Mom's Time Out

by Marybeth Henry

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As a Frugal Mom, do you feel like you can't spend any money on yourself? One way I love to treat myself is with a manicure -- but a manicure doesn't HAVE to be expensive. I do it all by myself at home, but it still comes out looking great ("salon finished"). Here are some of the tricks of the trade:

Yellow Nails?

Start by cutting a lemon in half and rubbing it gently over each nail. This will remove the yellow tint.

Shape the Nails

Using a gentle emery board, shape your nails in one direction only. Going back and forth across your nails weakens the grain and makes them split and break faster. It may seem like filing in one direction takes forever, but the more you practice at it, the quicker and easier it gets.

Use a Base Coat

A base coat serves two purposes -- it strengthen your nails, and it protects your nails (helping you to avoid those ugly yellow stains). Apply the base coat both on the top of the nail (no surprise), but also to the back of the nail on any nails that are longer than your fingertips.


Apply one to two coats of color. After you have painted the color on the nail, seal it with one stripe of color just across the tip of your nail. This will help minimize (but unfortunately not eliminate) chips in your polish.

Top Coat

Apply a top coat. Just like the base coat, apply it to both the top and back of your nail to help seal in color and strengthen the nails. (To help extend the life of your manicure, you can reapply the top coat as often as every 24 hours).


End with a soothing warm water handwashing and extra-moisturizing hand lotion. Your hands will look and feel great!

Have fun!

Marybeth Henry is the author of Magazine's Frugal Mom Weekly. This newsletter offers frugal ideas, tips, and advice each week to help you in your daily life. To subscribe, send any email message to or visit

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