How to Amp Up Your At-Home Manicure

Victoria Moorhouse
perfect manicure at home

Photo: ImaxTree

Do paint your nails on top of old magazines while watching reruns of “Friends”? Yeah, us too. But we’ll be honest. Every once in a while, we wish our at-home attempts were as luxe as what we get in the salon. So we turned to celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann to find out a few tricks to create a spa-like atmosphere, and of course, get a perfect manicure at home.

Set up your station.
There’s really no turning back once you’ve started a manicure. To make the at-home procedure as calm as possible, set up your station before breaking out the polish. That means creating an atmosphere that’s similar to one you’d get at a spa. “I love to put on some relaxing music and light a Diptyque candle—Baies ($32, is one of my favorites, explains Lippmann.

Treat your hands to a hot towel.
After applying cuticle oil and hand cream, wrap your hands in a hot towel to copy that typical soothing salon treatment. Lippmann says to heat up two or three towels in the dryer or running them under hot water. If you do the latter, be sure to wring out the extra water. “When you wrap them around your hands, it creates a luxurious spa-like feel,” she says. “The heat will help open up pores and allow the moisture from the oil and hand cream to sink in.”

Really cater to your cuticles
Deborah Lippmann follows a detailed step-by-step before she even starts painting. After buffing and filing, she applies her Cuticle Remover Exfoliating Cuticle Treatment ($20, and then slightly pushes the cuticles back. Next, she takes a facial scrub, believe it or not, to exfoliate the nails and the hands. “I prefer using my facial scrub as the beads and formula are gentler and won’t irritate the skin,” she says. She follows up by applying cuticle oil at the base of the cuticles, the cuticle nourishment treatment The Cure ($24,, and hand cream.

Give yourself an at-home hand massage.
Ever had your manicurist tell you to relax your hands? Giving yourself a hand massage can help you get to that totally chill state, and according to Lippmann, even relieve stress and tension. To begin, Lippmann says to sit down and then put your right hand with the palm up on the left thigh. Next, use your left elbow and your body weight to massage the palm of your right hand. Do the very same thing for your left hand—you’ll feel way more relaxed in under two minutes.

Try out a nail mask.
When we asked Lippmann if nail masks would add to the experience, she gave us the go ahead! “Applying a nail mask can be the ultimate step in pampering yourself during your mani,” she says. “Oftentimes, anything you see at the salon or spa can be replicated at home, so I say go for it!”

Block off enough time.
This is no 15-minute procedure. Just think about how long you sit in the salon. To really amp up your at-home experience, give yourself more than enough time. Lippmann says about 45 minutes should do the trick.

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