If salon manicures are worked into your monthly budget, you could be throwing away a good amount of money unnecessarily. Many people head to the salon for their nail needs because they don’t believe they can do as good a job on their nails as the pros can. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Take a look at some tips that could help you amp up your home routine and give yourself lasting manicures on the cheap:

  1. Cuticle Care: fill a bowl with some warm water (you can add a bit of soap or lotion to the water if you like). Soak your hands to for a few minutes to soften your cuticles, then gently push them back with a cuticle pusher (a cheap one from the drugstore will do).
  2. File Story: try to file your nail in one direction as opposed to back and forth. This will help to prevent chipping and peeling of the nails.
  3. In the Buff: again, it’s great to pick up a really cheap buffer from the drug store. In fact, the coarser ones (which are often times the cheapest) are the best because they help the base coat stick and prevent chipping for longer.
  4. Clean Slate: moisture on your hands is important, but moisture on your nails means a manicure that won’t last more than a couple of days. Make sure you wipe each nail clean (Editor’s note: I’ve heard a bit of alcohol on some tissue works well) before you apply polish.

For tips on getting started with the painting, head over to Essence’s 10 Tips For Your Best At-Home Manicure.