How to Get Salon Nails at Home

Last Updated on April 18, 2023 by Ellen Christian

I lead a fairly active lifestyle and that can be hard on my nails. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get salon nails at home so I can avoid or minimize the expense of going to the salon. 

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How to Get Salon Nails at Home in 6 Simple Steps


How to Get Salon Nails at Home

A trip to the salon is lots of fun, but the last time I visited, the fumes really gave me a headache. I noticed that all the technicians wore face masks, and I’m sure that whatever chemicals they use really aren’t healthy to breathe. 

I love getting my nails done at the salon but at $40 every two weeks, it’s a bit of a splurge. When I go to the salon, I get often get gel nails because they last much longer than traditional nail polish.

I can go about three weeks without any chipping although you do have to deal with the grow out at the base of your nails.  When I polish my nails with traditional nail polish (even the very best brands), the most I go is about a week and a half without chipping.

For very long lasting nails, I recommend these. I can go weeks without chipping.

a woman with foil on her nails

Prepare your nails

It’s very important to start with clean and dry nails. Make sure that any nail polish has been removed and that your hands are clean and dry.

Always use a nail polish remover that is acetone free because it is less drying to your nails that regular nail polish.

woman filing her nails

File your nails

Never file your nails when they are wet. The nail is softer when it’s wet and your nail can be torn and damaged much more easily. When choosing a nail file, never use a metal file.

Instead, look for a very fine grain glass nail file. They will help prevent peeling which is much more common when a metal nail file is used. Always file in one direction, never back and forth.

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Soften your nails

Soften your nails in a small bowl of water with a few drops of olive oil added. This will help to soften both your nails and your cuticles. Let your nails soak for about ten minutes. Then, remove them and dry your hands and nails completely.

Very gently, move back the cuticles and trim any jagged edges. Wash away the olive oil using a very mild soap solution and dry your hands.

a woman applying nail polish

Apply a base coat

Using a base coat is vital for healthy nails. It helps protect your nail bed from the chemicals in your nail polish. Even eco-friendly nail polishes can be drying to your nails.

Base coats will also help your nail polish last longer.

Polish your nails

To avoid streaking, try to apply polish with three strokes (middle, left, right). You don’t want to have excess polish on your nails so gently wipe the brush against the side of the bottle before you begin.

If you need to apply a second coat, be sure that you wait at least two or three minutes between each coat to avoid damaging the first application.

Apply a top coat

Using a top coat will help prevent chips in your polish. I generally choose top coats that are quick drying because I’m impatient, but as long as it’s a good quality top coat, it should help to prolong the wear you get from your polish.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you can touch up any mistakes and remove any excess polish.

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10 thoughts on “How to Get Salon Nails at Home”

  1. I JUST cracked my manicure, so I’ll have to put these to use. My husband has decided August is NO SPEND month, so I’ll have to keep my nails in shape myself. Saving to my Pinterest board for future reminders, too! < 3

  2. Thanks for the great tips. I learned that I have been filing my nails all wrong all these years. Oh well, now I can file them right….

  3. My daughter has recently started doing her nails at home. She did the gel nails after buying a kit. It really is possible to do your nails at home just like a salon. Great tips.

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