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How to DIY an At-Home Manicure That Actually Lasts

by Tori Emery

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How to DIY an At-Home Manicure That Actually Lasts

Become the master of your own mani.

Can I be 100% honest? I’m 26 years old and I never learned how to paint my own nails. One time in a “desperate times call for desperate measures” situation, I tried to paint my own nails. Long story short: the entire day I walked around telling people that my 6-year-old sister painted them for me (I don’t have a little sister…that’s just how bad they were.)

On a mission to never have to repeat that experience again, I caught up with Sarah Gibson Tuttle, CEO and Founder of Olive & June. Not only does she make a DIY mani sound easy, she literally made it easy with the newly-launched Superbloom Studio Box.

TE

Tell us about Olive & June: What led you to found your own nail salon?

SGT

I worked for ten years in finance in New York. When the warmer weather lured me out to Los Angeles, I realized it had everything I wanted except for the perfect nail salon. Seeing the opportunity to create a gorgeous space where women could expect and enjoy expert nail care on a regular basis, I opened the first Olive & June salon in Beverly Hills in 2013.

TE

What piece of advice would you give someone who thinks they can’t give themselves a great manicure at home?

SGT

You can do it! I took a year off getting salon manicures to learn how to paint my own nails and develop an at-home manicure kit that makes it easy and fun. I knew that the key to making nails part of your at-home beauty routine was to create products that made it easy, which is why we developed The Poppy, our patented polishing tool that goes on top of any polish bottle and makes painting easier. Having a fresh mani is an immediate pick-me-up and you don’t even have to leave your house! I am so excited for women to do their nails the way they are doing their own makeup and hair.

“Having a fresh mani is an immediate pick-me-up and you don’t even have to leave your house!”

TE

How do I prep my nails for a mani?

SGT

Once you’ve shaped your nails to your liking, proper prep is critical to a long-lasting mani. To prep, dip each nail in a polish remover pot to remove old polish and excess oils that can interfere with your polish adhering to your nail bed. Once you’ve prepped your nails, avoid touching your face and hair which have natural oils. I also recommend avoiding washing your hands before you paint!  Water expands your nail plate so when it evaporates it will contract and cause chips or cracking.

TE

Is it ever a good idea to cut my cuticles?

SGT

Don’t cut your cuticles! Trimming can create more hangnails, jagged edges, and even cause infection. Instead, follow these tips for keeping cuticles healthy and tidy:

  • When you’re in the shower or bath, let the warmth naturally soften your cuticles and then push back gently with your thumbnail.
  • Use a nail buffer block on dry skin to gently buff away any excess cuticles as needed.
  • Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Dryness causes damage, so avoid by applying cuticle oil.
  • If you MUST trim, clip only very obvious hangnails, not the cuticle itself. It’s there for a reason!

TE

Any tips for applying polish so it goes on smooth and even?

SGT

To apply your first coat of polish, start with a center swipe of polish, then swipe on either side. You should be able to cover the average nail plate in 2-3 strokes. Repeat on each nail. Let dry for at least 2 minutes before applying your second coat of polish. Seal your nails with the topcoat formulated with your polish to maximize shine and protect your polish.

TE

How long should I let my nails dry before doing something else?

SGT

Waiting 5-10 minutes in between coats makes a world of difference. It will decrease the chance of bubbles and it dries faster, I swear! If you want to speed up that dry time, you can try running nails under cold water. I have no idea why this works, but it does! You can also try blasting nails with cold air from a fan or blow dryer which will help the polish harden faster.

TE

How long can I expect an at-home mani to last?

SGT

With proper prep, an at-home many can last 7+ days. Our biggest mani-saving trick is to apply a thin layer of top coat every third day. This will really extend the life of your mani because it acts as a layer of defense against everything your hands are interacting with. We also love capping the tip of your nail to help keep that typing-on-your-computer wear at bay. Definitely apply cuticle serum every day to hydrate the skin around your nails and cuticles. Not only will it make your mani look like you just stepped out of the salon but it will make sure you don’t pick (or bite!) around your nails.

Interview courtesy of Sarah Gibson Tuttle (@gibsontuttle)

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