Wednesday, April 7, 2010

DIY French manicure/pedicure

Everyone has their vice...their go-to splurge that makes them feel absolutely wonderful. For some, it might be Starbucks, splurging on a new pair of shoes, or a stiff martini. For is a pedicure. There is just something amazingly relaxing about sitting in a massage chair with your feet in warm water while having your feet transformed from something that resembles Hobbit feet to a beautiful set of piggies ready to be shown off in a cute pair of sandals. The only problem with pedicures? They cost money...and at the moment, I have very little of it. Saving up for a wedding has really made me take a look at what I spend my extra money on, and then cut back. Typically, I treat myself to a pedicure around once a month, which sets me back about $28. I haven't had a pedicure since July 2009...which means that I have saved about $224 at this point - yay! have I managed to not drive myself nuts in the meantime? I taught myself how to DIY my beloved french pedicure (and manicure)! After countless times sitting in the chair, I observed my nail techs, and decided to give it a shot myself. Ok, here we go...

To start...lets gather our materials! You will need:

*Acetone nail polish remover. Yes...acetone. Using the regular, less strong remover will drive you nuts. However, BE CAREFUL, because this stuff will literally take the varnish right off a coffee table ( happened to me a while ago, dang it)

*White nail polish for the nail tips - I like Sally Hansen Maximum Growth "Pure White Tip"

*Pink/clear polish for the top coat. For pink, I enjoy Sally Hansen Diamond Strength in "Champagne Toast" (pictured). For clear/neutral, I like Sally Hansen Maximum Growth in "Innocent Nude."

*Nail file

*Nail buffer

*Cuticle pusher (not required, but I it)

*Cuticle nipper

*Nail clipper

*Makeup brush (I use an eyeshadow brush) that you are willing to sacrifice for french manicures. It should have relatively stiff and short bristles.

Ok - here we go!!!

1.) To start, clip your nails to a desired/even length. File them for a smooth finish, and use the buffer on the top of your nail surface to smooth out the bumps.

2.) If desired, use the cuticle pusher to press back your cuticles, then CAREFULLY clip them with the nipper. If you aren't sure of the technique, here are some short videos illustrating it for you:

3.) Next, use the white nail polish and paint the tips of your nails. It does not have to be anywhere close to perfect; at this point just make sure you cover the area that you want to be white. Don't believe me - see? I'm definitely not perfect...

Ewww look at what my crazy baby toe can do!!!

I painted my fingernails too...

4.) Pour a small amount of nail polish remover into a container (I just pour it into the bottle cap), and get out your eyeshadow brush that you have now sacrificed for the cause.

5.) Submerge the brush in the remover to soak for a few seconds.

6.) Are you ready? Here goes nothing...using the nail polish remover soaked brush, slowly brush from the center of your nail to the side (then repeat towards the other side).

Work slowly, and wittle down the white strip until you have your desired width. Don't worry if you mess up; you can always repaint the nail tip and start over!

7.) Repeat this technique on each toe (or finger)...until your toes look as awesome as this (haha...):

Here's a shot of my fingers....if you were wondering how they were coming along...

8.) Using the pink/natural nail polish, paint a top coat (or 2 if you like).

Voila - you are done, and have saved yourself a boat load of money by not going to the nail salon! You are now ready to show off your beautiful nails...maybe even in some engagement photos? Yep...I did!

Pilster Photography

As a disclaimer, DON'T be discouraged if your first try at a french mani/pedi doesn't turn out well! It took me a few tries to master my technique. If you mess up one nail, just wipe it clean with remover, and try again. Practice makes perfect, my friends!

Have you tried a DIY manicure? Do you have any tips or tricks that you always use?


  1. This is a great tutorial! I love the way your frenchie came out and the special trick your baby toe can do.

  2. That looks so nice! I've tried doing french mani-pedis at home, but never succeeded...thanks for showing your technique!

  3. OMG I'm OBESSED with doing my nails but I'll keep this short - I LOVE your trick for the white tips. I usually buy the tape sticky that you put along your nail & rip off for an even line.

    I hear the pediegg is really good too for an at home pedi - I have friends that swear by it. But I just CAN'T break down & buy it. It's like cheesegrater for your feet. ICK!

  4. ZOMG! My pinky toe can do the SAME thing. Totes freaks out B.


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