Beautiful nails don’t be overly expensive or intricately painted—though they certainly can be. There’s nothing wrong with bringing out the natural beauty of your nails, either.

In addition to being something you can do in the comfort of your own home, treating and buffing your own nails is a fairly inexpensive and satisfying experience that will keep your nails strong while helping them to look their best.

What Do I Need?

Building your own nail polishing set is easy and relatively pain-free. Most of the tools you’ll need can be purchased in any beauty store or pharmacy. You should expect to spend a little money to get everything you need, but you’ll be spending much less money than you would on a manicure.

To start building your own nail polishing kit, you’ll first want to make sure you have a strong nail trimmer and a couple of nail files. These are basic nail care essentials. You’ll also want to purchase a nail buffer, a manicure stick (commonly known as “orange sticks”), and cuticle cream. All should be readily available in most beauty stores. If you plan on using nail color, you’ll also want to purchase cotton balls and nail polish remover.

Getting Started

Before you begin buffing your nails, you’ll want to prepare your cuticles. Dab your cuticle cream around the base of your nails and allow the cream to soak in for a couple of minutes. Then you’ll want to push the cuticles back with your manicure stick. Cuticles are sensitive and require the gentlest treatment.  Don’t force them; if need be, apply more cream and allow it to soak longer.

Buffing Your Nails

Once you’ve prepared your cuticles, you can start buffing your nails. Your nail buffer should have multiple sides, each with a different texture. Sometimes, each side will be labeled. If they aren’t, you should be able to tell which side is which by running your finger along them. You’ll want to start with the roughest side, which you’ll rub across the surface of your nail in short strokes. Four strokes per nail should suffice.

Next, you’ll switch to the “medium rough” side, and you’ll repeat the first step. Remember—you’re not trying to wear down your nail. Your goal is to smooth away any bumps or imperfections. You’ll finish by using the smoothest side of your nail buffer until your nail’s surface is as shiny as you’d like it. Finish by rinsing your hands and applying lotion.

If you wish to continue your manicure, you can start applying nail color. If not, you might choose to apply a thin coat of clear nail polish to strengthen your nails after you’ve buffed them. This will complete your manicure! You should buff your nails every few weeks, but no more—you don’t want to risk wearing down or thinning your nail, which could lead to breakage. If you follow these steps, you can keep your nails looking great at no cost whatsoever.