How to Get a Salon-Style Manicure or Pedicure at Home

Aimee Werner

Posted on May 14 2020


Whether you’re trying to save money or going to the salon is simply not an option, there’s no reason you can’t try mastering your own manicure or pedicure at home. Doing your nails in the comfort of your own home can be pretty therapeutic if you think about it. And while we realize that you might not be a salon professional, there are plenty of tutorials, especially resources like YouTube, that can help guide you in the right direction for that perfect manicure and pedicure thanks to social media. So why not try to get that insta-worthy manicure you’ve always loved at home? We provide you with a few simple steps and the products you’ll need on how to prep those nails for that self-pampering session you’ve been lacking – all in the comfort of your own home! 


Here's a list of what you’ll need

  • Nail polish remover (acetone-based or non-acetone based on your preference)
  • Nail file
  • Nail buffer
  • Cuticle oil
  • Moisturizer
  • Nail polish

  • Remove Existing Polish

    Question time! Should you use acetone or non-acetone nail polish remover? Let’s go over the two. Non-acetone nail polish remover is gentler to your fingernails but won’t remove as quickly as acetone-based nail polish remover. Whatever your preference is, removing any existing nail color on your nails is a must.

    Soak Your Fingers 

    Grab a bowl of warm (not too hot!) water and pour a little bit of shampoo or soap, a good choice is our Bath & Body Gel to the water. Soaking your cuticles before trimming and buffing is important. But don’t overdo it—soaking your nails for too long can actually damage your skin and nails, so keep it to at about 3-5 minutes. Plus, if you leave your nails in for too long, you’ll have the same effect that your fingers and toes get when you’re in the swimming pool too long—shriveled toes and fingers!

    Shape Your Nails

    In order to shape, trim, and buff your nails, soften your cuticles by putting a bit of cuticle oil on them. If you don’t have cuticle oil you can always substitute a body oil and we recommend our Luminous Body Oil. Apply a small amount of oil onto each nail. Once you’re done doing that with every nail, grab a nail clipper and whatever tools you have to shape your nails to your preference. Don’t forget about underneath your nails! Your nails accumulate dirt and particles no matter how often your wash your hands, so it’s imperative that you give some love and attention to the nails from all angles.

    When you’re shaping your nails, be sure to not keep them too long. Reason for this is because longer nails tend to break easier and if you’re wanting your manicure or pedicure to last as long as it can, keep the nail strong and sturdy to a decent length.

    Nails shaped and perfect? Great! Before you move onto the next step, grab a cotton ball and use a bit of nail polish remover again and swipe any excess cuticle oil that can be lingering on your hand or foot. You can also use a bit of warm water to wash your hands or feet with a clean hand towel. Clean and long-lasting nail polish, here we come!


    Moisturize a rich, creamy lotion into your hands or feet pre-nail polish so that they hydrate and replenish. Whish’s Rice Milk + Rose Hand Remedy is a great option when you’re looking to moisturize your hands. With your feet, we recommend our Body Butter to soften and smooth the skin while helping to replenish and firm the skin. You might be wondering, why moisturize before applying nail polish? That’s because this allows for cuticle hydration from when the cuticle oil was applied previously. Your hands or feet might feel a little dry at this point, which is why a good moisturizer is integral in this process. In addition, take advantage and give yourself a little mini massage right now. After all, we’re trying to mimic a nail salon experience as much as we can.

    Once you’re done moisturizing, grab a clean towel and remove any excess lotion from your hand or feet so it’s ready for nail polish application.

    Prep and Paint Your Nails

    Leftover moisturizer can prevent the nail polish from applying properly, so make sure your nails are completely dried and clean. Firstly, if you have weak or brittle nails, apply a base coat nail polish to help your nails stay strong. In addition, this base coat also protects nails from staining and prevents chipping.

    Second, nail color. Remember that you’re trying out a manicure or pedicure at home. If you plan to keep your manicure for a while or if they do become chipped or grown, they are less obvious if you’re using a more muted color. Plus, if this is your first time doing your nails, better try something subtle.

    Here are a few suggestions for more muted nail colors you can try.

    Essie: Topless and Barefoot, Au Naturale, Sand Tropez; Butter London: Mums the Word, Yummy Mummy, Steady On!; Chanel: Organdi, New Dawn, Daydream.

    Next, apply your nail polish in layers, allowing that each layer you apply dries between coats. We recommend 2-3 coats of polish followed by a topcoat to add some gloss and that should do the trick.


    Quick Tips:

    We want to imagine that our nail application is on point, but let’s face it, that won’t be the case. So take a few minutes to check for and clean up any mistakes. It takes a while for nails to fully dry, which is where you can grab a cotton ball and put a little bit of nail polish remover and gently removing any lingering nail polish that should not be there. Once you’re done perfecting your manicure or pedicure, use a small fan and direct it to your wet nails and spend a good amount letting them dry. Remember: Don’t do anything while your nails are drying! Going about your chores is a bad idea if your nails are wet. You’re more than likely to ruin all the work you’ve put towards applying your nail color, so don’t do it!

    After Care:

    Extend Your Relaxation! Reapply some moisturizer. Keeping your hands, feet and nails healthy-looking requires moisturizer—you can’t have smooth skin and great nails without this essential product. (Psst… our Body Butter can do the trick…)

    Also make time for exfoliating the skin around your new beautiful nails. If you just got done treating your toes,  consider taking care of the whole foot with our overnight Exfoliating Foot Mask. Apply the Foot Mask ideally at night, to any part of your foot that needs a little extra TLC. Let it dry and then in the morning rinse away the mask with any dead skin.

    Having the right tools and the right directions can result in a beautiful manicure or pedicure. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting a professional to pamper you while getting a mani-pedi but knowing how to do it yourself can save you a lot of time and money; plus, the satisfaction of doing it yourself can feel rewarding!