I don’t know about you, but I love having manicured nails. I don’t always love the process of scheduling and going and sitting and paying for it, but I do want to look down at beautifully painted nails at all times.
I applaud those of you who are down for attempting full-scale, at-home gel manicures (ahem, Kat!). And even though I went to art school and fancy myself a painter, somehow that just doesn’t translate to having the patience to paint my own nails.
I’ll paint my own toes with traditional polish, no problem. (I love this exfoliating scrub and this callus stone for easy toes & feet prep in the shower.) But on my hands, I adore a really chic, professional nail polish job — something I just cannot seem to achieve myself.
3 Ideas For Easy DIY Manicures At Home
I’ve always had weak nails — it doesn’t matter how many vitamins or how much collagen I take, how healthy my diet is, or whether I polish or leave my nails bare. My nails are just bendy and thin and continually peel, so I like to always have something on them. But removing a traditional gel manicure is for the birds (amiright?!) and there are periods of time when I just need to save the extra dollars it takes to get them done at the salon.
Thanks to much trial and error over the years, testing out a huge variety of nail products, I’ve found some lovely, easy, salon alternatives to achieve nice-looking nails without all the fuss, time or expense. My top three at-home manicures are semi-cured nail stickers, an illuminating nail concealer, and a soft chrome powder technique that is easy-peasy.
1. ohora Semi-Cured Gel Stickers
My most-worn at-home manicure option for great-looking nails is the semi-cured gel stickers. I’ve mostly used the sets from ohora and they are so easy to use, but it looks like Dashing Diva has a similar option at Ulta, too.
I love a dark manicure most of the time and this gives me that option without having to go to the salon or take the time to paint my own. These stickers are as easy to apply as other nail polish stickers, but what I love is that they’re thicker like a gel manicure and yet come off super easily with no nail damage.
How To Apply ohora Semi-Cured Gel Nails
First, prep nails with an alcohol wipe (included) to remove oils/dirt. Then place the appropriately sized polish stickers on your nails. Trim the ends with nail clippers and smooth down with a cuticle pusher (I like the kinds like this with the rubber end) to get all the little edges flat. Set with a UV light (you can use any you already have or ohora makes a nice compact option.)
Then you have the option of putting on a gel topcoat and setting it again with the light. You can skip that step but I prefer adding the topcoat for a truly thick shine! You can grab this remover, too, for easy removal when it’s time. My ohora manicure typically lasts at least ten days, but all nail beds are different. The colors seem to rotate in availability and they have lots of nail art options, too!
My mom hipped me to this product this summer and I LOVE it. It’s by far the quickest of the three options.
Kur Illuminating Nail Concealer is just a simple, quick-drying sheer polish but it’s just opaque and shimmering enough to cover the nail well and distract from any discoloration or minor imperfections. It comes in a pale pink shade similar to a classic French manicure color or the Milky shade I’m wearing which is a little more white/pearly.
LONDONTOWN products are also vegan, cruelty-free, as well as gluten and paraben free, too.
How To Apply LONDONTOWN Kur Illuminating Nail Concealer
Prep nails as you usually would for polish and paint on one or two coats of Kur Illuminating polish, depending on how much coverage you need. You can apply a top coat if desired but you don’t really need it! That’s what I love is that it makes this process super quick.
3. A Renaissance Manicure
I LOVE the look of this manicure, especially now for a shimmery wintery option. It is easier than it seems, you just need a few specific products: metallic powder, a water-based top coat, and an optional peel-off skin protector. I tried a peel-off protector from Amazon and it stunk SO bad I couldn’t use it. That one linked is the product the tutorial recommends, so I’d imagine it’s better.
How To Apply A Renaissance Manicure
I used this Renaissance Manicure tutorial from Betina Goldstein on Instagram and it’s helpful to watch to see how much powder to apply (you can adjust depending on how soft or shimmery you want it to look.) Essentially you put a base coat down, use the sponge to rub on the metallic powder after the base coat dries, then top with the water-based top coat.
I was able to get a great mani without using the skin protector honestly. I used the eye shadow sponges that were included and tried to be careful applying the powder. It turns out if you do get any metallic powder on your skin it’ll just wash right off with your first hand-washing though! So, save yourself the extra, stinky purchase, I say! Haha.
Try A Glazed Donut Mani
This Renaissance manicure is also similar to the glazed donut mani Hailey Bieber got us gaga for last year. This particular powder I’ve linked is a little more silvery and if you layer black polish underneath it will give you the stronger chrome effect you see on the product page on Amazon (be sure to use the water-based top coat to get that look though!)
Bonus: A Daily Cuticle Routine That Works
I can’t remember where I saw this suggestion earlier this fall, but it immediately made sense. And it’s simple.
How To Perform A Daily Cuticle Routine
Use any nail oil you like (I’ve heard even just straight jojoba oil is all you need.) And after applying the nail oil to your cuticles, top it with a heavier layer of Aquaphor healing ointment or similar moisturizer. It seals in the oil and helps it not evaporate as quickly.
My cuticles look amazing when I use this regularly! That’s the key, heh… to actually do it. When I put the items on my nightstand I have the most luck with daily application! You could also keep it at your desk to apply perhaps during a zoom meeting or call. No judgment.
I hope these help us all have some easy DIY manicure options this winter! Always visit your local salon professionals when you can (I have friends who own their own businesses and truly appreciate it!) But in between visits, maybe these techniques will be handy! Pun intended.
Want to keep up with everything else I’m into? Pop over to my Instagram @laurajansenstyle where I love talking about food, sharing OOTDs, posting travel pics and chatting everyday mom-life stuff from Portland, Oregon. Oh, and lots of funny memes and pet videos because what is social media without plenty of those? xoxo
Pinners, this one’s for you…