How to Give Yourself a Manicure

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.

Step 1:
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,

Step 2:
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,

Step 3:
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,

Step 4:
Pick a polish! Using short strokes, start in the middle of the nail and work outward. To keep it uniform, try to get the same amount of polish on the brush for each finger. And don’t skimp: two coats are better than one. Try OPI’s huge selection of colors ($8,

Step 5:

Finish with a high-shine bang: “Cuticle oil should never be skipped, and should be your last step!” says Elle. “It’s an instant manicure in a bottle and it also helps dry nail polish while finishing your cuticles.” Her expert pick? Barielle’s Intensive Nail Renewal Oil ($12.50,

From my one of my favorite websites, Betty Confidential!

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