I always do my own manicures. I occasionally will go out for a big event or what not but for the most part I own a million nail polishes so I alway feel guilty spending more. Most of the time I do not do such an in depth routine but every once in awhile my nails look like they need a little extra lovin' and that's when I bring out all the tools. My favorite tool is simply the nail clipper. I have my trusty Tweezerman nail clipper. I don't really like to file down my nails ever.
If my nails are looking a bit bumpy, I smooth it down this my nail buffer. I've had this for so long I dont remember where I got it from. I know Sephora does a really good Nail Buffer Block and when mine finally dies, I will check that one out. This one has a rough side to help buff and smooth down the nail surface. Then the other side helps give shine. For my cuticles, I still don't know if it's good to push it back or not but I do like a very clean looking manicure. I use the Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover to help soften the skin and then use my Trim Cuticle Remover to help push back the cuticle. Now comes in my most recent purchase: the Sally Hansen Nip 'Em On the Go Take Along Cuticle Nipper (woah long name). I have always wanted one of these because now I can finally achieve a smooth clean nail that is prepped for easy nail polish application.
So those are the tools I use to prep for my manicures!