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Better DIY manis

Gorgeous nails that you’ve done all by yourself? Yes, it is possible. Try these tips from Sally Hansen nail expert Dana Caruso to complete a manicure so great, people will swear you went to the nail bar.

DIY manicure

We love the ritual of going to get our nails done, but sometimes we just don’t have the time or money to get there, and we wish we could do a better job on our own. For insider tips on how to get great DIY mani results, we checked in with Sally Hansen nail expert Dana Caruso.

Paint your nails in a horizontal direction

If your brush stroke is a little sloppy, Caruso offers this advice: Sit in a comfortable position in a chair that’s not restrictive in any way, with your products in front of you on a towel or a few paper towels on a table. Then rest your hand directly in front of you so that your nails are horizontal to you. “Painting verticle lines can be harder, and positioning your hand and nails in this way allows your shoulder to stay steady,” she says. And while three strokes of polish is recommended, you can go easy on your first coat. “It’s the second coat where you perfect your application.”

Keep your nails and cuticles well moisturized

To prevent your nails from breaking, you need to balance the moisture in them. “The polish will wear better, as they’ll have more flexibility,” says Caruso. Her number one tip? “Use cuticle oil as much as you can.”

Snip only loose bits of your cuticles

If you snip too much and bleed or get redness, pay extra attention to the area, says Caruso. Wash the area and apply an antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection. Once it’s healed, you can start applying cuticle oil again to keep the area hydrated.

Try an almond-shaped nail

One of the hottest nail shapes right now is an almond shape. “And this look can be worn at different lengths — shorter even if you don’t have a long nail bed, or you can exaggerate it if you have a long nail bed,” says Caruso.

Soak your nails only if you need to do more work on your cuticles

Soaking your nails depends on the condition of your cuticles, according to Caruso, who says soaking is a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to manicures. “If your skin is dry, soaking your nails can help soften skin and make spare bits of skin and cuticle easier to remove,” she says. “But your nails absorb water and swell, and if you apply polish, hours later, once your nails dry out, this can cause your polish to chip.”

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