Going to the salon can be a great way to spend time with friends, end a stressful week, or it can just be a way to get some amazing nails. They give you confidence, and can be an opportunity for you to socialize if you are not a social butterfly already. But what about when you can’t afford the time (or the money)? Are nude nails the only way to go when you paint them at home? Is there even a way to get great nails that won't chip the moment you touch... well, anything? Luckily there are ways to keep your nails perfectly primped without the salon.
13 Nail Wraps
One of the ultimate nail hacks can be nail wraps. Nail wraps are durable, and easy to apply using your hair dryer. You don’t need to wait for them to dry, and they come in an astounding range of designs and colours. No-chip designs that can last for two or more weeks? Perfect. Try Jamberry for a great range of designs. You will even get the chance to earn rewards as a hostess or earn money as a consultant. You can also check your local beauty store for wraps by a variety of companies.
12 At Home Gel Systems
Gel nails are great, long lasting ways to have colourful nails, but until recently, it meant going to the salon. Nowadays there are some great systems to get your own gel nails at home! From Sally Hansen to Jamberry’s TruShine System to Le Mini Macaron on Kickstarter, it seems like every beauty company has its own at home gel kit, in a variety of price ranges. The hard part here is deciding which one to get…
11 Press-on Nails
Yes, press-on nails - They still exist. These aren’t the nightmares/dreams from your childhood though. They now come in a wide range of designs, styles, and shapes. At various price points, you can find them both online and in your local store, so it’s really just about shopping for the ones you like. ImPress manicure has a great selection online, and even MAC cosmetics has had lines of press-on nails. Kiss is a highly recommended brand that you can find at your local store. These also have the potential to be reusable.
10 Caviar Nails
A quick and easy nail design to do at home, caviar nails look fantastic and edgy. They require a bit of care, but there is less potential for you to mess it up compared to attempting to paint a rose or a starry night. There are a few ways to do this. For total DIY, you need a clear polish topcoat, micro beads (which you can get at a crafting store), and a small bowl. Start by painting your nail with the clear coat, then holding it over top of the bowl, carefully sprinkle with the micro beads. Repeat. If you want to take any guess work out, you can buy a kit with instructions, like the ones from Ciate.
9 YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram
YouTube is a great place for beauty tutorials, and that includes some amazing nail art. Pinterest and Instagram are also great places to gain inspiration for your next at-home project. You may end up with some Pinterest fails, but there are some great tips and nail hacks on there. Some of the nail art on Instagram is truly mind blowing (if not a bit impractical at times). To start, check out @narmai or @ane_li on Instagram - they are both free hand artists, who also do giveaways and tutorials. You can also take a look at cutepolish on YouTube.
Nail stencils can be a great way to add something to an accent nail or to your entire manicure. Stencils are also great because they can often be used an unlimited number of times, and you’re not limited to a certain colour. The more talented you get with them, the more complex you can make the designs. You can use multiple colours, and combine different shapes, patterns and styles. They’re as easy or as complex as you want them to be. You can even get at-home air brush kits. Etsy and other online retailers are a great place to start looking for designs you like.
Nail decals (basically tiny stickers) are a really easy way to make your nails just that much nicer. This can work either on top of a coat of your favourite colour of polish, or even on bare, clean nails if you’re really in a rush. You can often find some of these at your local store in more typical patterns like flowers, but if you look online, you can find anything from kittens to Star Wars to holiday themed ones. You can also find flowers, feathers, chandeliers, and other more common patterns as well. Etsy is a great place to start looking for ones that suit you.
Nail jewels are a great way to add a bit of sparkle to a simple manicure, or to create a complex design. You should be able to find jewels, rhinestones, beads, or even sequins, at any craft store or major retailer. All you need to apply them are a pair of tweezers, a tiny bit of glue and maybe a dash of patience. Start with one or two, outline a French tip, or create a swirling complex design. Lots of possibilities.
5 Nail Pens
Nail pens are another great way to create your own designs, if you have a steady hand. They are certainly better than free-handing it with your polish brush, or trying to use a tooth pick or impossibly tiny paint brush, but it will still require a bit of skill, depending on what type of design you want. There are lots of options as far as availability here too, from the refillable trade show staple, to the Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen.
Sharpies are similar to the nail art pen, except you may already them have around the house! Since it's not polish, they may be even easier to use, and will dry much quicker. Finally! You knew there was a reason you just had to buy that jumbo pack of multicoloured Sharpies, and the silver and gold ones too! You could even use them to colour all of your nails if you’re in a rush, since there are so many colours.
3 Household Supplies
You can create great nail art designs using bits and pieces from around the house. You can use tape or a rubber band to make the line for a French manicure, use a scrap of newspaper to get that newsprint look, find a scrap of lace to use to make a pattern, dip some dental floss in a favourite shade to make some straight lines, dip the round end of a bobby pin to help make perfect dots, or use a sponge to create an ombre look. This may take some trial and error, but there are many potential tools and materials you can find around the house!
2 Accent Nails
One of the easiest ways to look perfectly polished is with a nicely coordinated accent nail, whether it be a complementary shade, or maybe a bit of glitter. Most people use the ring finger as their accent nail, and you can do both hands, or just one. You can also experiment with alternating nail colours. Just don’t go too crazy! Just engaged? Maybe an accent nail on the left ring finger is just the thing.
1 Have a Girls' Night
If you’re still having trouble nailing perfect polish, and none of these ideas are working for you, have everyone over for a girls' night. Not only do you get a chance to just catch up with everyone, everyone also has that one friend who’s a Pinterest goddess or has always been great at painting her own nails. Trade skills - someone makes the cocktails, someone brings the board games, and someone can do all of the manicures. It may not be as time efficient, but it will be even more fun than hitting up the salon.