Manicures can be expensive, especially if doing your nails is a regular routine in your life. But doing your nails by yourself, in the comfort of your home, can be pretty easy too. Here are seven tips all manicurists know, and we’re letting you in on the insider’s secrets that will come in handy no matter what type of DIY manicure you’re thinking of.

1. Instantly dry your polished nails using ice water



After painting each coat of nail polish, let your nails air-dry for a few minutes. Then, dunk your hands in a bowl of ice water for about 30 seconds to a minute to seal the polish in instantly. The icy water also has the added bonus of leaving a glossy shine on your nails.

2. Create your own dotting tools


Use pin heads to draw dots on your nails. For more control, you can insert the sharp end of the pin into the eraser on the end of a wooden pencil. Voila, your own dotting tool at a fraction of the cost! (If you can’t find a pin, a toothpick or a bobby pin will do the job too.)

3. Use top coat to seal the edges



You might have noticed your manicurist doing this: when applying the top coat, run the brush along the end of your nail to seal in the polish. This reduces the likelihood of chipping and thus lengthens the longevity of your manicure.

4. Use white nail polish as a base coat


If you’re thinking of painting your nails neon or any other bright hue, use this trick. Painting your nails with white nail polish as a base makes any colour you put on top of it stand out. This is also useful if the nail polish you’re going for isn’t a bright shade, but is too sheer for your liking. Now you can get the exact colour in the bottle on your nails!

5. Apply glitter polish like a pro

You might not know this, but there is a correct way to apply glitter polish. When applying glitter polish, always remember – dab, not swipe. After the first coat has dried, apply more glitter polish directly to “bald spots” – then top off with a clean swipe of top coat to make sure everything’s smoothed out.

This video will explain what we’ve been doing wrongly with our glitter polishes all this time:

6. Remove your gel manicure at home



Manicurists don’t usually tell you that soak-offs are actually pretty easy to do by yourself. All you need is: acetone, gauze, and aluminium foil. You can get acetone and gauze at pharmacies like Watsons or Guardian.

Divide up the gauze and soak each piece in acetone before putting them on nails. Then, wrap up each fingernail in foil. This supposedly generates some heat, which speeds up the process.

After about five to 10 minutes, depending on the gel polish used and the condition of your nails, take the foil off. You should be able to scrape the gel polish off pretty easily, even with just your fingers. If too much effort is needed to remove the layer of polish, soak your fingertips for a while longer before trying again.

DV Tip: Do note that acetone is generally not good for your body in the long run, so try to limit your exposure to it!

7. Remove nail polish from nail bed to tip

Swiping your polish remover-filled cotton pad back and forth on your nail actually creates a lot of friction on your nails and may cause them to peel or at least dry out. Doing the same with cotton buds with cause the same thing. Always remember to wipe in one direction, from the nail bed to the nail tip.

Now you know the tricks to the trade, you can do your nails at home and save a quick buck!