How to Do a Manicure and Pedicure at Home

Take a look at your nails right now. Are they beautifully shaped, perfectly hydrated, and painted with a glossy, even coat of polish? Or are they jagged, dry, and covered in chipped nail polish from over a month ago? If you're in desperate need of a nail makeover but don't want to have to fork over $100 bucks for a salon visit, this article will teach you how to do a manicure and pedicure at home. I'm a huge DIY nail enthusiast, so I've learned a thing or two about how to pull off an expert-level mani/pedi from my couch.

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From what products are best to what nail polish colors are the most flattering, I'll walk you through the steps for how to pull off a manicure and pedicure at home that looks totally legit. Your hands and feet will be ready for their closeups in no time.

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Let's start off by removing old polish and prepping your nails.

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Grab some nail polish remover and saturate a cotton ball, then rub it over each fingernail and toenail until they're completely clean and free of polish. I recommend nail polish removers that have multiple features so you don't have to buy a ton of different products.

This one from Zoya also cleans and preps as well as removes polish.

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This ZOYA Remove Plus 3 in 1 Formula - Polish Remover, Nail Cleaner, Nail Prep has more than 1,500 customers raving. It's a great product to use before a mani/pedi because it's streak-free and ensures that your polish will go on smoothly. I always have a bottle of this stuff in my bathroom cabinet.

Cuticle oil is a critical step if you want your mani/pedi to look as professional as possible.

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Not only does cuticle oil moisturize your nails and leave them smelling amazing, but it also makes your cuticles soft enough to easily be pushed back without getting damaged. It comes in a variety of scents and formulas so you can find one to match your specific tastes.

Here's the cuticle oil I use every time I do my nails.

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This OPI ProSpa Collection, Manicure Nail & Cuticle Oil instantly makes your nails stronger, smoother, and healthier. Not only does it prepare your nails for polish, but it also helps to prevent the signs of aging. Once your polish has been removed, rub this oil into your fingernails and toenails until it's completely absorbed.

Now it's time to push back your cuticles.

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This step makes your nail beds look as big and even as possible. While some people choose to trim their cuticles instead of simply pushing them back, I don't recommend this. Cuticles exist to act as a barrier that keeps out bacteria, and when they're removed, your nails are at a greater risk of infection.

Here's a nail clipper set that includes all of the essentials.

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This Professional Stainless Steel Nail Cutter Kit has the same tools that the professionals use. It includes a fingernail clipper, a toenail clipper, multipurpose scissors, a nail file, tweezers, and two cuticle tools that make it easy to achieve perfectly groomed nailbeds from home.

Next up, buffing!

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Take a nail buffing cube and alternate between the coarse side and the smooth side. The coarse, gritty surface will file the grooves and bumps out of your fingernails and toenails, while the smooth side will buff them to a shiny, even surface.

This nail buffer is a cult favorite for a reason.

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Customers love this Onsen Professional Nail Files and Buffer, which makes your nails so shiny that they don't even need polish. With sides that file, smooth, and polish, your nails will look salon-perfect for up to 10 days. The best part? It's just over $12 bucks.

And while you could stop here for a natural look, adding some color is WAY more fun.

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But what color you choose is completely up to you. Neutral colors are classic, versatile, and flattering to any skin tone. Plus, they tend to be easier to apply than more bold colors like black or hot pink. I recommend choosing whatever color is speaking to you most at the moment. If you're in the mood to rock a bright red polish, go for it!

Here's a neutral set that's a great choice if you want a color that will go with everything in your closet.

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This Eternal 4 Collection Set of 4 Nail Polish is my go-to for a quick nail upgrade. They're long-lasting, quick-drying, and come in four shades that add a hint of color without being too flashy. The shimmery finish is subtle yet gorgeous. I wear a color from this set every single day!