In the last few weeks, I’ve been guilty of spending copious amounts of time on everyone’s favorite forum platform: Reddit. Namely, r/Laqueristas. And after scrolling through images of DIY-ed nails, pouring through tips from experts in the field, and reading through some Q&A discussions, I’m considering getting into this nail manicure thing, hardcore.
However, instead of jumping into the deep end and investing in UV lamps, dip powder, and gels, I thought it’d be a wiser decision to take it slow. Baby steps. So, I’ve compiled all my Reddit knowledge and internet research to offer you a step by step plan to improve your claw game—all from the comforts of your home.
Please, please just remove that old nail polish.
Hopefully, you don’t need this first reminder. I have to confess, my high-school self at her peak state of laziness would just paint new colors on top of existing ones. Or I would try scraping off the last remnants of color with another nail—which is not good either! This often takes off the top layer of your nail.
Non-acetone remover will be gentler for your nails, but you can step it up to acetone for trickier or glittery polishes.
Trim and file those nails.
Please do this step before soaking your nails in water, which will make them much more susceptible to breakage!
I’m still trying to get the hang of nail filing since I prefer mine in squarer shapes. Experts warn against “sawing” back and forth at your nail (oops!) as this is quite damaging. Instead, file towards the center in one direction before switching to the other side.
Filing underneath the nail also helps shape the sides of the nail edge.
Soak, then push back your cuticles.
Soaking your nails wipes off the remaining filing dust and softens your cuticles. I find that a three-minute soak followed by applying olive oil to the cuticle works well.
Then, use a popsicle stick, toothpick, or another nail to push back the outer skin on top of your nail. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt!
Prep for polish.
Many suggest wiping down your nails with polish remover or alcohol to get rid of any oils on them before applying polish. Also, apply a base coat to protect your nail from breakage and to provide adherence for your polish so your manicure lasts longer.
Reddit swears by the Orly Bonder and OPI Nail Envy.
Wrap those tips.
Apply multiple thin layers of polish to each nail; with this method, the polish dries much faster than if you applied one big, thick layer. After applying each layer, wrap the nail tip by giving each tip a horizontal swipe. Stretching the polish over the tips extends the wear of the manicure.
Finish with a good top coat.
A good top coat should extend the endurance of your manicure and provide a glossy (or matte) finish.
I’ve heard over and over from all corners of the internet that the Seche Vite top coat is to live by. Apparently, it locks in polish for two weeks and is basically salon-manicure quality.
With that, now I think I’m going to browse Reddit some more.