I love having a manicured look - just makes me feel so much more polished (no pun intended). Unfortunately, since I've had a baby my nails have been growing like crazy so a $35 upkeep once a week is way too expensive - nearly $2,000 per year! I decided there had to be a better way so I purchased a Shellac Light on eBay and started doing manicures myself.
Shellac light - $35 but they range from $10+ now on eBay
Shellac nail polish - I purchased my CND base and top coats on eBay for $12 each a while ago but they have them at Sally Beauty for $10.99. Right now there is a B1G1 Free June nail sale going on!
Cuticle clippers - Walmart for $9.97
Nail buffer - Walmart for $4.99
To start, I soak my nails for 3 minutes in warm water. I then clip my cuticles so I have a nice clean area with no interference for polish.
Once my nails are dry, I shape them and buff them down to give a good texture for the polish to adhere to.
I then apply the base coat and let each hand sit in the light for 3 minutes each. After, I wipe my nails with polish remover to remove any extra oils from the base coat.
Next is the color application. A friend recommended this tip for your less dominant hand: keep that hand still while moving the other one when applying polish. For example, my right is my dominant hand so when I have to apply color to it I keep my left still holding the polish and move my right hand up and down to apply. Depending on coverage, I do 2-3 coats of color and let it dry under the light for 2 minutes each coat.
Last, I apply a top coat and let each hand set for 5 minutes under the light. Once they're dry I wipe with polish remover one more time. Then voila! Perfect nails for a week (or two if your nails grow slower). You can also do this with your toenails for a pedicure.
Turned out to be a good thing I polished my nails because later in the evening my husband gave me a gorgeous ring for our anniversary!
Total savings over 1 year even if I have 5 nail colors is over $1700!
Note: I have tried the Nutra Gel UV-Free gel color but without success. On Ulta's website they have only 2 stars so I assume others have had the same difficulty.