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Get your finger tips camera-ready yourself with these expert-approved tips for a lasting, smudge-free DIY manicure.
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The Right Cut
Snipping nails with scissors results in a Picasso amount of crazy angles. Instead, make one linear cut, says Beth Fricke, a manicurist in Los Angeles. Try Denco Straight Cut Toenail Clipper (drugstore.com).
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Enlist a 220 grit file to smooth the sides, always in the same direction. We like Tweezerman Premium Emery Board.
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Exfoliate Dead Skin
Never cut cuticles—you're practically asking for an infection! Rather, dab on Be Natural Cuticle Eliminator to exfoliate dead skin safely (sallybeauty.com).
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Lift polish and debris with Zoya's Remove Plus, a fave of Sue Nam, a manicurist in New York City. It's mild but doesn't contain aloe, which can affect polish adhesion.
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An orangewood stick wrapped with cotton and dipped in alcohol is an always-sanitized tool for gently nudging cuticles and removing wayward lacquer.
Swipe here for next slide
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Slice cubes off of All Season's Fine Grit Yellow Finishing Block to buff every time with a clean, never-dull surface (sallybeauty.com).
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Pump Up the Base
Protect with Essie Sensitivity Base Coat before your color (available at salons).
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Top it Off
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Flash-dry by dripping OPI Avoplex Nail & Cuticle Replenishing Oil onto wet enamel.
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3 Quick Fixes
Know how to handle these little imperfections if they pop up:
Peeling and Weakness: Genetics, water exposure, and low-protein diets can make nails wimpy. Wear gloves when doing dishes and eat a well-rounded diet to fill nutritional gaps.
Ragged Edges: Nipping the cuticle can permanently damage the matrix (where the nail grows from). Just push instead. Hangnail? Snip it, then swab on alcohol and ointment.
Discoloration: A hit to your matrix shows up as harmless white dots, while dyes in dark polish and selftanner yellow nails. Sweep nails with remover after a faux-glow.