How To Master The At Home Manicure

how to do your own nails at home

Would you believe me if I told you I can’t remember the last time I went to a salon to get a manicure? I refuse to spend even the $10 for a polish change for it to just fall apart in a few days anyway. I’ve mastered the at home mani and sharing my tips today. You’ll never go back, except for a good pedi every so often for super soft feet of course.  

My essentials for the at home mani require you heading to your local beauty supply store. The file blocks are the greatest and I highly recommend. I use a med/coarse and then a fine/extra-fine one. The hard one is for filing your nails down and the med/fine is to buff them to prepare them for painting. I think this step is what makes such a difference in my nail polish staying put for a long time.    

essentials for an at home manicure
Revlon Copa Sunset Nail Polish

Today’s essentials. Nail Buff (fine/super-fine not shown) Sally Hanson Stocking Nude | Revlon Copa Sunset | OPI Base Coat | Wet n Wild Fast Dry Top Coat    Revlon in Copa Sunset  

File down to the length you like. I like mine nice and short.    Buff the entire nail back and forth with the finest side of your block.   Apply your OPI base coat.  

buffing nails
how to buff your nails for a manicure

I start with my left hand first and always do a swipe down the middle of my nail and then work my way out. Keeping a nice even, thin coat.  

top coat for an at home manicure
how to do a manicure at home

Apply a second coat, thin is key. Packing it on doesn’t do anything but take forever to dry.  

red at home manicure
at home manicure tips

I like to do a party nail every once in a while and today went for something neutral.  

how to paint your nails

Don’t be in a rush to apply your top coat. Waiting a bit for it to dry will help decrease any formation of bubbles.  

The final look. I’m loving this fun coral red for Spring. Makes me feel like I should be on the beach.  

red nails holding coffee

Photos by Rebekah Carson Photography

Jessica is an Atlanta life and style blogger. Aiming to bring practical tips to your every day life. Tips that you can easily tackle and make your life feel just a tad more 'put-together'.


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Leave a Comment


  1. 3.19.14

    Get ready for your life to change: CND SolarSpeed Spray ( DIY mani magic. Dries nails hard as rocks in 5 minutes flat! You’ll be thanking me for the rest of time! 😉

  2. 3.19.14

    I used to get my nails done with gel religiously, but there is nothing like a good at home mani- so therapeutic!!

  3. 3.19.14
    Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl said:

    I love this post! I really need to do more at home manicures and take car of my nails in general…whoops!

    Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl

  4. 3.19.14
    A Franny said:

    This just reminded me to look at my nails. They are on the strugglebus. Great post!


  5. 3.19.14

    This could not have come at a better time. I currently have the worlds most chipped nails. Definitely going to try this at home rather than spending unnecessary money.

    Guilty of Glitz

  6. 3.23.14
    AlinaLoves said:

    I’m the same – I haven’t had a manicure done at a salon since… probably before my wedding. I love doing my nails at home, changing the colours depending on my mood etc. I used to just polish my nails without any prep work, but then realised that the better conditioned and prepared the nails, the longer lasting manicure. This Revlon shade is just dreamy – such a perfect coral/pink colour!

  7. 3.25.14

    I love your color combo! I too rarely poke my head inside a nail salon. I feel so guilty paying the extra money when I can do it myself and keep the polish! I usually do an accent nail or a fun glitter/speckle top coat but this week I did a blue/orange combo with my April Julep colors! Check out my Mani Monday post here >>