The Pros and Cons of a Salon Mani vs. at-Home Mani

I love pampering myself. I'm sorry, but I do.

And although there's nothing wrong with splurging every once in awhile and taking a trip to the nail salon for a luxurious mani-pedi, it can take a major hit to the bank account.

So, recently, I've decided to save my hard-earned money and do my manis right at home. When I made this transition, I started to see both the benefits and drawbacks of an at-home manicure and a professional salon mani.

A girl getting a manicure at a salon

(via Shutterstock)

Not sure which one is right for you? Scroll below and see what I've personally discovered about the two experiences.

Salon Gel Manicure

This whole experiment really began when I went into the nail salon for a gel manicure. Although gel is more expensive than a regular manicure, I've typically seen that the polish lasts a lot longer (something worth paying for)! I splurged.

This time around, I picked a polish I thought was suitable for fall, OPI's Can't Read Without My Lipstick. I was in and out of the salon within an hour, paid $25 plus tip and the result was pretty flawless. My only complaint was that the nail technician didn't fully paint the whole surface of my nails—she left a little space on the edges polish-free so that removing the gel would be easier. Here's what they looked like right after I left the salon: Brittney's gel manicure

As I mentioned, my favorite thing about gel is its durability. It's so nice that I can walk out of the salon 100% positive that my nails are dry and there's no possibility they're getting smudged.

The week following my manicure was full of activities that require use of my hands. I went camping, prepped food, typed on my laptop and visited the beach. They went through a decent amount of wear and tear.

Usually, my gel nails last at least two weeks, and by the end of the two weeks they're not chipped, they've just naturally grown out a bit.

This time was different—my nails were chipping and growing after only five days. Say, what? Yes, crazy. On day seven, my thumb nail's gel had completely peeled off. I was not happy. Here's a picture of the monstrosity:Gel manicure after a week

I tried to salvage this mani by painting my thumb nail with a color similar to OPI's, Sally Hansen's Xtreme Wear in Flirt.

After a couple of days, that peeled off, and I was ready to get my gel removed. Womp, womp.

Even though this particular gel experience wasn't my favorite, I still have both pros and cons for this type of manicure. Here's the verdict:


  • Drys quickly
  • Lasts longer (generally)
  • Looks gorgeous
  • Typically you get a massage with your mani


  • Costs money
  • Doesn't always last longer
  • You don't necessarily have the same color at home for touch-ups
  • Requires you to go back to the salon for the removal


And there you have it!


At-Home Manicure

Immediately following my gel's removal, I decided to try out painting my nails at home for free (my favorite word).

Sweety High just received Urban Decay's gorgeous new Naked nail collection and I was ready and eager to test out all eight of the colors.

So eager, that I tried out all eight of the hues at once. Here are the amazing colors, right after painting them:

Brittney's manicure used Urban Decay's new nail polish line

These super-pigmented shades went on so easily, and I had a feeling this particular brand would be long-lasting.

I continued on with my week, doing everything as normal (including spending eight plus hours a day typing on my computer). Over the course of a week, no single nail had polish completely chip off.

Here's what my manicure looked like after seven days:

Brittney's manicure used Urban Decay's new nail polish line

Pretty good, right? Especially considering I didn't even apply a protective top coat on these bad boys.

Although I'm not expecting this manicure to last much longer, at least I have the polish right at my disposal so I can make quick touch-ups whenever I want (without having to pay money for it). Here's my final verdict on my at-home mani:


  • It's totally free minus purchasing the nail color of your choice
  • It looks pretty good, especially if you're decent at painting nails
  • You can repair chipped nails easily and whenever you want
  • You can remove the polish easily


  • You don't get a full-serve manicure with cuticle cleanup and an awesome massage
  • It chips fairly quickly
  • It doesn't always look professional, especially if you're not very good at painting nails


The Final Ruling

After some consideration, I've personally concluded that I prefer an at-home mani over a salon gel mani. Why? Well, it truly boils down to cost.

It is nice to go into the salon and treat myself every once in a while, but in the long run, it's cheaper, easier and more effective to do it myself.

I'd rather invest my money in buying a whole bunch of polishes I can own and paint my nails different colors whenever I want. Simple as that!



Want to give an at-home mani a go? Check out THESE Instagram nail hacks that will help make the process so much easier.