An At-Home Mani Tutorial To Feel Good About



When’s the last time you got a $10-18 nail salon mani? After reading the New York Times’ investigation of salons in New York City, The Price of Nice Nails, you’re probably going to feel very different about heading out to a nail salon. The details are not pretty. 

After interviewing more than 150 nail salon workers and owners, The New York Times found that manicurists are routinely underpaid and exploited, and endure ethnic bias and other abuses. “You can be assured, if you go to a place with rock-bottom prices, that chances are the workers’ wages are being stolen,” said Nicole Hallett, a lecturer at Yale Law School who has worked on wage theft cases in salons. Some manicurists are paid less than $10 a day, or not paid at all. 

We hope the NYT’s findings inspire you to boycott nail salons that are not providing safe environments and fair wages for their employees. Of course, this doesn’t mean any of us have to abandon this personal grooming ritual! The solution is to treat ourselves to a polished look, in the comfort, peace and safety of our own homes. And, thankfully, there are still many great salons that do good work and pay their people well  If you choose the at-home route, your nails will look great, and you’ll feel good about not participating in the exploitation of unfairly treated manicurists, too. 

The Perfect At-home Mani

1. Remove old nail polish if applicable to start with a clean canvas.

2. Clip and file nails to the desired length and shape. Always file in one direction to keep nails from splitting.

3. Soak nails in warm water using a glass bowl for 3-5 minutes.

4. Once nails have soaked, use a cuticle remover to loosen cuticles. Allow this to sit for 2-3 minutes and then use an orangewood stick to gently push back or remove loosened cuticles, and remove any dirt from underneath your fingernails.

5. Use a buffing block to smooth the nail bed and remove any yellowing that may appear from darker polishes.

6. Massage cuticle oil into each nail and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes. Wash nails using an exfoliating cleanser and nail brush to remove excess oils. Pat dry with towel and apply hand cream.

7. If you plan on using polish, wipe nail polish remover over your nail beds using a cotton round to remove any excess hand cream, as this can keep polish from adhering to nail beds.

8. Now your nails are ready for polish! Always start by using a base coat. All About That Base by Deborah Lippmann is our latest obsession because it works as a nail treatment AND base coat. It also helps to smooth and fill any ridges in the nail bed. Apply one layer and allow to dry for 2 minutes. 

9. Apply two coats of the nail lacquer of your choice and allow to dry for 2 minutes. Then, apply a second coat and allow nails to dry for another 2 minutes before applying a top coat.

10. Sit back, relax and give yourself time to let nails dry naturally. After 5 minutes, gently glide the pad of your finger over your nails. If your finger grabs at all, allow more time to dry. 

We’re curious—what do you think about the New York Time’s article on nail salons? Oh, and if you have additional at-home mani tips, post them below! 

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