10 At-Home Manicure Tips from the Crème de la Polish

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Polish designs, piercings, sandals, typing, life... we've been through a lot with our nails. After testing things out at home we thought, Who better to ask for heel-saving and cuticle-caring tips than the women who make the polishes we so adore? Here's the best nail advice you'll ever get.    

Words of Wisdom

Polish designs, piercings, sandals, typing, life... we've been through a lot with our nails. After testing things out at home we thought, Who better to ask for heel-saving and cuticle-caring tips than the women who make the polishes we so adore? Here's the best nail advice you'll ever get.    

For the Gal on the Go

"Use your lip balm as a cuticle cream when you are on the run to keep your nails looking great and keep your cuticles from drying out," said Priti NYC founder Kim D'Amato.

Oh, Baby

D'Amato adds, "A tip for extra soft feet is to apply a thick coat of diaper rash cream to feet"—yes, you read that right—"and then put them in thin plastic bags with socks over them... you'll wake up with the smoothest feet ever!" This adds new meaning to baby soft.    

Thin it Out

Remember what the pros said about never using polish remover to thin out gunked up nail polish? Lacquer thinner is what we're supposed to be using. Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, artistic director and co-founder of OPI, recommends adding a few drops, which will replace the solvents that have escaped over time due to "chemical evaporation". 

For a Clean Slate

Before you get started painting, "clean nails using a cotton ball and nail polish remover," said Weiss-Fischmann. She also recommends using an exfoliating product on cuticles, and "pushing back instead of cutting them."    

The Perfect 10

Manicurist Jin Soon says the best way to make your mani look like it was done by a pro is to have a good shape, so take your time “gradually filing your nail,” says Soon. 

For all the 1D Fans

OPI exec Weiss-Fischmann also recommends only filing the nails in one direction. This way you'll avoid damaging or splitting the nail.

A Longer-Lasting Mani

Deborah Lippmann says using a “high-quality top and base coat will significantly increase the length of the time your manicure lasts.” You can “extend the life of your mani-pedi by adding a very thin layer of top coat every third day.”

Just Right

You know when you get way too much polish on the brush and it winds up too thick on the nail? You can avoid this by removing the brush from the bottle “pulling it along the neck — this allows you to see the front of the brush and control how much lacquer is on it,” Lippmann says. 

Different Strokes

With the right amount of polish on the brush, start painting about a quarter inch away from the cuticle. “Begin to put pressure on the brush to allow the lacquer to flow to the cuticle,” says Lippmann, then brush in a straight line to the tip of the nail. Make three strokes total – one in the middle and one down each side, finishing by “gingerly brushing lacquer across the tip on the nail.”    

On to the Next One

When your manicure has run its course, remove the polish properly by saturating a cotton ball with nail polish remover. “Place the cotton on the nail and press down, covering the entire nail with cotton. Hold for five seconds and pull forward and off the tip of the nail,” says Lippmann. 

Et voila! The secrets to getting the perfect 10.