Your Go-To Guide to At Home Manis

If you’re like us, you want that fabulous fresh manicure look, but being stuck at home is leaving your nails feeling less than fabulous.

And if you’re like us, you don’t exactly have the steadiest of hands and a budding art career. Personally, for a while, I struggled with doing my own nails and not looking like a bad kindergarten art project, but the constant salon trips were unsustainable for my wallet and my schedule. 

So, after much trial and error, I finally got to a point of loving my own handy work (pun intended). I’ll share with you my repeatable steps & tricks for getting your at home mani just right - so you can love your quarantine mani look, AND feel confident to change up your look at home as much as you’d like! 

To Start 

From working with manicurists I’ve learned, the nail prep is the most important part in keeping your manicure long lasting. Having a blank canvas for your polish to adhere to will keep it shiny and chip-resistant over time. 

    1. Remove your existing polish if you’re wearing any, try not to leave any remnants and wash your hands after
    2. If you want your nails shorter, clip first, then file for shape. I’ve learned that always filing away the weaker tips of the nails (even if you want to maintain shape & length) will also keep your mani lasting longer, as this is the most likely part of your nail to chip or break. 
    3. Add your cuticle serum around the edges of your nail bed - at this point, your cuticles may be a little drier from polish remover and soap, so it’s important to keep them hydrated. I’ve found that the cuticle serum can act as a barrier, keeping polish from adhering to your cuticles if you happen to paint outside the lines (like I often do). This is also a good time to push back your cuticles - I don’t recommend doing this every time you get a mani, as it weakens your cuticles over time leading to them being flakier and cracking more often. 
    4. Moisturize! Put on a little hand lotion now so that later, as your nails are drying, you don’t feel like your hands are drying too. 
    5. Buff! My nail tech friends taught me about the wonders of buffing - I had never known about this concept - Halo sends you a buffer with every color kit! Buffing smooths your nail surface and helps to absorb any lingering oil, it’s made a huge difference in adherence for me. 


Now you have your beautiful canvas, time to paint. While we’ve done what we can to mitigate errors in the starting steps, this is truly the tricky part. The steps below will help you be more successful in your at-home manis, but through my trials the most important things I’ve learned are (1) practice has really made perfect and (2) if you messed it up, start over from a blank nail, don’t try and fix it! 

  1. Base coat first, and be patient. Carefully swipe your base coat (we also give you this in your kit!) over your full nail, give it at least one full minute to dry before moving on to polish. If the color mixes with the base coat because it is still too wet, it’s basically like not having any base coat on at all. 
  2. Go hand by hand, starting at coat 1. This is a neat little mental trick I’ve picked up, and I think it’s helped with my accuracy in painting! I’m a righty, so I do my right hand first, and I do it completely before moving on so that I don’t have to feel nervous about messing up my weaker left hand when I’m painting
  3. Do one nail in three strokes. Start with one swipe up the middle, that can be your thicker stroke, then one on either side smoothing out any extra paint from your first swipe!
  4. Keep those coats light -  two thin coats is all you need with Halo polish, and the lighter the coat the faster you’ll dry, the less likely you are to smudge them in the short term. 

The Grand Finale

  1. Resist the urge to wrap up right away - let those beauties rest for 2 minutes - and give them a little blow for luck, so they are a little dryer before finishing with quick dry top coat. 
  2. Seriously, waiting is the hardest part
  3. Add our quick dry top coat in 2-3 swipes to add sheen, firm up the polish, and aid in the drying process
  4. Clean Up - if you happened to go outside the lines, that’s okay, while it’s still wet now is the time to do your clean up as it will be easier to lift the polish! Use something delicate - a q-tip soaked in nail polish remover, or for really small edges you can use a toothpick to clean up (if you don’t have tools like the back of a cuticle pusher). 
  5. If you’re in a rush and you really want to speed up the drying process using the cold, low setting on your hair dryer carefully aim at one hand at a time to help along the drying process. I only do this when I’m really in a hurry - and keep in mind this doesn’t work well with high-power dryers (like the Dyson). 

At-home drying is the easiest way to ruin your masterpiece - keep those hands still! They say idle hands are the devil’s plaything so, I like to paint my nails with the TV on in the background and at least 30 minutes of hands-free activities lined up ahead of me. As I’ve gotten savvier, I’m able to get back to work typing right away if I’m careful, but that’s something to work up to! 

Voila! I hope that helps you get over your at-home mani fears, and yields beautiful results. Keep practicing and your hands will get steadier, your manicures will get neater, and your nails will look healthier than ever!