'Giving up SNS saved me over $1,500 a year. Here's how I do my nails at home.'

This article originally appeared on Adore Beauty.

I've had a version of false nails on and off for over a decade.

It started as a teenager with those big plastic nail box sets you’d find in Coles that would last a day at best before breaking off.

I then moved on to acrylics, blowing my entire donut shop pay cheque on fresh French tips every fortnight. Not to mention the ad-hoc repairs (of which, there were many).

From there, I jumped aboard the SNS train as it became known as the "healthier" alternative.

Watch: How to remove acrylic nails. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

I've tried about every shape too, moving from square to oval to stiletto to almond, in tandem with the trend of the time.

I even had Kylie Jenner-coded claws for a while there. Which, albeit great back scratchers, were literally impossible to do anything with.

It was an addiction that try as I may, I could never quite kick for more than a few months at a time.


As a serial nail-biter for most of my life, false nails were a mask for the broken, brittle and paper-thin pinchers that lay underneath.

And the constant compliments from onlookers were only further validation.

I attempted to stop nail biting too. My mum even tried bribing me as a kid with new books in exchange for my dropping the habit, but that didn’t last long.

I discovered my sister had been offered a similar deal, except in her case she actually had to read a book to get her negotiated prize. Naturally, as a bookworm, I found issue with this.

Fast forward to the present day and enter, the cost-of-living crisis.

A $50 appointment became $80, sometimes more. And I just couldn't justify it anymore.

The costs, both financially and in nail health, were becoming unsustainable.

I took it as a sign to finally sort my s**t out.

With so many nail care products now at my fingertips, I stocked up on the essentials like I was hibernating for the winter.

I'm proud to share that not only have I finally kicked my bad biting habit, but I've now got my nail care routine down to a fine art.

Keep scrolling for all the products I use at home to keep my nails healthy (and hawt).


Nail maintenance essentials.

Weleda Skin Food, $28.95.

adore beauty article imageImage: Adore Beauty.

I firmly believe that everyone should have a tube of Weleda Skin Food 75ml ($28.95) in their skincare arsenal (granted it's suitable for your skin type).

It's my dry skin cure-all for pretty much anywhere I experience roughness on my body — face, feet, elbows, hands; you name it.

I like to keep a travel-size tube in my handbag. Its ultra-thick texture is perfect for getting into the nooks and crannies of my genetically wrinkly hands (thanks mum <3).


Its natural formula is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic and oleic acid, which help to soothe and heal the skin–particularly beneficial for flaky and dry cuticles.

For the fragrance-adverse, consider the Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream 118ml ($59.99) as a multi-tasking alternative.

OPI Repair Mode, $39.95.

adore beauty article imageImage: Adore Beauty.



Never have I added a product to cart as fast as OPI Repair Mode 9ml ($39.95).

Having read our Senior Content Manager Megan's glowing review at the time of its launch — coincidentally the same week I'd removed my SNS — it was a bit of a no-brainer.

I was a little sceptical of a 'bond-building nail treatment', having only heard of such things in haircare. But it genuinely works!

Here's how my nails looked before using it versus two weeks in.

Fair warning they weren't pretty...

adore beauty article imageImage: Adore Beauty.

Its quick-dry formula can be used daily both under and over polish, or whenever my nails need some strengthening, like after a big cleaning sesh.


My at-home manicure routine.


adore beauty article imageImage: Adore Beauty.

As for my manicure, unlike their former in-salon routine, I keep things fairly simple.

After I've showered while my nails are still soft, I use the Manicare maniPRO 2-in-1 Cleaner & Pusher ($21.19) to clean under them, smooth their surface and gently push my cuticles back in preparation for polish.


If it's been a stressful week, there’s a strong chance I've been picking at my nails (hey, I'd said I'd quit biting, but picking is proving a little trickier for these fidgety fingers), so I'll use a cuticle trimmer to neaten them up.

I used to find this so satisfying when getting them professionally done.

I then file and shape them using the OPI Edge File 240 Grit, $7.95. Its fine-grit design is ideal for natural nails and helps reduce the chance of damage.

I also particularly like its flexible, rounded shape because it makes it easy to file my nails precisely into shape.


adore beauty article imageImage: Adore Beauty.

As for polish, I can’t leave the house without at least a clear coat on my nails.


My go-to low-maintenance shade is OPI Nail Envy 15ml in Original ($36.95), which includes strengthening ingredients such as biotin, calcium and vitamins A, C and E, to protect and repair nails.

Its subtle glossy finish is just enough that my nails don't feel completely naked, helping to enhance their natural look in between polishes.

If I'm opting for colour, I tend to reach for red hues. 

My signature shade is OPI Nail Lacquer in Big Apple Red ($21.95). I'm yet to find a more timeless, chic and universally flattering red nail polish that applies as easily and lasts as long as this one by OPI does.

If I'm feeling fancy or want something that makes a statement, I'll apply a set of the new OPI press-on nails.

adore beauty article imageImage: Adore Beauty.

They're the closest thing to a salon-quality manicure, sans the hour-plus-long appointment.


Each set includes 30 nails in different sizes, plus nail glue, a prep pad, cuticle stick and duo file/buffer. They also promise a 14-day wear time and are reusable, saving you even more time and money — two things we could all do with a little more of in 2024.

Final thoughts.

And there you have it: my no-nonsense, budget-friendly, and multi-purpose routine for nails on indefinite hiatus from their former salon days.

Feature image: Supplied/Adore Beauty.