I love being treated to a good mani/pedi, but I really don't get them done that often. I tend to get them done more often in the warmer months when I live in sandals and need to have pretty feet, but all throughout the winter, I try to maintain with at-home treatments. The right tools make all the difference in the world and at least you know they are clean and sterile!
Here are the steps I follow:
1. Cut nails.
2. Shape nails with a glass nail file, as it will maintain the integrity your nails, unlike traditional filers.
3. Buff the tops of your nails with a fine/medium grit buffing tool. This smooths your nails so that there isn't a ridge at the end from the filing.
I love this nail buffer from Sephora because it has four sides. Use buffing sides #2 and #3 for step three!
4. Trim hang nails or anything else visibly sticking up off your nails with a cuticle nipper.
5. Apply a cuticle softener and massage it into each nail bed.
(There is no way I could give myself a proper at-home mani or pedi without this.)
This cuticle butter is amazing. It softens my cuticles better than anything I've ever tried. It's made up of lemons, beeswax, avocados, and other butters and oils. You can also use it on your heels, elbows, or any part of your body that is a little rough. A little goes a long way, so this little pot has lasted me a long time.
6. Push cuticles back gently with a cuticle pusher while your nails are still heavily moisturized with the cuticle butter.
I use a cuticle pusher that has a spoon edge, like this one:
7. Wash hands while using a nail brush to scrub away anything under or around your nails.
8. Base coat, polish x2, and a top coat... then you're good to go!
My favorite top coat is Essie All in One Base.
...and my favorite top coat is Sally Hansen Mega Shine because it gives that gel-like appearance and makes my polish harden very quickly!