Personal Finance

Can Switching to DIY Manicures Save you £££'s Each Year?

While most people know that DIY home manicures are far less expensive than having your nails done in the salon, the amount you can save is more than you might realise—even enough for return business flights from London to New York!

When it comes to personal grooming, there is no simpler way to feel polished and professional than painting your nails. Whether you prefer a sleek french manicure, something long lasting for your holiday or even if you want to try out some fun nail art you found on Pintrest—nails are an everlasting source of inspiration, no matter what your personal style might be.

The average cost of a salon manicure is £30, but ranges from £12 for a simple file and polish up to £65 for gel nails including extensions. Given the short lifespan of a manicure because our nails are ever growing, this can add up to quite a lot. This is especially the case if your polish becomes chipped so needs redoing.

Average Cost of Salon Manicures
Simple file and polish£12
Gel nails including extensions£65
Average cost of salon manicure£30

On average, a manicure will last between 7 and 10 days, depending on the type of polish used and if a topcoat has been applied.

A years’ worth of salon manicures or return business class flights from London to New York?

Going on the average price of £30 for a salon manicure lasting 10 days, this would cost £1,095 if you had this maintained all year round. That's the same cost as you can find return business class flights from London Heathrow to New York. Not including your pre-holiday manicure, of course!

That yearly figure does not include extras such as polish removal, additional nail art or tipping your beautician at the end of your treatment. If you choose shellac or gel polishes, these will also need to be professionally removed too, incurring additional time and cost.

Home manicures can cost as little as 29p each

In contrast, by doing your manicures at home you can shop around to get the best deals. You can find excellent brands of nail polish on the high street starting at just £2.99, with additional frequent 3 for 2 offers. If you crave something a little more high end, expect to pay upwards of £22 for a beauty brand nail polish in a department store. This excludes topcoats and other manicure accessories, however with an average of 10 manicures per bottle this still works out far cheaper than paying for a professional manicure.

In context, by doing your own at-home manicure with a budget nail polish you could save £29.70 every time you paint your nails.

Approximate Cost per DIY Manicure
Low end nail polish, per bottle£2.99
High end nail polish, per bottle£22
Number of manicures per bottle10
Low end cost per DIY manicure30p
High end cost per DIY manicure£2.20

Note: Manicures per bottle goes on blogger reviews and demos where a 10ml bottle of nail polish was tested to see how many manicures this could provide, using 2 coats per time. Nail length could extend or reduce this number.

Annual Cost of DIY and Salon Manicures

By doing your nails at home instead of going to the salon you could save £1,068 with budget drugstore manicures or £898 if you choose designer high end nail polishes and apply them at home.

Looking at the product lifespan and the number of manicures per bottle, a consumer painting their names at home would need just under 6 bottles to last an entire year. Including a topcoat from the same range with one coat applied per manicure (9 bottles total), this would come to a total cost per year of £26.91 for low end DIY manicures, and £198 for premium DIY manicures—around £1,000 less than having your nails done in the salon.

Beauty salon vs DIY manicure yearly costs
Units9 bottles/37 manicures
Cost per unit (budget)£2.99
Cost per unit (high end)£30
Total cost: DIY£26.91 - £198
Total cost: Beauty salon£1,095
DIY Savings£898 - £1,068

Beauty Salon

Pros: In a beauty salon, the manicure is done by a professional so quite literally, you don't have to lift a finger! There are also lots of different coloured polishes to choose from, and any technical nail art can be done much more easily than trying it yourself.

Cons: You have to take the time to schedule an appointment, which might not be convenient depending on availability. As well as the cost of the manicure, you also have to think about cost of petrol or public transport to get to your appointment. It also takes much more time to schedule, travel to and from your appointment and sit through the appointment itself than it would to do your nails at home.


Pros: The cost of the manicure does not include salon rent, wages and other overheads the price of would normally cover. A manicure at home can be done very quickly and easily, without leaving the house! You can also paint your nails very last minute, so no waiting on an appointment when you need a manicure ASAP. It's also more hygienic as your nail polishes are just used on you, and not other customers.

Cons: Doing your own manicure might not be as professional looking as it would if you had it done in a salon, depending on your skills. It can also be really tricky to do elaborate nail art or gel extensions on yourself. It's also more costly to have to buy a wide range of colours which would be freely available in a nail salon.


Whether you choose to get a manicure done in a beauty salon or do it at home, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. However, if it's money you are looking to save, you can't go wrong by buying polishes yourself and performing your own manicure at home. Plus, you can look up YouTube tutorials for free to learn how to do nail art and other techniques you'd also have to pay a premium for.

Doing your own DIY at home manicures is a lot easier to maintain long term as it takes the money, time and effort out of paying a professional do them. Plus, if you paint your nails well enough and add a nice glossy topcoat—nobody would even be able to tell the difference!

Saving money through DIY manicures applies to men who are well groomed and want to save money, as well! However manicures for men are typically cheaper, costing around £16.50, so there's less potential for big savings if you do the work yourself.


Our team of writers has expertise in business, car, travel, home and pet insurance as well as personal finance issues.


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