DIY Salon Manicure and Nail Design

By Anja Trenkwalder

Elm Staff Writer

Budgeting enough cash to get your perfect manicure at a salon can be a real challenge for college students. Fortunately you can easily create your perfect manicure in your dorm room. Just follow these eight easy steps for your personal nail-care experience:

Step 1: Start with clean nails. Make sure your nails are free of any nail polishes, creams, or lotions. Wipe your nails with polish remover until every last bit of the old nail polish is gone. Remember, nail polish remover without acetone is better for your nails.

Step 2: Soak your nails in warm water to make them softer and easier to clip. Ideally, you would let them soak for about three minutes. Add a nice-smelling soap to the water for the perfect DIY spa experience.

Step 3: Shape your nails – use a clipper, nail scissors, and/or a file to gently trim your nails and create your desired shape. If your nails are naturally brittle or break easily, consider applying artificial nails on top of your real ones. When shaping them, follow the instructions on the package.

Get creative with your own salon manicure experience by trying out different nail shapes, polishes, and rhinestones.
Get creative with your own salon manicure experience by trying out different nail shapes, polishes, and rhinestones.

Step 4: Now that you got your nails in shape, apply a thin layer of clear base coat. The base coat will protect your nails and helps your nail polish last longer. If you are wearing artificial nails you can skip this step.

Step 5: Once your base coat is dry, it is time to get creative.  Apply at least two coats of nail polish for perfect coverage. Let each coat dry completely before applying the next one. If you want to bring out the color of the polish even better, put on a white polish on top of your base coat, to hide the natural tint of your fingertips – this will let the colors shine even more. If you want to put rhinestones on your nails, set them onto the still-wet polish – it will act as your glue. To prevent nail polish from sticking to the skin around your nails, apply lotion or Vaseline around (but not on) your nails. This will prevent the polish from setting there and allow for a clean finish. You can even use simple thin strips of scotch tape to create unique patterns. Simply glue a pattern onto your nails, add on a colored topcoat, and carefully remove the tape while the polish is still wet.

Step 6: For an amazingly shiny finish that will last longer, apply a clear topcoat. It will prevent the polish from chipping and hold rhinestones and stickers in place.

Step 7: Let it dry. Really, give it time to dry and don’t touch anything for at least a few minutes. Speed up the drying process by gently dipping your hands into cold water, or better yet, ice water. Leave them in for several minutes to significantly speed up the drying process.

Step 8: Apply your favorite hand-lotion or cream for super soft hands.

Enjoy your beautiful nails. Depending on what nail polish you use, your manicure will look like new for a few days to a week. Some of the nicest and longest-lasting nail polishes are from O.P.I., Essie, and Formula X. They are available at most drug stores and Sephora.

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