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DIY: The Perfect Manicure Every Time!

I don’t know about you, but I love my nails. They are brittle, short, and seem to snag everything – even when I swear I’ve just filed them smooth. They might be a fright, but I still love them. Because my nails have given me grief ever since I learned what nail polish was, I’ve also learned the best and quickest ways to buff them into shape! Literally.

These are the things I use in the order that I use them! Get ready. It looks like a lot, but the prepping really only takes about 10 minutes. Don’t be discouraged! I believe in you.

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Non-acetone nail polish remover & cotton balls

Why non-acetone? Polish remover made of acetone dries out my nails and fingers more than anything. It makes everything dry and sometimes crack (especially in the winter) so anything I can do to keep moisture locked into my hands is an extra step I’m willing to take. You may have to pick this up at a beauty supply store, but your local chain store may have it, too.

Remove any old nail polish from your nails and cuticles. Even if you’re positive you haven’t painted your nails in weeks, do a quick once-over with the polish remover. Sometimes an old base coat will be lurking on the sides of your nails. You’d be surprised how many times I think I’m clean and the cotton ball comes off with a bright streak of gold polish.

I use cotton balls instead of Q-Tips or paper towels because they last longer. They hold more polish remover and I can usually take off all of my polish with just two cotton balls.

Glass nail file

You heard me! A nail file made of glass. This product is so much more accurate and easy than an emery board. It never splits or snags the rough edges of my nails, and makes for a smoother, cleaner shape. Use it for yourself. It helps so much when every millimeter of nail counts!

Shape your nails until you like the way they look together.

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Buffing block

What does this do, and why do I need it? To get my nail polish to adhere better to my nails is one thing, but it also helps to remove that dingy yellow tint that shows up on my nails after I’ve worn a lot of dark nail polish. Even though I wear a base coat, it just happens. A buffing block will get your nail polish-ready!

 

Sugar scrub

Get your hands baby soft with a soak and a scrub! Soak your hands in warm water for 3 minutes. Just long enough for your skin to soften up, but not too long that your fingers become wrinkled. Next, apply a gently sugar scrub to take away any dead skin cells and to soften up your cuticles. If you don’t have a sugar scrub, you just just mix a spoonful of sugar with a bit of olive or baby oil. Gently massage away on your hands and rinse them off in warm water.

Cuticle oil

Immediately after you’ve finished your sugar scrub, apply cuticle oil around your cuticles. Once they are soft and pliable, push them back with your fingers or a cuticle stick. I usually just use my fingernails to push them back (I know, that’s not the right way) because I don’t use the stick for anything else.

Thick lotion or cream

By now, your skin should be soft and ready for moisturizer! Apply cream to your hands and massage them until the lotion is absorbed. Once it’s been absorbed into your skin, take a cotton ball dabbed in your polish remover and take off any lotion that has gotten onto your nails. You’ll want your nail bed free from any lotion or any leftover cuticle oil. This way, your polish will stick more easily and for longer.

Nail polish (base coat, color, top coat)

If you don’t have a separate base coat and top coat, you can get away with using a bottle of clear polish for both. I find that my nail polish lasts longer when I use specific base coats and top coats, but if I’m in a rush or traveling, I can make do for a day or two with just a bottle of clear polish.

Apply one thin coat of your base coat or clear polish. This will help your nails not to turn yellow, and create a smooth canvas for your colored polish.

Once your base coast is dry, add your first layer of polish. Let that dry completely before adding your second coat. You can then apply a thin layer of top coat. This is great and important because it will hide any flaws like nicks or bubbles. It just fills them in!

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Relax

Chill. You need to wait a long while for everything to dry completely before you go around touching things! Plan to do your nails after doing the dishes, taking a shower, walking the dogs, or basically anything that requires your hands. Sit down and watch your favorite tv show or call your mom (she’ll like that). Just don’t mess up your perfect manicure!

Enjoy your beautiful nails!

Images from here, here, here, and here.

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