1. Style
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

How to at-Home Manicure

Avoid paying salon prices and spoil yourself with a home manicure


How to at-Home Manicure
Nacivet/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Giving yourself a manicure at home is a fun and relaxing way to spend some free time as well as saving the cost and effort of going to a salon.

All you need to do is follow our step-by-step guide for your home manicure pamper session.

Things You'll Will Need:

  • Cotton Pads 
  • Nail polish remover (fake nails require non-acetone to prevent them dissolving)
  • Nail scissors
  • Emery board
  • Q-Tips
  • Bowl
  • Hand lotion/cream
  • Clear polish
  • Cuticle cream
  • Cuticle tool
  • Kitchen towel
  • Hand exfoliant
  • Plastic gloves*


  1. Fill the bowl with warm (not hot) water.
  2. Remove jewelry and wipe all traces of old nail polish off with a cotton pad soaked in nail polish remover.
  3. File nails to shape remembering to work in one direction only, rather than with a back and forth motion.
  4. Massage exfoliant into hands (for a really relaxing experience exfoliant can be added to lower arms and massaged there too.)
  5. Apply cuticle cream with a Q-Tip to the nails of one hand and soak in the water for 5-minutes.
  6. Take the cuticle tool and very gently push cuticles back toward the base of nail.  Do not snip away extraneous skin with scissors unless you are sure it is dead otherwise you could cause damage to the cuticle.
  7. Use the other end of the cuticle tool to remove any debris from under the nail, be gentle here though since this skin can be tender.
  8. If hands are very dry this is the point at which you would put a good coating of hand lotion or cream on them, and then slip them into the plastic bag for around 30 minutes. This will give you soft and silky skin.
  9. Repeat procedure with other hand.  
  10. Prior to applying polish take a Q-Tip and dip it into the polish remover.  Wipe across the surface of the nail to remove oil and cream residue which could prevent polish adhering correctly.
  11. For a professional look apply polish from the cuticle upwards in a one-stroke motion starting with the center of the nail and then a further stroke on either side.
  12. Allow around 5-minutes for polish to dry, then apply a second coat if desired.

Manicure maintenance

  • To keep your manicure looking fresh wear rubber gloves when washing dishes.
  • Wear gloves outside in the colder weather to help hands stay soft and protected.
  • Your nails are not tools so try to avoid picking at things with them; it will chip the polish and weaken the nail.
  • Use hand cream when possible, after washing up or bathing but definitely at night.

    ©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.