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Salon manicures can be expensive and time-consuming, but you don’t have to go to a salon to achieve professional manicure results. Home manicures are a great alternative, as long as you have the right tools and use the right techniques. Here are five tips for the perfect manicure.

Tools

Using the wrong tools can damage your nails and lead to infection. Coarse and metal nail files can cause your nails to split; choose a smooth emery board or crystal file for gentle filing. It’s also important to replace your emery boards and clean other tools, such as nail scissors or clippers, on a regular basis, as bacteria under your nails is easily transferred to your manicure tools.

Preparation

To prepare your hands and nails, remove any old nail polish and soak your hands for five minutes in warm soapy water. Use a soft nail brush to clean under the nails, then gently massage your fingertips and hands to increase blood flow and soften the skin. Use a smooth pumice stone or skin file to remove any calluses and patches of hard skin.

Cuticles

Cuticles help to protect your nails and prevent infection. Clipping cuticles or using hard tools to push them back can cause ridges along your nails and damage the nail bed. Massage olive oil or moisturizer into your cuticles to help soften them, then gently push each cuticle back using a soft implement, such as a pencil eraser. Don’t push your cuticles all the way back, as this leaves your nail open to infection.

Nails

When filing your nails, use smooth strokes and a side-to-side motion across the top of your nail. Avoid filing the sides, as this can weaken your nails. Once your nails are the right length and shape, smooth out any rough edges with a fine emery board and use a nail buffer to give your nails a professional finish.

Nail Polish

If you are using a dark nail polish, you need to apply a base coat first, as this will help prevent staining. If your nails are uneven, ridged or damaged, choose a nail polish with a metallic finish, as it will help to disguise nail problems. Apply nail polish in thin layers, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next one. Seal your nail polish by applying a top coat to prevent chipping and make your manicure last longer.

Home manicures are much cheaper than going to a salon, and the results can be just as good. Regular manicures can also help to protect your nails and prevent infection. Using the right tools is the key to a professional-looking manicure.

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