How to Give Yourself a Manicure
Top off your tips with a pretty polish — at home! — in 5 easy steps.
Even if you’re not looking to save a little cash (lucky you!), every girl should master the art of the at-home manicure. Perfecting your polishing skills is easier than you think. Our expert shows you how to get the ultimate must-have mani in just 5 fast steps.
Start with clean, dry, paint-free nails. Your first step is to file and shape your tips. Pick your shape: square, round, oval, or pointed (Hint: Oval is the universally flattering shape). Elle, a celebrity manicurist for Barielle Skincare – who’s worked on the nails of Angelina Jolie, Blake Lively, Cameron Diaz and Eva Mendes among others – recommends using a glass nail file, and to always file nails in one direction using short, smooth strokes. “This keeps split nails at bay,” she says. We love Sephora’s budget-friendly file ($8, sephora.com).
Soak your hands in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes to soften up your cuticles and then gently push them back with a cuticle pusher or orangewood stick. Never cut your cuticles. This is a guaranteed trick for ragged edges or worse – a bad infection. Not pretty. Try this double-sided cuticle pusher ($12, ulta.com)
It’s time to lay down your base coat. Even if you skip the top coat, never ditch your base. It gives polish something to grab onto. Added bonus: many newer formulas do double duty and can nourish your nails while helping prevent chips and peeling polish. Try Sally Hanson’s Double Duty Strengthening Base Coat ($4.49, walgreens.com).