Manicure at a salon, spa or in a nail spa sounds so appealing, mostly because you will be pampered with complimentary extras while making your nails, such as relaxing hand massage, a cup of tea and relaxing music.
But can we really always afford this type of luxury? Do we always have time for half an hour’s drive to a salon, 1 hour for manicure, 1 hour of doing nothing waiting for the nail polish to dry and half an hour’s drive back home? If you have tickets to the opera on Friday night, and you know that your boss will not give you half a day off just because you need to have your nails done, and the night before you had to help your child with a school project, going to a nail spa is not an option.
For me manicure is a necessity, if I keep my nails unpolished they chip so easily. My nails grow fast, they are not very hard, I hate when the nail growth is pretty obvious at the cuticle, I live a very active life and I love experiments with different colors and new looks on my nails. This is why my nails must be done every week. But I cannot find time to go to a nail spa so often. I am a huge fan of at-home manicure simply because I save lots of time for other fun stuff.
Over the years, I created a do–it-yourself (DIY) manicure system that requires minimum effort and time. The secret of this system is that you need to brake the whole manicure process into smaller parts. Every separate part requires just a little time and it’s easily incorporated into a normal day life.
There are five steps to follow:
1. Nail polish removal, taking care of cuticles and nail filing
I wipe all traces of the old nail polish off with a cotton pad soaked in nail polish remover just before going to the shower before bedtime. Usually, it takes not more than 5 minutes. Then I take a shower that works as an equivalent of soaking your fingers in a bowl of hot soapy water. All your cuticles will soften in the shower and you will easily push them back a bit and cut if it is really needed, so that your nails appear longer and will make it easier to apply nail polish. You should also shape and file your nails at this stage. Usually, this takes about 10 minutes. At the end I like to apply cuticle oil, heavy hand cream, or just some coconut oil from the kitchen. If my husband is out on a business trip, I always slip on cotton gloves for maximum moisturizing overnight. I never try to ruin our night with those gloves if he is at home (you wouldn’t like your husband sleeping with his gym gloves, would you?). Nails can breathe and rest without any chemical during the night.
After the morning shower, application of creams, styling the hair and dressing, but before makeup, I wash my hands to remove oil and cream residue, which could prevent nail polish base sticking correctly. I just apply one thin coat of nail polish base and carefully start my makeup. This coat dries out in a moment. In 3 minutes after application you should be able to do everything without smudging your nails. I forget about my nails till midday or till evening and even without any color the nails look neat.
3. First coat of nail polish
I try to find 15 minutes of free time after lunch. Washing hands with soap is again needed to remove oils and cream residue from nails. I choose polishes that make a smooth even coverage after the first coat application. A brush of the nail polish makes a difference as well − I find that brushes from Dior Nail Polish are perfect because they have a very nice rounded shape that makes application of polish at the cuticle line so easy. Usually, this step takes not more than 5 minutes and the polish dries out in 15 minutes.
4. Second coat of nail polish
At the end of the day after shower, I apply the second coat of nail polish and go to read a book or watch TV. This coat also dries out very quickly, but you should still be a bit careful with your nails for another 15 min.
5. Top coat
Next morning after shower, dressing up and making my hair I apply the top coat. It dries out as quickly as I finish my light makeup.
I find that sometimes it is much easier to spend 15 or 20 minutes during the day than to find at least one hour for the whole manicure in one go or at least 2 hours to go to a nail spa.
Now we are spending time in a small fishing village in Sri Lanka. We live in a secluded villa with a gorgeous view of the Indian Ocean, but no nail spa around us. I had no time to make my nails at home before the trip and I cannot squeeze in a full manicure into crazy adventures that are waiting for us here. I am going for my timesaving manicure again.
I hope you will give manicure my way a try. Let me know if you have some easy tricks of your own.