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DIY manicures and pedicures for busy moms

Kristin Larson

There’s nothing quite like breaking away for a salon manicure and pedicure, but busy moms know how hard it is to find two free hours for the pampering nail treatments. To help you out, we’ve got some expert tips for achieving a salon-perfect manicure and pedicure at home.

Busy mom giving herself a manicure

Still questioning the whole DIY manicure and pedicure? Don’t. The following tips, courtesy of nail expert and Orly Educational Manager Catherine Baek, break down the process so you can achieve flawless nails yourself — without having to shell out cash and head to the salon. Trust us — we were skeptical too, until we tried these savvy manicure and pedicure tips. The key? Be patient, don’t expect perfection the first time and don’t rush the steps.

1Out with the old

First, prep work is very important. Begin by removing all the old nail lacquer from your nails. Use Orly’s Slip-it Off Gentle (or your favorite nail polish remover) to easily erase the left over lacquer with a sponge removal system. “It’s quick, easy and you don’t need messy sticky cotton balls,” says Baek.


Follow up with trimming and cutting your nails. Pick a desired length and shape, and use Orly’s Buffing Trio (or your favorite nail clipper and emery board) to file, shape and smooth your nails. “There are three sides. First use the 240 grit (the black side) to determine your shape,” Baek explains. “You should always use 180 or higher to prevent from shredding or damaging the free edge of the natural nails. Smooth with 400 (white side). Very important: Try to keep all of your nails the same length. Keep in mind that shape can determine if it looks professional or not.”

Not sure how to file your nails? Here’s how, according to Baek: File flat to the tip and do not angle the file as you shape. You want the tip of the nail to be as thick as possible for strength, and filing at an angle will weaken the edge. Also, file one direction from each side to the center of the nail.


Keep your cuticles nice and clean. When your cuticles have been pushed back, it creates a clean and professional look. Apply a drop of cuticle oil and lightly massage your cuticles. Then soak your fingers in a bowl of warm water. Next, brush on cuticle remover, such as Orly Cutique , wait three minutes and then push your cuticles with an orange wooden stick. Then, rinse with water. Make sure you remove any residue with nail polish remover as it will affect how the polish stays on your nails.

4Prime it

Just like you apply a primer for your foundation, it’s best if you apply a base coat for your nails. A base coat helps the nail polish adhere to your nails and prevents discoloration of your nail plate.

5Be an artist

Follow with a thin application of nail polish of your choice. Start with one hand first and paint one nail at a time. Then move on to the other hand. Repeat with a second coat of polish. Finish it off with your favorite top coat to seal the polish.

Apply thin coats and do not apply two coats at a time. Also, remember to seal the edges with polish and your top coat. It prevents chipping.

6Fake it like a pro

After your application, double check your work. Most likely, you’ve applied your nail polish slightly onto your skin. Don’t worry. You can “fake it like a pro” with Flawless Fixer Corrector Pen. It will correct any mistakes, including the hard-to-reach grooves around the nails, with an easy to use precise tip.

7Crystallize it

After correction and careful inspection, add a couple drops of Flash Dry or any quick-dry nail polish to your nails. It will instantly dry your nails and will prevent any other mistakes.

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