Good evening! I haven’t posted any beauty content in awhile, so I thought I’d share 5 things to keep in mind if you want an amazing at-home manicure using acrylic nails. I’ve done my own nails at home for many years, and really enjoy this small act of self-care that I can enjoy while I watch YouTube or Netflix. Do keep in mind that beauty is subjective, so what works for me may not align with your personal preferences or tastes. Take what you like, and leave the rest!
Choose acrylic nails that fit your nail beds perfectly.
Certain nail brands are designed for larger nail beds while others cater to small, so you’ll have to try a few brands until you find the one that suits the size and shape of your natural nail beds. The fit has to be a perfect match when you’re using full acrylic nails. If not, your natural nails will either show on the sides of your acrylic nails (no, girl!), or your acrylic nails will be too large for your nail beds and the nail will adhere to your skin (ouch!).
All acrylic nails aren’t created equally, and some will bend or split down the middle if they aren’t high quality and sized properly. I purchased these nails from Amazon, but my favorite acrylic nail brands are Broadway or Kiss, which you can find just about anywhere.
Choose a nail shape that flatters both your fingers and your lifestyle.
Square nails make my large hands look even larger, and stiletto nails don’t work for me as a full-time content writer. Short to medium length oval or coffin-shaped nails flatter my long fingers while allowing me to type and post to social media on my phone for work. Choosing the wrong nail shape can even make your hands look older, which makes all the money you spend on hand creams a waste. Choose well!
Use Beauty Secrets Nail Glue!
You can sometimes get away with low-quality nails, but if you want your nails to hold 1-2 weeks without lifting, the glue you choose will make or break your at-home manicure. I started using Beauty Secrets over a decade ago when I was still an undergrad. It is the best glue I’ve ever tried! It has a thick, almost gel-like consistency that helps with preventing air bubbles. Because it doesn’t run all over the place, I’d recommend it for beginners or anyone with a shaky technique.
Choose a nail polish color that complements your skin tone and your lifestyle.
Choose a color that expresses who you are and makes you happy, but do realize that the color of your nails will communicate certain messages to other people about who you are as well. Maybe that matters to you. Maybe it doesn’t. I chose white today because I think white nails look clean and polished (pun intended!), and because white polish looks amazing against dark skin.
I’ve learned from personal experience that neon or “loud” colors don’t complement my fingers, but they do complement my toes. Red shades tend to age my hands, but that’s perfectly fine when I’m trying to give rich Auntie vibes. Neutrals and soft pinks tend to look great on everyone, and won’t draw any negative attention in a professional work environment.
Perfect Your Technique
It took me a few years to get my technique down, but now my at-home manis have become a stress-relieving beauty ritual that I can do while watching Netflix or listening to music.
- After finding 10 nails that fit my nail beds perfectly, I file my natural nails to give the glue something rough to adhere to.
- I place 1-2 drops of Beauty Secrets nail glue on each nail, then press the acrylic nail onto my natural nail for 10 seconds.
Because of the glue I use and the point at which I press the nail (the middle), I no longer experience air bubbles as I did years ago as a newbie. If you notice any air bubbles, that means your natural nail and acrylic nail aren’t touching in those areas, and there’s a good chance that the nail will lift. Once you’ve glued down the nail you won’t be able to fix or move it, so in those instances, you’ll have to leave it as is and hope for the best or soak the nail off with pure acetone and start again
- I file / buff the acrylic nails, apply a few coats of nail polish, and finish off with a topcoat.
If I’ve selected nails that are already designed or painted, then this step isn’t necessary. I like choosing my nail colors so that I can match my fingers to my toes, so I usually paint the acrylic nails myself.
That’s it! If you have any tips (get it? nail tips?) for at-home manicures, share them with me in the comments!
Candace Alike Smith is a Las Vegas-based content creator, womb warrior, and matcha enthusiast. Candace founded this site in 2015 to help women of color reclaim their vitality. Follow Candace’s content on holistic beauty, mental wellness, herbs and essential oils, non-toxic products, healthy libations, wellness travel, and self-reflection. Green is her happy color.
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