Begin by removing old nail polish with some cotton balls and nail polish remover. I love ONYX Professional Moisturizing Formula Nail Polish Remover because a little goes a long way with this product. It's cheap, and removes polish easily, unlike some more expensive removers.
Fill the bowl with warm water and soak nails for 2-5 minutes, allowing the cuticles to soften. While you are waiting, using a brush like Sally Girl Nail Brush to gently scrub on and under your nails to remove excess nail polish and dirt. Remove hands from water and pat dry.
* Tip: For yellowing nails, add a few slices of lemon into your water and let your hands sit a few minutes longer. This will help to whiten your nails.
Clip nails to whatever length you like. Tweezerman Studio Collection, Hot Pink Nail Rescue Kit, has all the tools you'll need to perfect your nails.
File and buff your nails into your favorite shape and smoothness using the 2 in 1 Tweezerman Nail File Collection-Nail Buffer or something similar, with numbered sides for user-friendly handling. When filing your nails, only file one way; do not saw back and forth. To buff out ridges for a smooth look, start from base to free edge going front to back, not side to side.
Massage in cuticle oil or cream (I prefer oil, as it keeps your nailbeds hydrated longer) like Sally Hansen Nail Treatment Gel Cuticle Remover. Wait 1-2 minutes, then using the flat end of a pusher tip in your Nail Rescue Kit, loosen and push the cuticles away from nails. Then, take your Cuticle Nipper and gently pull excess cuticles in a forward motion from the base to free edge. Wash away excess oil/cream with warm soapy water, and pat dry.
For an ultra spa-like feel, try warming up some hand cream for 10 seconds in the microwave and lathering it into your hands and wrists. Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream is an antioxidant rich lotion that leaves your skin feeling smooth, not greasy.
Apply a base coat to prep the nails for your polish color. OPI Start To Finish Base Coat, Top Coat & Strengthener 3-in-1 Treatment is good quality base coat, top coat, and strengthener in one that dries convienantly quickly, leaving your nails glossy and beautiful.
Next, brush on two coats of your favorite nail polish and clean up any misplaced polish. Add a top coat, and you're all done with your at-home spa manicure!