Better to spend money at a nail salon, or better to give yourself a mani/pedi from the comfort of your home?

By Emily Walker


When you go to a nail salon, the experience is entirely designed to make you feel relaxed and pampered, as if you've been transported to a tranquil oasis. That includes everything from the receptionist's welcome, to how easy it is to book an appointment. So what would persuade you to take the DIY approach and do your own nails at home?

PRO: It's therapeutic.

Painting your own nails at home is a completely different experience than getting a professional manicure or pedicure. Changing the color of your nails to suit your mood is something you can do anytime and as often as you'd like. Whether you're spending $30 or more on high-quality polish, or buying cheaper polishes in the $2 to $10 range like OPI or Essie, you'll be able to get creative as you want as often as you want.

PRO: It's a time saver

By doing your own mani, pedi, and waxing at home, you can potentially save a lot of time. If you purchase all of the tools and products that your salon uses, you could have the same treatments done in 3 hours or less. The quality may not be as good as what a professional could do, but it will be much cheaper. Plus, you'll get some time back in your day!

PRO: You control the product & the cleanliness!

Some people are just somewhat sensitive to certain products used at retail salons; it's not unknown to develop an allergy to gels or other materials used on your hands or feet. You also have to worry about cross-contamination and how well the salon cleans its tools inbetween appointments! For the true hypochondriac that wants to avoid bacteria or developing some scary fungus, you'll want to avoid the nail salon and do everything at home. And why not? Enjoy a Sunday evening while you sip on a glass of wine and watch some TV.


DIY or a salon, the choice is all yours. But sometimes... it's just hard to beat the ritual of going out and getting some nail care just for yourself. Get a little bit of "me" time -- self care, time to clear your head -- just by taking the afternoon off work and getting it done professionally. This way, you'll save your evenings for something else.


Trying to give yourself a mani/pedi is difficult enough as it is, and that's with regular nail polish. On top of that, you need to take off your old manicure/pedicure, file your nails (just the right amount or you'll thin them out), apply dehydrator (additional cost and an essential step for good adhesion), base coat, color in at least two layers, and then finally the top coat.

Taking on a project by yourself is seldom as good of an outcome as if you were to hire someone. Professionals know what they're doing and will produce better results than if you try to do it yourself.

Bottom Line:

It's not as cheap or easy as you would think to replicate at home. If you know what you want and willing to put in the practice, you may end up saving some time and money, but that often won't replace the experience of being pampered. You can do it quickly and cheaply for less, or find a quality professional -- it all depends on what you're after!