How to: Flawless At-Home Manicure


How to: Flawless at-home Manicure

Being a nail polish addict (hoarder?) that I am, I definitely don’t talk about nails here on the blog, often enough.

In High School, I was obsessed with acrylics. You know, the long pink fake nails with a thick, french tip…. yeah… thank God those days are gone! I’d spend hours and hours playing with my acrylic sets, filing, painting and filling my nails. I always found it to be very soothing and relaxing, which was one of the reasons why I always did them myself.

Btw, did you know that first acrylic nails were invented by a dentist who broke his fingernail at work? The more you know….

These days, I’m all about natural nails. I’m also kind of, sort of, really obsessed with nails and nail polish. I don’t always wear makeup, my hair can be a mess, my outfits aren’t always on point. BUT when it comes to my nails, they always have to look good.

I am a bit of a germophobe so I really don’t like getting my nails done at a salon- not even when bringing my own tools. Getting a pedicure during summer is a torture for me- I don’t enjoy it at all, but have accepted it to be a necessary evil.

I love a good at-home manicure session though and in this post, I’ll show you exactly how I file and prep my nails for a flawless nail polish application.*


The only time I cut my nails, is when I break one of them. I file them probably about once a week- this helps to get rid of any rough, pointy edges and prevents them from catching on clothing and breaking. Every night, in addition to applying my hand cream, I also massage some cuticle oil into my cuticles. I use anything from regular olive oil, Argan oil to apricot oil (this one from Essie is my favorite). Also about once a week, is when I change my nail polish color and give myself a manicure, this is what it looks like, step by step:

how to at home manicure


If your cuticles are really rough and dry, you might want to use a cuticle removing cream before soaking your nails, to soften up your skin. If your cuticles tend to feel really dry after you remove your nail polish, try mixing your nail polish with a little olive oil (40% oil 60% nail polish remover).

After my top coat is dry, I usually apply a thick layer of my favorite hand cream and a little cuticle oil. I avoid applying any creams and oils before applying my base coat and polish, because both can leave your nail bed a little slippery, even after washing your hands.

If your nail polish smudges during application, you can easily fix it with your top coat- just apply a generous layer and let it dry.

Work with thin layers- from my experience, it’s much easier to apply two, thin (sometimes three, depending on how opaque the polish is) layers, rather than one or two thick ones. Your nails will dry faster and more evenly, if you work with thin layers.

These are some of my at-home mani must-haves:

*on my nails, wearing Glitter Daze “Mile High Club”


  • Reply
    Ambar Syed
    June 28, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Really lovely step by step guide Paula! I love treating myself to the occasional manicure at the salon but I love the convenience of an at home manicure as well – so easy to do and it can look absolutely beautiful! :)
    – Ambar x

    • Reply
      Paula @
      June 28, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you Ambar!! I wish I could enjoy getting a pedi here and there. Instead of feeling like I’m treating myself, I feel like I’m paying for someone to torture me hahaha :D :D

  • Reply
    Catherine McCourt
    June 28, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Gaah, I wish I had beautiful days like this! Since becoming a Mum nails are seriously low down on my priority list, although I find they always chip the same or next day of painting, even with an expensive top coat!

    Catherine | Hey, Mama

    • Reply
      Paula @
      June 28, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      Aww, that’s totally understandable. Maybe when your little one is a little older, you can have mommy-daughter mani sessions haha :)

  • Reply
    Abigail Alice
    June 28, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Your nails look amazing! Great tips!

    Abigail Alice x

  • Reply
    Missy Quigley
    June 28, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Your nails are so gorgeous. I can never get the polish right, even with my “good hand”

    • Reply
      Paula @
      June 28, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks Missy! Practice makes perfect but removing any mishaps with nail polish remover is the easiest way to get a clean mani, I think.

  • Reply
    Dagmara Klich
    June 28, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Just like you I need my hands and nails to look well taken care of. Some days I don’t have time or energy to re-do my manicure and feel absolutely awful :) And absolutely hate chipped nails or if they’re different length, if one get broken all are going under cut. haha! x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

  • Reply
    June 28, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    I’m so happy you shared your manicure tips because I always think your nails look fab! I’ve definitely been filing my nails the wrong way, maybe that’s why they peel so will definitely keep that in mind. Oh and I wish I could stop myself from cutting the excess cuticles but they just go horrible and I’ve tried pushing them back with not much luck… maybe I just need to persevere with it x

    Beauty with charm

    • Reply
      Paula @
      July 4, 2016 at 10:40 am

      Thanks so much Alina! I find that moisturizing the cuticles helps a lot and cuts down on the need to push them away.

  • Reply
    The Gossip Darling
    June 28, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Hahhahaha the acrylics!! I had them too! Then I went to gel manicures and now I am all natural. Def the way to go. I love DIY manicure tips! Thanks for this! xo

    Mel |

  • Reply
    June 28, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Thanks so much! I adore these tips. Wonder how long you wait between coats of the nail polish?


    • Reply
      Paula @
      June 29, 2016 at 6:44 am

      Thanks Janet! I don’t usually wait between coats. I first apply polish on my left, then right hand and right away I start working with the second coat.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2016 at 3:02 am

    Girl you’ve got some serious nail skills! I try to keep my nails polished at all times as well, but frankly I’m quite rubbish at doing them. Will definitely try that brush tip for clean up though! xx

  • Reply
    June 29, 2016 at 3:36 am

    Your nails are gorgeousss! Also, love that nail polish colour! x


  • Reply
    Aleksandra // bunniesaremagic
    June 29, 2016 at 4:45 am

    It saves soo much time and money too. I try to do my nails at home, only getting them done if desperate (like now, when I go on holiday and it suddenly chips… eh), although I am not even nearly as good at it as you :)

  • Reply
    June 29, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Your nails came out so nice, I wish I saw this post before I painted my nails yesterday. Mine look like a mess.

    Perfect Shade of Mauve

  • Reply
    Carina Vardie
    June 29, 2016 at 9:25 am

    I like doing my own manicure, it’s relaxing. Great tips! I need to start applying hand cream after I’m done.


  • Reply
    Mary M.
    June 29, 2016 at 9:42 am

    I love this post, with all the steps and the great pictures! It’s actually a great inspiration, because I can’t remember the last time I applied nail polish, having just gone through 5 weeks of final exams at the university. Thank you!

    Have an amazing week,
    Mary x

  • Reply
    June 29, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Your nails are so pretty! I wish I could do my nails like that and my nails would have such a beautiful from. Maybe with the tips I will come closer to the dream-goal :P
    Thx for sharing <3

  • Reply
    Liz | Lipstick & Confetti
    June 29, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    These are great tips, thank you for sharing! I love doing at-home manicures.

    xo, Liz

  • Reply
    lagom chaos
    June 29, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Haha, when I was in high school I also loved fake nails…until I actually got them and wasn’t able to button or unbutton my clothes. I love the nail polish that you used, by the way! It’s a beautiful shade of pink.

  • Reply
    Marta Sierra Marti
    June 30, 2016 at 7:12 am

    I love doing my nails at home! These tips are so useful, especially the soaking step!


  • Reply
    June 30, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Such a fab post Paula, all I see are your beautiful fingers haha. Definitely giving myself a mani on my bday, thanks for all the wonderful tips :)

    Sam || Beautydetour

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Hisle
    June 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    You know, I haven’t done my nails in a very, very long time. Maybe it’s time to change that. :) I loved fake nails in high school too, but I would never get them now. So uncomfortable… I don’t know what I was thinking!

  • Reply
    Beauty Follower
    July 1, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Nice post!

  • Reply
    July 1, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    I always need a hand cream and some cuticle oil/balm to help moisturise my nails!!
    Kathy x

  • Reply
    July 7, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Great post! I’m kind of a noob when it comes to doing my own nails, so this was helpful. :) Love the nail polish colour, so pretty and fresh!

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