How To: Tips and Tricks for a DIY Manicure

Hi Guys,

I’m sure by now it’s obvious that I’m the biggest fan of DIY when it comes to my nails. I hardly ever get a manicure when I go to the salon because I just see it as my “thing”. Painting my nails is actually some sort of therapy for me. Does that make any sense? I’m sure it doesn’t!

So I decided to write up a post on the tips and tricks that have worked for me over the course of time when it comes to polishing my claws nails. I’m in no way suggesting that I am a professional or that my DIY manicures are perfect but I’m learning everyday. I thought to share what I know with you because I have gotten a few questions before.

First of all, this is the nail art I’m sporting this week that I created using these three polishes:

Essie Mint Candy Apple(Base Colour), Model’s Own 3in1(Base Coat and Top Coat), Model’s own Smash Up Black(Nail Design)

I  used Mint Candy Apple as a base colour then created an “animal print-ish” design using Model’s own Smash Up Black. Smash Up is Model’s own range of crackle polishes which is really an easy and stress free nail art tool. You literally just apply it over your base colour in whatever pattern and it dries up in cool designs on your nails. For this, I just dotted the polish randomly on each nail and I liked the result :-).

Tips and Tricks 

On to the primary purpose of this post,  here are a few tricks I have picked up that work for me when it comes to nail polish application. 

Don’t shake the polish bottle: It’s almost second nature to most people when they pick up a bottle of nail polish to give it a good shake. This does nothing for the polish but causes air bubbles to form inside it. Gently rub the polish bottle between your hands to warn it up and loosen the formula for easier application. 

Switch off Fans or Air Conditioning Units: These secondary forms of ventilation are a DIY manicure’s worst enemy. The air causes bubbles to form on the nail surface and will also make the polish in the bottle dry up quickly. I find this really uncomfortable as the climate here is hot, but it’s usually worth it as my polish applies smoother. 

Prep your nails: I always say this at the beginning of all my nails posts but I’ll say it again. It is essential to clean off any residual nail polish, file your nails into shape, buff the surface and apply a base coat to give you a smooth surface to work with. 

Take just enough product with the brush: There’s no real way to know the exact amount of polish that’s enough for one nail but I’ve learnt a technique. Dip the brush into the polish, wipe one side of it completely clean on the neck of the bottle and then use the other side of the brush to paint your nails. This helps prevent the mess that occurs from taking excess product from the bottle. 

Apply polish in three strokes: I usually apply my polish in three strokes, one down the middle and one on either side. This again helps to control the amount of polish you get on your nail preventing an uneven and streaky manicure. Since thumbnails are bigger, I cover them in four strokes but that’s the maximum I do. 

Give ample drying time between coats: Depending on the kind of nail polish, you might require two, three or even four coats to give you the kind of opacity you desire. After every coat, give your nails some time to dry before applying extra coats. I let my nails dry for about 7-10mins between coats even when the polish is a “quick dry” one.

Topcoat is everything: A topcoat is the icing on any manicure. Even if you have taken your time to apply your polish very neatly, a crappy topcoat will ruin it. Buy a topcoat that’s known to work well and it will add a beautiful finishing touch to your nails. 

Allow to air dry: Different people have different ways of drying freshly painted nails. I’ve heard everything from run your hands under water, stick them in the freezer, put them under a fan and more. I just believe in being patient and letting the polish dry naturally. It’s quite annoying but I try to avoid doing anything major for at least an hour after I have painted my nails. 

Clean up: Worst part of painting your own nails, especially on your dominant hand but it has to be done. I’ve mentioned often that I clean up around my cuticles with a qtip dipped in nail polish remover. Recently, I was reading an article on Beautylish that suggested using a tiny paint brush instead. I don’t have a paint brush so I use a small concealer brush that came in an ELF compact. If you have a spare small angled brush, this works even better. I found that it helps clean up even closer to the nail border without ruining the polish. 

These are my suggestions on achieving a DIY manicure that’s easy on the eye. Do you guys have other tips and tricks you would like to share with me? 

Peace and Love, 



  1. September 10, 2012 / 6:16 pm

    Such a mart idea to use a crackle polih for animal print, as much as I love nails i jut couldn't get with the crackle trend. now i've found a use for it, and I'm getting even more ideas!

    I'm totally a DIY mani girl too! great post! as always.

    • September 10, 2012 / 6:55 pm

      Thank you dear..Yayy for DIY manis 😀

  2. ibiayo(@odudubelubelu)
    September 11, 2012 / 8:06 am

    Ur nails luk lovely.. Dats all I do, admire ppl's nails.I don't pay much attention to mine,not a nails girl..I just chop dem off weekly, lol.But I do love seeing nice nails on ppl. Wil refer my nailmaniac friends to dis post.

    • September 11, 2012 / 10:25 am

      Aww thank you..Please refer your friends 🙂

  3. Adaora
    September 14, 2012 / 2:04 am

    Never knew not to shake the polish bottle, i always do that very viciously, such a razz usual your nails look lovely as always me angel 🙂

    • September 14, 2012 / 10:26 pm

      Thanks my darling..muah!

  4. abimbola
    September 24, 2012 / 10:35 am

    Wow! Learning new things here. Pls keep them coming

    • September 25, 2012 / 10:37 am

      Glad to hear that 🙂

  5. kemi Daramola
    September 24, 2012 / 4:20 pm

    really nice!!!

  6. November 30, 2012 / 3:45 pm

    Hi Yewande,

    I absolutely love pretty nails! this post has been very helpful!..I like!


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