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DIY Manicure: Paint Your Nails Like a Pro

Doing your own nails is cheaper, safer, and less time-consuming than going to a salon. Here are our tips for DIY-ing a professional manicure at home.

Doing your own nails is cheaper, safer, and less time-consuming than going to a salon — but it's also easier to mess up. Here are our tips for getting a professional manicure at home.


By Mary Clarke, Good Housekeeping

I like to do my own nails because it saves money and gives me something to do in front of the TV. My friends always ask me how I get my manicure to look so professional. Here's what I tell them.


1. 

Don't pile it on too thick.

Apply thin layers of nail polish and spread them out. That way, you'll make sure it doesn't cake or smudge.


2.

Wait between coats.

I first apply a base coat and then a very thin first coat of polish. I make sure this initial coat is completely dry before doing the second one — if I don't, the second coat takes forever to dry and tends to smudge. For the same reason, I take a long break between the second and top coats.



3. 

Toss your old polish.

Make sure to use a polish that's still fresh. The consistency should be thin and easy to spread on the nail. If it's at all goopy, stop what you're doing and chuck the bottle. It's not worth it.



4. 

Keep a "quick dry" top coat handy — both at work and at home.

About two days after I do my manicure, I apply another top coat to protect the polish and refresh the shine. I also have a bottle right next to me at work, and on days I need a polish refresher, I take a few seconds to swipe it on. Since it's "rapid dry", after a few minutes of typing, the new coat is dry to the touch.



5. 

Clip off the excess.

After a few days of wearing one polish, I carefully clip the very end of my nails to get rid of that thin white line you inevitably get at the edge of the nail. Usually this trick eliminates any part of the nail that might have chipping, and when combined with a fresh top coat, I have a manicure that looks brand-spanking new.


6. 

Wear gloves.

I protect my nails by wearing gloves when I'm washing the dishes, removing labels, and doing other nail-unfriendly things.


7. 

Remember: Practice makes perfect.

It might take a little while to develop a really steady hand. I make sure, especially when I'm painting my right (dominant) hand, that I have a steady surface, and I always do it extra-slowly.

See more at: Good Housekeeping

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Women's Magazine: DIY Manicure: Paint Your Nails Like a Pro
DIY Manicure: Paint Your Nails Like a Pro
Doing your own nails is cheaper, safer, and less time-consuming than going to a salon. Here are our tips for DIY-ing a professional manicure at home.
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