Here’s how to give yourself a manicure at home like a pro

Ama Nunoo Ama Nunoo | Editor March 26, 2020

Closeup of african girl in white bath towel appying moisturising cream to her hands. Photo: Istock

Having a fresh manicure is always refreshing and makes you look and feel ready for the week ahead. What do you do when you have absolutely no time to wait in line at the manicurist or you feel a pinch in your purse whenever you have to pay for your manicure after a session? Learning to do your manicure at home is not cumbersome at all.

In fact, it will save you lots of time and cash. By buying a few essential tools and having steady hands, you get to enjoy beautifully manicured nails from the comfort of your home at more half the cost you usually pay at the nail salon.

Essential tools

Nail-polish remover and cotton swabs or pads

Nail clippers

Emery board and nail buffer

Cuticle pusher and nippers

Callous/cuticle remover

Hand/nail moisturizer

Base coat

Nail polish

Clear topcoat


Image result for how to give yourself a manicure african american

Photo: The Zoe report

Remove previously applied nail polish and shape nails

Use the nail polish remover and cotton swabs or pads to clean the old nail polish from your nails. When you are done, use the clipper to clip the nails and use the nail file to gently shape them.

There is no fast rule to which shape to go in for, just be creative about it. Do not go in for metal or very coarse nail files because they can damage your natural nails. Stick to slightly abrasive emery board or crystal nail file.

Use a buffer to smoothen the sides and top but make sure not to overdo them otherwise the polish will just lip off the nails when you paint them in the end.


Image result for Soak and apply cuticle remover african american

Photo: Glamour Uk

Soak and apply cuticle remover

Now soak your nails in slightly warm water with a few drops of face cleanser or shampoo for about two to three minutes. Please do not over soak as it tends to damage the nails. It is essential to clean the cuticles of the nail. Apply your cuticle remover to further soften the thickened skin around your nails before cutting them away.


Image result for Clean excess cuticles around the nail african american

Photo: Healthline

Clean excess cuticles around the nail

With your cuticle pusher, push the cuticle gently away from the nail bearing in mind that excessive pushing can damage nail growth or fray the cuticle. Do not by any means exert pressure on the cuticle during this process because the cuticles are there to protect the nail bed.

Use a metal cuticle nipper to get rid of any free edges and to remove hangnails around the sides of the nail. This step is very delicate; be sure not to cut into your skin.


Image result for moisturise nail african american

Photo: Istock

Moisturise and prep nails for polish

At this stage, massage cream or oil into cuticles and hands to hydrate and replenish skin. Now apply cotton swab or nail polish on the nails because the moisturizer will make the nail polish slip off.


Image result for paint nail with polish african american

Photo: Cosmopolitan

Paint nails in layers and reapply moisturizer

It is advisable to use a base coat made of ridge-filling nail polish to ‘shore up’ the nail. This protects the nails from staining when using bright nail polishes.

After the base coast, apply the nail polish of your choice in two coats, making sure the first coat dries before the second. Finally, apply a top coat to add the needed gloss to the ensemble.

With all the layers of polish used, it will take time for the nails to finally dry so be patient with it. You can use a fan to dry it but be cautious not to get too close to avoid bubbles in the nails. Heat like that from the hair drier will chip the polish or make them brittle.

Finally, when the nails are dry, reapply moisturizer because it’s a great way to keep your nails and cuticles looking healthy.