????
I use the Red Carpet Manicure set and think it works just fine. Many people love the Revel brand, but shipping times were very slow on that. I do think that the because of the time commitment and how labor intensive this is, it may be best to wait for salons to re-open and have it done there. It’s also important for me to note that this significantly damaged my nails. I’m sure a lot of this is my own error, but after two months, my nails are still trying to recover.
- Messy and strong fumes
- Use a towel under work area to minimize clean up
- Use a fluffy brush to clean/dust nails
- Wait between top coats to let nails fully dry
- Hard to do yourself
- Lots of filing involved
- Do one hand at a time to make process easier
- Worth having done at a salon
- Damaging to nails
. . . . .
At home gel polish isn’t new, but it is hard to get right now! It took almost a month to get all of the components. If you’re a neat nail painter, then this is for you! It’s all about light layers and even painting. Make sure you let your nails cure in the light longer than recommended as well. My first go at this ended very badly and I think it is because the polish did not cure properly. I tried a few different brands of polish they all work similarly. Pick your brand based on color choice or brand preference. I did these a second time and was much happier with the results. Do note that these do not last as long as they do when salon-done. I’m sure this is because of not using a dremel to significantly file nails ahead. I need to do note that this is by the hardest type of polish style to do on short nails, which I have. Because of this, I use a small brush to clean up any polish before it sets around tops of nails!
- Lots of color, polish and supply options
- Time consuming – waiting for nails to cure
- Always cure nails longer than recommended
- Doesn’t last super long
- Do one hand at a time for neat application
- Can mix and match polish and coat brands
- Hard to do on short nails
. . . . . .
This category includes Vinylux, Essie and OPI’s weekly polish offerings. To be honest, they’re all essentially the same. It has more to do with brand and color preference. None of them truly last a week, but they do hold up better than traditional nail polish with no additional effort. As with traditional polish, cuticle oil and hand lotion will help maintain your manicure and keep polish from cracking. I should note two things here: if you apply a top coat, make sure to use the one that corresponds with the brand of polish. They are formulated to work together and in my experience, mixing top coat and polish brands does not yield great results. However, if you have gel polish topcoat and a UV lamp, you can set the top with this and it will make your nails last longer. I also recommend using a sticky base coat as they help your polish last a bit longer.
- Apply cuticle oil daily to help your polish last
- Keep hands moisturized to avoid cracking
- Simple application – no base coat needed
- Easy removal with acetone
- Multiple brands to choose from
- Can use with or without base coat
. . . . . .
Olive and June
While Olive and June is basically a weekly polish, I love this line so much that it deserves its own section. These polishes are at the top of my list. You can read my full manicure tutorial using them here. This polish is long lasting and available in the prettiest shades. I will say that some of the chalkier colors chip faster. But overall, these are just awesome and fairly fool proof for even the worst of polishers [read: me.] Other exciting news – Target now carries these polishes! Bonus points for the beautiful packaging and ingenious Poppy bottle topper! I also love that the brand is constantly posting tutorials and tip videos to their social media. These are great to watch before you start painting and have tips that work for almost any type of manicure you may want to do. Also note – the picture above in the weekly polish section is Olive and June.
- Easy to use polish
- Great color choices
- Genius bottle topper for ease in painting
- Prettiest packaging [always bonus points for this ????]
. . . . . .
Color Street Nails/Nail Strips
I have to admit that these are what I was most hesitant to try. I had heard really mixed reviews from people and it all just seemed too complicated for me. A friend of mine sells these, so I ordered a few from her to try on myself and Avery. I watched a few YouTube tutorials to get myself fully prepared before I applied – and this was such a good idea! These tutorials were my saving grace and made the process so easy. The application was simple and I could fit two nails per individual nail sheet. This means I have an entire extra set left over to use. Make sure to let these fully cure on your nails after application! To remove, you simply use nail polish remover! These are hard to get, so I recommend going through a consultant to get them. I get mine from my friend Samantha, here!
- Watch YouTube tutorials before applying
- Let nails cure for at least 30 minutes post application
- Easy to remove with acetone
- Hard to find unfortunately
- Best to work with a consultant to get
. . . . . .
Press On Nails
I never imagined I would be applying press-on nails ever again after my tween years. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I’m glad they do. These are not the press-on nails of the 90’s by any means. Most are now made with gel and will give you the look and feel of a gel polish or dip powder manicure. BUT, they are a fraction of the price of getting these treatments done at a salon. Simply size them, apply glue, press and go! And they last for at least a week. I’ve only removed mine out of boredom, so I’m sure I could get two full weeks from them. I do recommend using brush on glue to apply these. It’s much easier and durable. Apply the glue to both the nail and your nail and press. If length or width is an issue, simply use an emory board to shape and adjust length. I love short nails so I filed mine down and they were perfect! I love these so much that I now have multiple sets on hand to use.
- Super easy to use!
- Use brush on glue, not what comes in the kit
- Budget friendly
- Soak-off removal
- Easy to shape and file for length
There you have it friends – almost three months of trial and error and lots of manicures. My top three are press-on’s, color strips and Olive and June. I highly recommend all of these and think you can get a great manicure at home with them! Are you doing your nails at home? What are you loving? Share in the comments!
Thank you for reading and have a fabulous day!