Tips AU

What you’ll need to buy to give yourself a manicure

By Peta Boyce

Updated: August 6th, 2019

Pamper your paws at home and skip the salon prices.

Getting to the nail salon every couple of weeks can be hard on time and your pennies. For those not lucky enough to have a live-in nail technician, it’s nice to know how to give yourself a proper manicure once in a while.

So, here are our beauty specialist tips for an at-home manicure.

Here’s a list of what you need to buy to give yourself a manicure

  • Nail tool set (nail clippers, nail file, cuticle clipper, buffing file, cuticle pusher)
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton tips
  • Nail brush
  • Base coat
  • Nail polish
  • Top coat
  • Cuticle cream or oil
  • Hand cream
  • Small bowl
  • Hand towel

How to do a manicure at home?


  1. Remove any old nail polish with a cotton ball and nail polish remover
  2. When all the polish is removed, fill a bowl with warm water
  3. Soak your fingers in the water for 2-5 minutes to soften your cuticles. If you are experiencing any yellowing on your nails, squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the water to help bring your nails back to white
  4. While your nails are soaking scrub them with the nail brush to remove any excess polish and dirt
  5. Pat your hands dry when done
  6. Clip your nails to the desired length
  7. File your nails in a one-way direction, not backwards and forwards
  8. Buff your nails from the base to the free edge going front to back, not side to side
  9. Massage cuticle oil into your nail beds for hydration
  10. Wait a couple of minutes then loosen and push your cuticles away from your nail beds with the cuticle pusher
  11. Clip your cuticles with the cuticle clipper
  12. Wash any excess oil with warm soapy water and pat dry
  13. Apply a good quality hand cream. For a real salon-feel warm the hand cream in the microwave for 10 seconds before applying
  14. Apply the base coat and allow it to dry
  15. Apply 2 coats of the nail polish and allow to dry. Clean up any spills between coats using the remover and a cotton tip
  16. Apply the top coat then let it dry

Your beauty specialist tutorial is now complete and so is your manicure!

How to choose the right shade polish?

Choose a shade that compliments your skin tone. The following shades generally work well:

  • pale skin tones – purple or red
  • medium skin tones – blue or metallic colours
  • dark skin tones – golds and deep reds
  • good for all skin tones – corals and greys

For more help choosing a colour check out the OPI Nail Studio.

Nail cuticles require gentle products. To nourish your cuticles and keep them looking their best, apply a natural product like Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream every night.

For an at-home treatment without any fuss – hire a mobile nail technician on Airtasker.


Peta B

With a witty sense of humour, and an obsession for detail and nitty-gritty, Peta loves flexing her talents as a copywriter, marketer and event manager. She's put together some pretty impressive corporate shindigs in her time and now works across a variety of assignments as a freelancer, between being a full-time Mum.

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