Guest contributor: Jenna Nicole Levine

One of my favorite ways to bond with my mother is done while we treat ourselves to a deluxe mani-pedi. There is nothing more awesome than leaving a salon with my head filled with gossip and feet adorned with perfectly polished toes, especially during those summer months when everyone’s feet are constantly on display. Pretty painted nails are great for self-esteem, but a little hard on the wallet since a bi-weekly trip to the nail salon including tip can run almost $100 a month per person! Do not fret this hefty price tag my friends, because I have come up with a four step program designed to make you look beautiful as you bond with your mother, daughter, friend, neighbor, mailman, maybe even your dog while enjoying the sanctity and affordability of your home!

Step One: Setting the Right Mood

Whether you want the calming relaxation of a day spa or the funky vibe of a popping salon you can create your own experience using nature, and more importantly the power of the internet. Since it is summer why not set up your at home nail salon outdoors! Grab some chairs from inside if you don’t have patio furniture, and burn some summer scented candles. I am a sucker for Candle Bays Soy Coconut Shell Candle $5. For music I recommend creating a tailored playlist utilizing the free website GrooveShark (or try one of Spa Week Daily’s playlists!), which can set the musical tone for the day. Pick up two colorful plastic basins to fill with water as a foot soaking station (you can find these at Target or Walmart) and pair it with matching hand towels for the perfect outdoor nail salon! While at your local Target don’t forget to grab two large plastic bowls for hand soaking purposes.

Step Two:  Gather your Tools

Now that you have your nail rescue area ready to go you need the tools to get those fingertips looking flashy. Instead of purchasing all your materials separately, Earth Therapeutics has created a Deluxe Manicure + Pedicure set for only $17. This trusty little set comes complete with two nail clippers, a stainless steel cuticle trimmer, tweezers, scissors, a nail brush, a cuticle groomer, a cuticle pusher, a dual surface emery board, two toe separators, and a natural pumice brush. To top it all off this set comes with a sanitizer to help cleanse and prep you for an expert manicure.

For foot and hand soaking purposes warm water is all you really need, but to make the experience exotic you can add in a few drops of lavender oil, ½ cup of sea salt, and some flower petals.

In terms of actual nail polish color the possibilities are endless. My favorite of the season is OPI’s Shatter Collection $8.50 which can be found in store only at Ulta.  Paint over glitter, metallic, or neon nail polish for a bold, fun and youthful summer look. Also, do not forget a base coat and a top coat for optimal strength. L’Oreal makes good ones for $4.99 each.

Step Three:  Get Down to Business!

Now that you have your tools and environment ready it’s time to get down to the mani-pedi business.  I recommend starting with a 15 minute foot and hand soak.  Put some cucumber slices on your eyes, sit back, and just breathe deeply.  The lavender from the water will relax you.  When you are finished with the pumice stone, drying your hands and feet, filing, and buffing your nails you should apply a cuticle cream and let it sit for a few minutes before trimming. I recommend Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream for $6.

Take your time and apply your nail polish slowly to avoid mistakes; however if you do slip up that nail polish remover will come in handy.  Once your polish is applied it is time to move on to the final step.

Step Four:  Let the Polish Dry and Enjoy Your Company

Put on those toe separators, let the summer sun dry your nails, and enjoy this perfect opportunity to catch up with the person you are with. Nail polish can take awhile to dry so don’t be in a rush! Once your nails are touchably smooth go grab lunch or dinner and save the clean up for later.  It is summer after all, why not be a little lazy?

Photo by Chanelle

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