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Perfectly polished every time: The correct way to paint your own nails


By Redzhanna Jazmin

Perfectly polished every time: The correct way to paint your own nails

We’ll level with you: Not everyone was born to be an artist. Perhaps, as a kid, you simply couldn’t colour within the lines nor keep a steady hand, and that same trouble has gone on to infiltrate every part of your adulthood. Now, as nail salons remain shut in accordance with the MCO 2.0, you again find yourself sat down for the third hour, desperately trying to make your DIY manicure look halfway presentable.

It’s the same foils every single time—either your hand slips and you’ve flooded your nail bed, or your efforts to make use of the fine motor skills in your non-dominant hand have proved unsuccessful. Either way, you have a problem that needs solving, and we have the solution.

Ahead, find our step-by-step guide for the perfect basic manicure:

Step 1: Remove any old polish and wash your hands thoroughly


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If you’re the type to cut corners and paint over old polish, this is a sign to stop doing that. It’s 2021: We’re doing better this year. An even, polish-free nail is the first step to a perfect, sleek manicure.

Step 2: Cut and file your nails into your desired shape


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The way you decide to shape your nails all comes down to personal preference, so we won’t get into the specifics. All we will say is: Take care when you’re filing—only file in one direction, so as not to cause micro-fraying at the tip of your nail. Why? These micro-tears may cause your nail to split down the line (ouch!).

Step 3: Deal with your cuticles


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Get some cuticle oil, massage it into the base of your nail and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, take a cuticle pusher (orangewood preferred) and push back your cuticles. This will create a nice, lengthened base for your polish to go over.

If your cuticles are more unkempt than you’d like, use a cuticle remover to get rid of the excess bulk. Just keep in mind that cuticle removers can be quite harsh, and over time—with excess use—they may weaken the nail. However, as long as you’re keeping its use to a minimum, you’re in safe territory.

NOTE: Do not, by any means, cut your cuticle. You can find a more in-depth explanation as to why here (plus a complete guide to cuticle care), but for the TL;DR version, just take our word for it.

Step 4: Wash your hands (again) and swipe your nail with a little alcohol


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