Get your essential tools ready:
Trim your fingernails with nail clippers (unless you prefer to keep your length). When cutting your nails, never start in the middle. Begin on the side and work your way across so you don't split the nail. If you have long nails, it's especially important to start your at-home mani with a pair of nail clippers, rather than try to file down an excessive amount of growth.
After you've filed, it's time to buff the nails in order to create a smooth. To buff your nails, you'll need to glide a nail buffer across each nail for a few seconds, moving back and forth until you can feel (and see) that the nail is smooth.
Rub in cuticle oil directly on your cuticle using your fingertips, and softly but firmly push back the cuticle to reveal the nail plate. This helps the nail look more elongated.
After you've applied oil and gently pushed back your cuticles, it's time to wash off the oil. This is the part of the in-salon manicure where your manicurist may ask you to go to the sink and scrub your nails with a nail brush and a bit of sudsy water. Do the same when you're at home because oil on the nail plate is the biggest cause of chipping!
Rest your hand on a table to keep it steady – begin with a thin layer of base coat polish. This will help ensure a more even color application, and it also prevents the polish from staining your nails. Let the base coat dry before moving onto the next step.
It’s time to start painting! When applying color, start in the middle of the nail bed and work your way to the sides in thin, even layers and paint the tip of the nail as it helps seal the color. Always apply two coats of color (minimum), waiting several minutes between each coat to prevent dents and bubbles.
Finally, you'll want to apply a quality topcoat polish. This will help seal your color, make it shine, and prevent it from chipping. Re-apply your top coat every two to three days to prevent chipping and to help keep your mani looking fresh. Don’t forget to keep hydrating your hands throughout the day to ensure that your manicure stays fresh and your cuticles healthy!