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The Lazy Girl’s Guide to a D.I.Y. Manicure

Gorgeous nails at a fraction of the cost!


Jilly and Sally are New York-based sisters and style bloggers who share their personal style, beauty tips, and peeks into their lives on their blog, Sorelle in Style. You can find them at @sorelleinstyle on Twitter and Instagram.

We’ve been getting manicures at the salon for years, but because of our hectic schedules (and our fears of the dreaded post-manicure polish chip!) we decided to try our hand at mastering the perfect at-home mani! Here are our tips to help you get salon-quality results at home.

What You'll Need

What you’ll need: Your favorite polish, a base & top coat (we used Chanel polish in Bel-Argus, Deborah Lippmann “Fast Girls” Base Coat, Deborah Lippmann “Fast Girls” Top Coat), orangewood sticks, a nail file, a nail buffer, hand soap, a small bowl, warm water, hand cream, nail polish remover, cotton pads, and a nail clipper.

Step 1: Clip your nails to a desired length if needed, then file and buff your nails.

Step 2: In a small bowl filled with warm water and a squirt of gentle hand soap (nothing antibacterial, it’s too harsh on hands), soak your nails for a few minutes to soften your cuticles.

Step 3: Remove hands from water and use your orangewood stick to gently press your cuticles back while your cuticles are still soft. Then take your favorite hand cream and massage it onto your hands.

Step 4: Take a cotton pad with a little polish remover and rub each nail to create a clean slate for your manicure.

Step 5

Step 5: Carefully apply a thin coat of base coat to your nails.

Step 6

Step 6: Let the base coat dry for about a minute, then apply your first, thin coat of nail polish. The trick is to do three brush strokes per nail: start with one line straight down the middle of the nail, getting as close to the base of the nail as possible (try your best not to touch the cuticle with the nail polish), then slowly polish each side. The important thing is to go slow and take your time. If any polish gets on your skin, do not touch it, we will get this off afterwards.

After this first coat, the nails do not have to look perfect—the polish should not be fully opaque. Try to keep it in the lines, but make sure that the first coat is not too thick.

Step 7: For the second coat, use the same technique as the first coat of polish—paint the nails in three sections. This coat should be thin as well, but if you aren’t using a sheer polish, the nails should be fully opaque after the second coat. If the polish is not opaque, do one more thin coat if you feel this is necessary.

Step 8: Apply a thin layer of your top coat on the nail, making sure to get across the tip of the nail as well. The top coat will act as both a top coat to the nails and as a polish remover for any color that got on your skin or wherever polish is not desired.

Step 9

Step 9: Wherever you got polish on the skin, completely cover the area with the top coat. Using the tip of orangewood stick, lightly press and drag the stick towards the tip of your finger, and voilà, your nails should be all cleaned up and finished!

Make sure you let your nails air dry for a good 30 minutes before doing anything that could possibly cause a smudge!

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