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Can Switching to DIY Manicures Save You S$100s per Year?

While it's common knowledge that home manicures are less expensive than salon alternatives, the amount you can potentially save may be far more than you'd expect.

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It's not especially surprising that skipping the salon and painting your nails at home can save you money. However, the sheer amount you might be able to save–well into the S$100s–is quite remarkable (and could be a great boost to your savings account). Here at ValueChampion, we've broken down the costs of both salon and DIY manicures to identify exactly how you can maximise your savings while still enjoying your weekly or monthly manicure.

1-Year of Salon Manicures Can Cost as Much as a Roundtrip Flight to Hong Kong

There are plenty of affordable salon manicure options in Singapore, especially if you're willing to settle for an express service. These variants, which include shaping and polishing but forgo extras like cuticle trimmings, tend to range from S$8–S$15. As a professional manicure lasts approximately 2 weeks, the final cost per month comes to a seemingly reasonable S$16–S$30.

This habit, however, becomes expensive in the long run. Given the estimated lifespan of a manicure, an avid spa-goer might get up to 26 manis per year–translating to up to S$390 in costs. To put this into perspective, you could potentially book a round trip flight to Hong Kong for this same amount.

Home Manicures Can Cost as Little as S$0.05 Each

Home manicures, on the other hand, can be incredibly cost effective. Bottles of nail polish are naturally multi-use and in themselves, can be less expensive than a single express manicure. In fact, mainstream bottles start at just S$2 each, ranging up to about S$20 at the higher end of the market. While a single DIY manicure lasts just 7–10 days on average, a standard 15ml (0.5oz) bottle can cover 35–40 manicures. Effectively, one home manicure could cost as little as S$0.05 (top coat excluded).

The approximate cost of one home manicure ranges from S$0.05 to S$0.50, far below the cost of one salon express manicure

Considering the product lifespan and the number of manicures per bottle, a consumer would need 3 bottles at most to last an entire year–2 colour polishes to last 52 weeks, plus 1 bottle of top coat. As a result, a customer who's happier with cheaper brands could spend just S$6 per year. Those seeking more expensive brands might spend about S$60. In either case, opting for home manicures over S$15 express salon services could save S$300+ per year.

Maximum possible savings–earned by a consumer switching from S$15 salon manicures to home manicures using S$2 polish–is equal to S$384 per year

Colour Variety is Still Possible & Cost-Effective at Home

Colour-curious individuals may have noticed that based on the analysis above, a consumer could enjoy 26 nail colours per year at a salon–or just 2 at home, if they're planning to achieve maximum savings. Actually, home manicures are still more cost-effective for those seeking variety, at least in the long run. It's undeniable that buying 26 colour bottles upfront would be expensive, ranging from S$52–S$520. However, as mentioned, each bottle covers up to 40 manicures, which adds up to 1,040 manis total. For an individual indulging in a weekly manicure, 26 colour bottles could last for up to 20 years. Dividing upfront costs by length of time results in annual costs of just S$2.60–S$26.

Value of Time is Determined by Preference

It's also worth considering time. It definitely takes time to perfect painting your nails, as opposed to having a professional paint them for you. Nonetheless, staying at home offers greater privacy and cuts out travel time and public transit expenses or petrol costs. Even still, individuals looking for a day of relaxation and pampering may be willing to spend extra for salon service.

It's Easy to Save, No Matter What You Choose

While DIY manicures offer inherent savings, it's possible to enjoy extra deals and discounts whether at the salon or at home, with the right rewards credit card. For example, some cards–like CIMB Visa Signature–offer up to 10% cashback at both salons and cosmetic stores. For those who prefer to purchase their nail polish online, shopping credit cards often offer miles for online spend as well as discounts with vendors like Watsons, Lazada and more. Regardless of whether you're planning to stick to the salon or paint your nails at home, it's worth considering additional ways to discount your health and beauty spending.

Carrie Arndt

Carrie is a Senior Analyst at ValueChampion, specialising in credit cards in Singapore. She previously led consumer studies worldwide as a Senior Research Executive at MMR Research.

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