So you’re on a budget, or you just don’t have the time to get to the salon, but those raggedy nails are becoming an embarrassment. You don’t have a wedding, trip, or a holiday party coming up…what to do? Have no fear! There is a hot new trend among hipsters to be like our Grandmothers and DIY our everyday needs. Granny didn’t have a string of “Fashion Pretty Top Nail” chains in a strip mall near her. And even if she did, she would have ruined her new mani killing a chicken with her bare hands. You’ve made your own jam, brewed your own beer – it’s time to get back to beauty basics!
How to DIY a Mani in 17 Easy Steps!
Time Required: 4 hours 23 minutes
- Gather your materials. This may involve digging out an old cosmetics bag from the back of your drawer. Among the contents you may find an orange stick (the wooden thing,) a nearly bald cardboard nail file, dull cuticle trimmers, baby nail clippers (hold onto those in case the nail file doesn’t work), and an assortment of dried out nail polish bottles.
- Select your color. Line the bottles up on the counter and pretend that you are at a salon getting ready for some “you” time. Fun! Pick the one that has the best chance of actually working, and is close to being trendy. Remember, anything is the new black as long as you insert it into that sentence.
- Prepare the color for polishing. Since that nail polish is about as old as your firstborn, you’re gonna need to do a little prep work. A few drops of nail polish remover and vigorous shaking should do the trick.
- File your nails. Try to create a uniform length for maximum believability. When your ten year-old Revlon emery board bends in half after three swipes of your pinky nail, grab those baby nail clippers for a passable job at hacking them to size. Remember: short nails are still considered “classy,” so you can hide the evidence of your manic-nail biting during your child’s last game.
- Soak your cuticles. You will need a white ceramic bowl, hot water, essential oils, and pretty rocks for that “home spa” feeling. If you do not have these items, grab your kid’s leftover cereal bowl from the table. Wipe it out with a dishrag, and voila! Place both hands in the water.
- Connect: One minute later, realizing that the silence is suffocating you, place one hand at a time in the water, so that you can continue to tweet or check your newsfeed.
- Prepare your cuticles. Remember that stick thing? Pick it up with your dominant hand, and gently begin to push back the cuticles to their natural state from where they have been naturally growing over your fingertips. This may get slightly uncomfortable, but that’s how you know it’s working. Repeat on the other side with your non-dominant hand. Be warned: you may have less dexterity on this side, and should you accidentally shove the stick into your cuticle bed, you may be tempted to compare this to acts of torture. They are nothing alike. With Chinese bamboo torture, the stick jabs in at least 3 mm away, which in terms of your nerve endings is, like, far away.
Trim your cuticles. Remember that razor sharp tool that your personal manicurist pulls out of an autoclave and uses with ninja-like dexterity? Well, yours is about as sharp as a butter knife, so it can’t possibly hurt you! Dust it off and use those same hands that just failed with the orange stick. Begin by trimming your non-dominant hand. If you’re going to be bleeding all morning, better not make it your writing hand. Repeat after me: less is more. Start slow, and everything will…oops. That’s OK! One small nick can’t hurt.
- Clot: Find a tissue and dab. The body is miraculous, and that puppy should clot up eventually.
- Continue trimming: Try not to let any early failures shake you off your game. You got this! Keep dabbing, though, those suckers are tenacious…
- Apply polish. Now you are ready to apply your color. It is important that you begin with the right attitude: there is no way this is going to look as good as a professional job, so don’t even try. Just slap that stuff all around your nails and skin. This may burn as the polish hits all of the open wounds in your cuticles (that’s how you know it’s working.) A few good hand washings will eventually wear the polish off, for that salon perfect look (sort of.) I do not recommend using the polish-remover-on-a-Q-tip-method of cleaning up the edges, because, let’s face it, you are not that graceful, which is why you have throbbing, bleeding cuticles right now. Let’s not add insult to injury by putting acetone in there, or worse, messing up your polish.
- Note: The moment you start polishing your nails, the following will happen: the phone will ring, you will contract a case of dandruff, psoriasis and/or hives, and you will suddenly develop a UTI. Take the following precautions: keep your cell phone nearby with ear buds in, a sharp stick handy for scratching hard-to-reach places, and should you have the privacy to support it, remove your pants and undergarments from beginning to end for elimination ease.
- Apply topcoat.Now that you have applied your fabulous color, it is time to make it last longer than one day by adding a topcoat. If you forgot to loosen the bottle before you started polishing your nails, do not risk your new look by attempting it now, or you will embed little palm prints in the tips of your fingers. Until Kim Kardashian makes that a trend, honey, it’s still a faux pas. Instead, use your teeth to wrench open the bottle. If you have TMJ and a husband nearby, get him to open it. Remember, you are not wearing any pants or underwear: he’ll do anything you ask.
- Dry your nails.Slow down there, Missy! This is not gel – that shit needs to dry. It will take at least 45 minutes to ensure thorough drying before you can safely touch anything. This would be an excellent time to practice meditating…Now with your remaining 43 minutes, you can Pin all of the hot new nail trends, ‘cause you’re on a roll!
- Still drying…Ten minutes into your drying phase, you will be tempted to respond to some crisis: a child will start screaming, you will find a recipe on Pinterest that solves your “what’s for dinner” dilemma, or worse yet, you will fail to comply with the completerecommendations in Step 12, and by now you have to pee like a racehorse.
- The Bathroom Break: You delicately hook your nails into your belt loop, ease down your skinny jeans, pat dry with toilet paper using a straight finger technique, and attempt to pull your jeans back on. Carefully. Your nails must be dry by now, right? Half an hour later you notice the wavy lines of defeat and lint running through your precious work. Breathe deep.
- Start Over: Remove the offending polish and refer back to Step 12. And this time, pants off, sister. This is serious business.