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Here’s how to give yourself the ideal at-home manicure

So what will you need to give yourself a home manicure? Oh, not much. Just some nail polish remover, nail clippers, a cuticle pusher, a file, a buffer, a Q-tip, cuticle softener, exfoliating scrub, hand lotion, base coat, top coat, and polish in whatever color (or colors) you prefer. Got all that? Good. Now you can get started.

Before you start anything new, you must first get rid of the old, and this applies to nail polish as well. While Romah recommends using non-acetone polish remover, Self warns that only acetone will work on a shellac manicure. Once all traces of polish are gone, prepare your hands for what is to come with a nice relaxing soak in warm water. Romah says to use salt water, but Madge the manicurist from the old Palmolive commercials used to tell her clients that her brand of dish soap would do the job as well — and, believe it or not, the Successful Homemakers blog says that Palmolive really does make for a great pre-manicure hand soap (whether or not you’re actually multitasking and washing the dishes, as well — less relaxing, true, but huge bonus points for being time efficient). Once your 10 minutes are up (and/or your dishes are clean), rub on a little cuticle softener in preparation for the next steps.

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