At-Home Mani & Pedi in 30 min: Easy steps for busy womenCredit: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann@Flickr

It's Friday night.  Wrapping up work, arranging dinner details with friends, and quick run to a nail salon before going out may sound like a perfect agenda. In a perfect world.  In reality – last minute request from your boss followed by calls from annoyed friends with almost rhetorical "Where are you?", escape from that salon with half dry nails,  and... hello another accidental smudge!

We've all been there.  Adding another salon trip to your already overbooked calendar to fix the mess sometimes may not be a feasible option, not even mentioning all the dollars spent on maintaining the desirable sexy look of freshly polished nails.  In fact, the average costs of such "convenience" can add up to $540-1040/year at for a very basic nails work, not even talking about Acrylic nails or tips, which can run $2000+ for bi-weekly services.   Don't know about you, but instead of spending hours in stinky nail salons, I'd rather treat myself with a trip to Caribbean every year!

To save precious time and money,  I found a method of in-home mani/pedi that has been working for me for years and I believe can be suitable for any woman who values her time. Doing your nails work at home has some serious advantages, such as using clean personal tools in a relaxed home setting, ability to choose your own time and, of course, to multitask! I personally prefer listening to my favorite podcasts (watching TV can be distracting) and sometimes even able to sneak in a facial mask between the coats.  You've gotta admit, isn't it way better than trying to make another awkward conversation with a salon worker with broken English? Ok, enough talking - let's get straight to it! To make the process most time efficient, kick it off 30-45 minutes before going to bed. Prior to starting, make sure you are done with errands for the day and make the bed for your lovely self. Here are some simple steps:

Step 1. Remove old nail polish with a polish remover and a cotton ball from fingers and toes (5 min)

Step 2. Apply liquid cuticle remover to get rid of excess cuticle (Once I discovered this product, it made my life so much easier!) (6min)


Blue Cross Cuticle Remover 32 oz.
Amazon Price: $12.99 $0.49 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 24, 2015)

Step 3. Wash your nails with soap (I personally prefer Dove, which soften nails and hands without using creme) or body wash to clean your nails from the cuticle liquid (2 min)

Step 4. Shape your nails with clipper and nail file. Once done, shake the dust off with a brush (3 min)

Step 5. Choose the color and apply two coats of color nail polish on all toes (6 min)

Step 6. To speed up drying process,  use drying drops in between the coats ( I've tried a few different brands, and found OPI Drip Dry Lacquer Drying Drops the fastest and most efficient way to dry painted nails). For the best results, wait about 3-5 minutes before applying another coat.

OPI Drip Dry Drops Top Nail Coats, 1 Fluid Ounce
Amazon Price: $17.90 $10.00 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 24, 2015)

Step 7. Remove excess polish with nail corrector pen. (I found no significant difference between brands, so practically anything you can find in your local pharmacy would work just fine)

Step 8. In 3-5 minutes, apply the top coat. My fave is Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat, which adds professional salon look of shiny expensive polish (available on Amazon)

Step 9. Lastly, for manicure, apply one coat of clear gel polish with a quick movements (2 min). Gel polish makes nails look thicker and naturally shinier and healthier. No drying drops are necessary - gel polish dries in seconds.

Wohoo, we're all set! So it's total 30 minutes of work + 6-10 minutes of free time between the coats, which I usually use to do my in-house facial mask. Even if at the beginning it may take you 45-60 minutes to get used to the process, with time you will become better, and it's totally worth creating the routine now to simplify your life for years ahead!

Now it's time to relax. Lie down in your bed and cover yourself with a blanket up to the toes. If you want to feel safer, bring your pillow a bit lower to move your feet slightly off the bed. No more impatient helpless sitting under slowly dying fan, frustration from accidentally smudging your nails in your shoes and wasted time on multiple salon trips. Your nails will dry in your sleep. Sweet dreams!