Manicures 101

Home Manicures

You can, of course, stay home in your pajamas and manicure your own nails. You simply need the right equipment and the time. For shaping, you'll need an emery board and nail clippers. To take off old polish, you'll need cotton balls and polish remover. If you want it, you'll need a nail buffer for smoothing.

Cuticle supplies are also optional, especially if you heed the dermatologist and leave your cuticles intact. If you insist on pruning, you'll need a cuticle softener. To save money, you can swap hand lotion for professional cuticle softener. You'll also need a wooden cuticle stick to push the cuticle off the nail and cuticle scissors. Finally, just as in the salon, you'll need a base coat, colored polish and a top coat.

To avoid infections, clean your clippers and scissors and throw out your disposable supplies after each use. Never share supplies with your significant other, friend or spouse.

For this equipment, you'll pay less than $30 if you buy generic brands and upward of $150 if the products are professional-grade.

Look over the links below for more beauty tips.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Aftergut, Kent. Personal interview. 10/5/2009.
  • Draelos, Zoe Diana. "Nail Cosmetics." eMedicine. April 30, 2009. (10/14/2009)
  • Manicurist, Beantown Nail Spa. Personal interview. 10/1/2009.
  • The New York Times. "Microbe in Salon Footbath is Suspected in Boil Outbreak." April 27, 2001. (10/15/2009)
  • Winthrop, Kevin et al. "Mycobacteria in Nail Salon Whirlpool Footbaths, California." 2001. (10/15/2009)

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