Saturday, June 25, 2011

Budget French Manicure

I love being pampered at the spa just as much as the next girl, but I am not a fan of salon french manicures! I've had a french manicure air brushed on... and it was so thick it peeled off in one piece. I've had traditional french manicures at probably 15 different salons in my life and they are always so awful! Crooked lines... sloppy... looks like they were hand painted. Uh, probably because they are and I just can't see how someone can possibly have a steady enough hand to paint on a straight french manicure line!

Years ago I decided to take the matter into my own hands and find a way to do an awesome french manicure at home. Here are the tools:

  • nail polish remover
  • white polish 
  • clear coat
  • eye tips cotton swabs (flat on one end and pointy on the other)
If you need to do a little cuticle work, I recommend Sally Hansen Massaging Cuticle Treatment and whatever you call that other little tool there- a cuticle trimmer, maybe?

I usually use the 99 cent Wet N Wild white polish from the drug store. The key to a good french manicure is fresh polish. It has to be good and runny, not clumpy or thick at all (like old polish gets). I buy the cheap stuff so even if I only get one manicure out of the bottle it's still significant savings over a salon polish.

Here are the steps:

  1. Remove any polish or oils from your nails w/ polish remover.
  2. With the white polish paint from the top of your nail down to past the natural curved line of your nail. (Don't worry about making it look pretty at this point.
  3. Let this layer dry thoroughly! I cannot stress this enough!
  4. Put a second coat over the first, once again down past the natural line of your nail tip.
  5. Let this layer dry thoroughly! I mean it! If you don't let all the layers dry well your nails will chip or dent or smear before the top coat finally does dry. 
  6. Take the flat end of your q-tip and dip it in the polish remover. Rub the cotton swab across your nail, allowing it to follow the natural curve of your nail. Start at the bottom of the white polish and work your way up, slowly erasing away what you don't want in a smooth line. Stop when it looks good to you. 
  7. Use the pointy end of the cotton swab for any touch-ups and to get any polish off the skin beside your nails. (I'm a messy polisher.)
  8. Apply a clear coat if you prefer the look I do, or a light pink polish if you want a softer look.
The nail on the right isn't finished, fyi.

Tips:

Use 10 cotton swabs, one for each nail. Once too much polish gunk gets on the swab it won't erase in a solid, smooth line.

You can stop the line of the french manicure lower than your actual nail tip. This will make your nails look longer. If you break one nail before your manicure, use this trick to try to make it look the same length as your other nails.

Once again, and I'm serious this time, let each layer dry COMPLETELY before the next. Sometimes I will even wait a half hour between coats just to be sure. You can watch TV, read a book, or read The 2010's Housewife blog while waiting. :)



If you give it a try, shoot me an email at 2010housewife@gmail.com to let me know how you did!

Since I've already received a new emails asking where to buy these cotton swabs I thought I'd do a little online shopping for you. You can buy a pack of 80 on Amazon.com right now for $5.69 shipped! Fran Wilson Eye Tees Cotton Tips 80's

Fran Wilson Eye Tees Cotton Tips 80's
Fran Wilson Eye Tees Cotton Tips

Linking Up @ Today's Creative Blog & The Thrifty Home & Savvy Southern Style

47 comments:

  1. Sounds good.. going to have to try this!!! Thanks for the wonderful tip!!

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  2. They look so pretty, where do you find those q-tips?
    thanks,
    Beth

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  3. I was skeptical, but your nails look great! :) I'm jealous. My nails are wider than they are long and alas, they'll never look good w/a french manicure.

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  4. I'm looking forward to having pretty nails with your easy tutorial. Thanks!

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  5. Nice! I need to try this! Just stopped over from Debbie's party!

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  6. Thanks for all the comments everyone!

    Beth, I have bought those q-tips at CVS and Rite Aid in the past, but I'd imagine just about any drug store would have them. They are usually with the other cotton swabs & make-up pads, but sometimes with the nail care or make-up. Good luck!

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  7. Thanks for the tips! I've seen some nail places that do it like this and it does help get a perfect white line. The other thing I always ask for is that they paint the top tip of the nail. I tend to type on the keyboard with my nails, so if they paint the tip, they tend to last longer.

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  8. I will have to try this! It reall looks good! I do get a French POLISH CHANGE, not the complete manicure so it only costs $10.00 But before vacation, I had them do shellac and it lasted 3 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can't get it off til you soak it off!!!! Great for traveling! XO, Pinky

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  9. So pretty! I am a fan of doing my own manis and pedis because they get so expensive! And the way yours are done look professional.

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  10. I am definitely going to try this! Thanks for the tip!

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  11. Looks pretty. Thanks for sharing. I will give this tip to my daughter who loves to do her nails.

    cheryl

    www.paintedstudio.blogspot.com

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  12. Such a great idea, I am total fan of fun ways to do your own nails. I will try this for sure. I am looking you up from confessions of a stay at home mom!
    http://rubykay.blogspot.com/

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  13. thanks for the tips! this is awesome:) and linkin up to tell me tuesday:)
    xoxo
    ash

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  14. Great ideas! I tried giving myself and my daughter a french manicure just the other day and it didn't end well. Now I know how to do it right! And thanks for the info on where to buy the swabs, I'll be ordering some very soon.

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  15. Hi there- found you through Savvy's hop and am a new follower. I'm bookmarking this post in my "nail art" folder. Thanks for the tutorial.I hope you have time to follow my life in South Africa by http://withoutcomplexities.blogspot.com

    I hope you have a great week!

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  16. I just wanted to add that I totally tried this last night, but I only had regular q tips...and it still worked pretty darn good. Thanks for being so smart and helping all the girlies out here!

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  17. Hello! I came over from Tea Rose Home and I was going to do this today, but then I realized that I have to do a lot of cleaning and was wondering how well it holds up?
    I'm a new follower of yours now :)

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  18. Hi Aurora!

    It depends on the polish you use. Since I use the cheap stuff it only lasts a couple days. But I generally keep my nails unpolished & only paint them for special occasions (weddings, parties, etc.) . If you use a good, strong polish it should hold up better. I've also heard that if you paint the end of the tip it will seal it better to stop chipping. Good luck!

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  19. My nails look great! Thanx for the tutorial!

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  20. I once had a French manicure kit that had some kind of stickers that you were supposed to use, like masking tape, but they never worked right. Your solution looks so much better. So happy that I found you through The Tattered Tag. Thanks. -Lola from www.buddhatropolis.com

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  21. Thanks for this post! I have tried doing my own in the past... freehand... >shudder< but this seems pretty easy, and way more attractive.

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  22. that sounds easier than painting the white part with a paint pen (which i've done).. im gonna give it a try.

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  23. Gonna try it! Thanks!

    www.sparklesandbugs.blogspot.com
    www.fitmamawannabe.com

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  24. Brilliant! I guess lots of others thought so too, you were my most clicked link for Tutorial Tuesday!

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  25. Thank you for the info. Have you ever tried the q-tips for babies - the safety style? they look like they might work. Not sure it they would be as good as your solution. I am definitely going to try this. I love the French manicure in the summer especially. I never tried painting pass the tip of the nail. That seems to be a great secret.

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  26. Pure genius!!! Can't wait to try it. :)

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  27. Loved this tutorial!! Seems so simple now that you've showed us how. HeHe I've never seen or heard of those cotton swabs before. I'm definately going to try this. THANKS for sharing.

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  28. Your French manicure looks great! I haven't painted my nails in forever. I think this would be a nice look. Plus, it would cover my gardening nails. :-) Thanks for linking up.

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  29. I love this! I haven't ever heard of those kind of q-tips. I am your newest follower! You have a fun blog! I would love it if you would stop by and become my newest follower!

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  30. I love your tutorial. This is how I do my french pedicure and the results are great. You can also buy the cotton swabs at Wal Mart in the make up area. :-)

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  31. You are so smart! I've been trying to figure out for years how to do it myself. All my attempts have been fails. Can't wait to give this a try! Thank you for sharing your brilliance with the rest of us!

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  32. You are featured at New Nostalgia's Anti-Procrastination Tuesday! Thanks for linking up!

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  33. hey girl! i featured this:) come grab a button if you would like:)
    thanks
    xo
    ash

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  34. Congrads! This was the most viewed link last week at the whatever goes wednesday party. I am highlighting it today. Grab my "featured" button.

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  35. Looks good! I've been a nail technician and salon owner for 13 yrs now. Real professionals know how to do a french tip by hand =), discount mall salons... not so much.

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  36. Let me tell you, I finnaly managed to have a decent and gorgeous diy french manicure thanks to you!!

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  37. Thank you! By the way, I found a big bags of these Q-tips at Dollar General for around $1!!! They work great for lining your eyes as well.

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  38. Thanks for the great idea, I am waiting for the first coat to dry now and running to the store while the second coat dries to get the qtips. I need to keep busy because the waiting is the hardest part. I am trying it with red on the tips and then clear for the 4th!

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    Here is my blog; walking calculator

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  40. I tried this out just this weekend before my senior prom and it worked perfectly. I was able to give myself a beautiful french manicure! Thank you so much for sharing this idea!

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  41. Omg thank you for sharing! I can never get a nice straight line and spend a lot of wasted time trying. This worked perfectly!

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  42. Omg thank you for sharing! I can never get a nice straight line and spend a lot of wasted time trying. This worked perfectly!

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  43. Thank you for the tips! In some salons, they use French Tip Pen to make the perfect French manicure. The process looks easy that you can even DIY it. I will try your methods, though. =) Beulah May @ BernardsSalonAndSpa.com

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