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Learning How to Achieve the Perfect DIY Manicure

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Since quarantine, many people have taught themselves how to perform the perfect at home manicure. TikTok has tons of tutorials and step-by-step instructions as well as tips to learn how to create a salon look.

There are many different kits for different types of manicure: such as dip and gel. Getting nails done at a salon can be expensive as well as time consuming, especially if it is once a month. Also, going to a nail salon can be overwhelming, especially when your nails turn out nothing like what you had wanted.

A Freshman at Penn State, Grace Fragale, taught herself how to do the perfect acrylic manicure. Fragale went to the nail salon frequently as a kid with her mom and loved having her nails done. It became expensive over time so her mom purchased a kit to do her own nails. 

Fragale experimented with the kit herself and realized it was something she enjoyed doing herself, “As I started practicing and doing it more I found that I actually enjoyed doing it, it became therapeutic.”

Her set of nails are always changing in colors and she experiments with various designs. For the small designs, she utilizes a brush, “It is a kind of art, it takes a lot of precision and creativity.”

It started off with simple gel manicures, and then she started typing acrylic nails and nail art. The more she practiced, the more compliments she received, which led to her rarely returning to the salon, “If I am in a rush, I will go to get them done, but for the most part I do them myself due to the fact that it doesn’t cost me anything and I can achieve the same results myself.”

Her full routine takes around five to seven hours. Starting with prep, she removes her prior nails if necessary, files, and pushes back her cuticles.

When waiting extra length, she glues on tips, trims them, and then files them to the shape that she desires. Then a base polish coat is applied.

To last for three to four weeks, an acrylic base is applied over the base coat. Then, a gel color is applied, followed by possible nail art or design. A final top coat is applied to the nail.

The routine is lengthy, but it beats the price ranging from $50-70 at a salon. Fragale said, “be patient with yourself, practice makes salon quality. I think its worth your time as it can turn out to be a fun hobby, while saving money, and investing in self-cater.”

Gel nail kits are sold on Amazon ranging from around 30 to 70 dollars, which can equate to the price on manicure. The kits include a UV light for the gel to dry, base and top coats, various nail colors, and nail care tools. 

Dip nail kits are also available on Amazon and range from around 20 to 50 dollars. These kits come with various dip colors, a brush, top and base coats, and nail care tools. Tips are sold separately for both kits. 

Charlotte is a first year Public Relations major with a minor in Creative Writing. She loves books, yoga, the beach, and hanging out with friends.