DIYShopping, Style and Beauty

Broke-Ass DIY: Mani/Pedi Tips

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I used to allot myself one pampering splurge per month to make myself feel like a fancy lady who says things like “pampering.” My usual special treat was a trip to the nail salon for a little mani/pedi action. I did my research and found the greatest deal for value I could find that didn’t risk my appendages getting infected and falling off, and I was a happy, well-groomed person.

These days, times are tough, and though I am still happy, I can no longer afford to pay others to groom me. Luckily, during my college years, during which such luxuries were few and far between, I became a pro at doing my own nails. I always preferred getting them done by someone else because of how much faster they could execute the process, but the satisfaction of painting my own little piggies for almost no cost is worth the extra time…sort of.

If you are like me and have found it difficult/impossible to shell out the monies for frivolous beauty treatments, then follow these next steps for a close-to-flawless DIY Mani/Pedi experience:

1. Invest in Good Polish: Even if you buy the $8-per-bottle OPI, you’re still saving lots of cash as opposed to paying a professional. OPI, Essie and American Apparel are all under $10, are formaldehyde free, come in awesome colors and last a decent amount of time. You may be in love with that certain Chanel color, but I can’t bring myself to pay upwards of $20 for a tiny bottle of nail polish that I’m most likely going to spill eventually. Helpful hint: For whatever reason, OPI bottles tend to stick shut after a while. If this happens to you, just soak the bottle in a cup of warm water for 10 minutes and that should do the trick.

2. Soak It: If you value your cuticles, it is important to soak those puppies for a few minutes before GENTLY pushing them back with an orange stick. You can even spruce it up by throwing a lemon slice or some bath oils into the bowl, you fancy lady you!

3. Timing is Everything: I have a bad habit of painting my nails late at night, going to bed shortly thereafter, then waking up with sheet-textured nails. If that is the look you’re going for, then power to you, but if you are trying to avoid that “I just spent 3 hours doing my fucking nails only to ruin them in my sleep” look, I recommend getting an early start. It’s much easier to baby your wet nails when you are conscious and there is nothing that pisses me off more than losing sleep worrying about my stupid nail polish.

4. Keep it Thin: If you can’t avoid the late-night nail sesh, then do your best to keep the coats of polish thin and spaced out. I’ve decided that this is the defining skill of professional manicurists. It is much much easier to control the flow of polish when you’re not doing your own nails, but if you can master this, you are a god amongst DIY nailers. And remember to allow each coat to mostly dry before applying the next.

Happy painting!

PS If you fail miserably, try, try again. If you fail again, call me. I’ll do your nails for $10 in my living room.

Photos from:,,

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Alison Lambert - Half Price Headliner

Alison Lambert - Half Price Headliner

Ali was born and raised in the Wholesome/Creepy capital of the world, Salt Lake City, UT. Once she was old enough to blow that pop stand she escaped to the place that was the anti-SLC: The Peoples Gay-public of Drugifornia aka San Francisco (holla 30 Rock!). You can now find her throughout this glorious city slurping Pho and scheming with her best friend Pinky doing what they do every night; try and take over the world.


  1. Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
    June 1, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I hate looking at that woman with the nails. Fuck her and her fucking nails. My skin is crawling.

  2. June 1, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    $10 wow! what time shall I be there? I will definitely go check out Minna nails, thanks for the great tips!