Getting Great Manicures at Home

About a year ago, I was working 60-80 hours a week as well as selling LuLaRoe during any free moments. During that season, I would go get a manicure every few weeks as a method of stress relief from the craziness of life. It was a great way to have some time to myself for an hour or so, and have something pretty to show for it for the weeks to come.

Now that a regular manicure is way out of budget, I’ve been doing some experimenting to find the best possible products to do my nails at home. It’s still an easy way to get some alone time, while using about 25 cents’ worth of materials instead of $30 at the salon. It definitely doesn’t have the same life expectancy as acrylics, but I have found some tools that make regular polish last a lot longer than it used to.

My top, absolute, must-have product:Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat.

Seriously, until I used this product, my manicures would last about 24-48 hours before chipping. I used several high-quality top coats, but still the same result. This stuff is a miracle worker. Last week, I used this over some regular Essie nail polish and went 6 full days without a single chip. Even then, it was hardly noticeable and could have gone for a couple more days without a re-do. This stuff is legitimately what makes an at-home manicure even worth it for me, cause I’m not about to spend an hour on my nails for one day without chips.

Favorite regular nail polish:Essie.

I love OPI too, but I have found that Essie seems to hold up the best under the Seche Vite.

Favorite “gel” polish:Sally Hansen Miracle Gel.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been extremely impressed with any of the non-light gel polishes I’ve tried. I can go 2, sometimes 3 days without a chip, but nothing like a gel manicure from a salon. I get much better results from Essie polish with the Seche Vite top coat. Out of the gel polishes I’ve tried, however, I did like the Sally Hansen the best.

Favorite “10 free” polish:Sundays.

If you are a fan of “10 free” polishes, I really like the Sundays brand. If you haven’t tried one before, these polishes pretty much never last as long as the regular ones—even the very pricey brands like Butter London. I got about 3 days of wear out of the Sundays polish with Seche Vite top coat. I really like their color line; they all have a great sheen to them.

Favorite nail file/shaper: Nail Tek Crystal File.

I prefer crystal files for getting a smooth and consistent nail shape. With a regular file, I tend to file to the point that there is no nail left. The Nail Tek brand is my favorite.

Even if you can’t afford a $30 manicure every few weeks at this stage in your life, you can still treat yourself to nice nails at home! Spend $30 once instead on a few good tools, and mark out a time in your week to give yourself a little self-care and quiet time. You might even like it better than the hustle and bustle (and intense fumes) of a nail salon!

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