Nothing beats the feeling of fresh manicured hands. Whether it’s the bold colors, the relaxing hand massage or simply knowing that your nails are cleaned up, a great manicure goes a long way to making your day a bit brighter. As college students, it’s hard to visit the salon to get a weekly manicure, plus the cost digs into funds needed for books and groceries. But your nails don’t have to suffer since you always have the option of an affordable DIY manicure. To help you to an at-home mani refresh, College Gloss has compiled a list of manicure must-haves for a long-lasting, chip-free finish.
Nail Polish Remover
To start a great manicure, always use nail polish remover, even if you don’t have polish on your nails. This gives nails a clean, oil-free surface to work with. A non-acetone option is always a better choice, as it causes far less damage to nails and cuticles. Plus, it won’t bleach color if you spill. For the on-the-go girl, an acetone formula will help remove polish at a quicker pace, but only use it occasionally as it can dry out nails easily.
Try: Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover by OPI
For nails that are a bit too long for comfort, a pair of durable nail clippers can easily solve the problem. To avoid ingrown nails or accidentally cutting nails too short, cut straight across rather than at an angle.
Try: Precision Nail Clipper Set by Sephora
A proper nail file will smooth the edges of nails well and will protect nails against damage, instead of making them weaker. A helpful trick of the trade is to file nails in one direction, rather than going back and forth in a sawing motion, which will weaken nails and will not shape them properly. A nail file is great for smoothing out edges of nails that are too short to cut but still need to be managed. They also can shape nails into a variety of popular looks, including oval, round, almond and square.
Try: Antibacterial Extra Coarse Nail File by Les Mirages
Cuticle Stick and Balm
Despite what salons might say, it’s not an absolute requirement to trim cuticles. In fact, this practice can cause more harm than assistance, especially if the cuticle trimmer is not sanitized or used properly, as this can lead to infection. Instead, manage cuticles by first nourishing with a moisturizing balm or cream designed specifically for cuticles. Then use a cuticle stick to push back cuticles so that polish can last longer without cuticles growing out too soon. Try using a metal cuticle stick instead of a wooden one; it’s a more sterile option that will last longer.
Try: Professional Chrome Cuticle Pusher by Marianna and Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream by Burt’s Bees
Many girls understand the importance of top coat when it comes to an awesome manicure, but never forget the base coat. The base coat adheres to nails, and it can affect the entire finish of nails, even if you invest in an expensive color or top coat. Therefore, it’s important to choose a high quality base coat so that nails can stay chip-free for longer.
Try: Bonder Base Coat by Orly
The most creative aspect of a manicure is, of course, a fun nail color. With so many shades, brands and varieties to choose from, the options are truly endless. If you’re a frequent nail painter, invest in formaldehyde-free colors, which will keep damage to a minimum as they don’t have harmful chemicals. Also be on the lookout for formulas that claim to offer a “gel-like shine,” which means that they are similar to Shellac, which lasts longer than a standard polish.
Try: The ColorStay Longwear Nail Enamel Collection by Revlon, which is vibrant collection of colors that are all Formaldehyde, Toluene and DBP free
After applying base coat and two coats of your favorite color, waiting for nails to dry thoroughly in between, apply a long-wear top coat. Many fast-dry formulas work well if you’re in a rush or if you prefer to paint your nails several times a week, but their staying power and chip prevention factors are not very strong. Instead, look for a top coat that advertises with buzzwords like “shield” or “protection” in its title. These formulas may take a bit longer to dry, but they’ll be worth it in the end.
Try: Polishield 3-in-1 Top Coat by Orly
Nail Polish Remover Pen
Easily fix polish that has gotten on the edges of nails by using a nail polish remover pen. You can maneuver around nails to wipe off any residue that may have been left.
Try: No More Mistakes Manicure Clean-Up Pen by Sally Hansen
By using these tools and a steady hand, you’ll have a long-lasting Instagram-worthy DIY manicure to show off to roommates and friends!
By: Jen Morgan | Image: Source