How to Paint Your Own Nails Without Making a Mess


Whether you’re trying to save money or you’re still iffy on going to the salon, there’s never a bad time to master doing your own manicure at home. Not only is there a real satisfaction to painting your own nails (and saving a little cash) but it can also have therapeutic benefits. Plus, the whole not-leaving-the-house thing is very appealing, without factoring in health and safety concerns. But even if you’ve become devoted to DIY manicures over the past two years, it can be hard to get the same results at home that you’re used to at the salon. 

Between chipping, warping, glops, bubbles, and smudging, there’s a lot that can go wrong with a DIY mani. Zipping up your pants, changing the channel, or answering a text suddenly becomes a life or death situation—and don’t even get us started on the risk of getting nail polish all over your couch. From prepping your nails to choosing the right shade, there’s plenty of room for error. The stakes are even higher if you’re attempting something fancy like a gel manicure, experimenting with fun nail art, or learning how to do a French manicure (here’s our guide, by the way).

But it’s not impossible to get Insta-worthy nails by yourself; in fact it’s pretty simple to figure out how to do a manicure at home. A little practice, patience, and the right nail tools will take you far. To help ease your DIY worries, we had celebrity manicurists spill their best self-manicuring nail tips for how to paint your nails like a pro. Turns out, it’s easier than we thought. All it takes is 10 simple steps. Follow along for a mani so good you’ll have people asking where you got your nails done. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us. 

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