Prom on a Budget: Easy Home Manicure Tips

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Proms are expensive – it’s a fact. You pay for your tickets, the perfect prom dress, shoes, accessories, hair, makeup, transportation, photography and more. If there is a way you can save, we want you to know about it!

Many teens will have their nails professionally manicured for prom, but this is definitely an area you can take care of yourself, saving at least $25 – $30 or more. Every dollar counts when you’re planning prom on a budget, so here is the lowdown on your DIY prom manicure.

Manicure 101

The word “manicure” comes from the Latin roots mani (hand) + cura (care). You’ve probably been giving yourself great home nail care for years. Trimming your nails, gently clipping the loose bits of skin before they become painful hang nails, and generally keeping your hands and fingers clean and dirt-free are all good places to start.

Did you know that your hands also need exfoliation just like your face does? You can use a commercial exfoliating skin scrub, but it’s easy to make your own sugar scrub from ingredients at home (see Pinterest for 100s of home recipes for sugar scrubs!). Exfoliate your hands several times per week, especially during the weeks leading up to prom.

Always follow exfoliation with moisturizer. Aloe vera is a great natural moisturizer (many people even grow their own at home) or you can use a good quality hand lotion.

Removing dead skin, then moisturizing your hands will help keep them looking young your whole life – and youthful hands look amazing with pretty polished nails!

Preparing for Polish

When you’re ready to polish your nails, start by removing any old polish, then soaking them in a mixture of liquid dish soap and water to loosen any dirt or residue. Soaking helps soften cuticles which you should push back very gently (emphasize gently) with an orange stick. (This is one of those steps, like brushing your teeth, which yields the best results when you do it regularly, btw).

Trim your nails so that each is approximately the same length and shape them with an emery board. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly.

Polish Tips

Follow these tips to get the best results:

  1. Begin by applying a base coat – like a foundation for your nails, it helps your polish go on smoothly.
  2. Use just three strokes per nail, per layer.
  3. Apply a second coat (and third if you need it).
  4. After the second coat, run your brush along the edge to help seal the paint.
  5. Use a top coat to seal the color and make it shine.
  6. Allow to dry for the complete recommended time to avoid smudging your polish.

Most people have a stronger hand and one that is less coordinated. If you need some help, recruit a parent, sibling or friend to polish your dominant hand. Practice in the weeks leading up to prom, too! Your hands will look great for weeks and simply stunning for the dance, and you’ll have perfected a useful skill or a lifetime too. Bonus!

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