20 Next-Level Manicure Tricks

I don't know about you, but I'm obsessed with my nails. I constantly scour the drugstore aisles for those new Essie shades and usually end up buying way more than I intend to.

There are worse things to spend money on, right?

I used to be that girl who bit, picked, and painted over her polish without removing it first. But when I realized the toll this behavior was taking on my nail health, I became way more invested in primping my nails properly.

Are you looking to leave behind those bad nail habits, too? Read on for 20 great tips on how to step up your at-home manicure game.

1. Remove Old Polish

Dusan Jankovic | Shutterstock

This may seem painfully obvious, but there's nothing worse for your nails than layering over old shades. Try using a non-acetone remover to limit the damage.

2. Attack Glitter

Instagram | @niushao

A nail enthusiast's biggest adversary is, without a doubt, glitter nail polish. Remove those stubborn sparkles by placing cotton pads soaked in nail polish remover over your nails, then wrap them in tinfoil for five minutes.

3. Soak Away Stains

Instagram | @favroommatenail

Dark polish looks amazing, but the aftermath is generally stained nails and skin. Whiten your nails by soaking them in a mixture of hot water, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda.

4. Use Your Clippers!

Instagram | @shikimeke

Filing your nails can be addictive, but resist the urge to over-file. Excessive filing weakens nails, so it's best to use clippers beforehand.

5. Choose A Gentler File

Instagram | @wickedbeauty

Glass and metal nail files have a tendency to look luxurious. But they're not a great idea for many nail types. Consider choosing a more gentle file to avoid the brittle effect.

6. Eliminate Those Cuticles 

Instagram | @turquoisesplash

Overbearing cuticles can threaten any great manicure, and every beauty buff should invest in a good cuticle remover. These genius little potions loosen and remove dry, dead skin around the cuticle so your nail stays healthy and clean. Apply and use a cuticle pusher to gently push the skin back. Taking care of little details will put your look over the top!

7. Repair Breaks

Youtube | cutepolish

Fight the urge to rip off large chunks of broken nail by investing in a good nail glue. We all know that breaking a well-shaped nail is the worst — they take so long to grow out. Save yourself a ton of time and stress trying to regrow your nails after all that hard work!

8. Use liquid latex to avoid imperfections

YouTube | cutepolish

This stuff is perfect if you have shaky hands or your painting your non-dominant hand. Apply it as close to your nail bed as possible for manicure that looks like it was done by the pros.

9. Exfoliate

Instagram | @salonbeauty020

Remove dead skin on hands and around nails by slapping on a great exfoliating scrub! It's one of those little things that will make your mani look even better. Bonus: your hands will feel super luxurious and smooth all the time!

10. Moisturize! 

Instagram | @cunninghamlaura

You already know how important it is to moisturize our bodies. Your nails are no exception, so slather on some lotion. Your hands will look and feel so much nicer. You can thank me later.

11. Spritz

Instagram | @kimpr0vements

Add some rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle and give your nails a little spritz before applying your base coat, polish, and topcoat. This step will remove any oils left on nails from moisturizing and help your colorful coat last longer.

12. Use A Base Coat

Instagram | @bahderya

Although many of us skip this step, applying a base coat is crucial to protect your nails from stains and chemical-heavy polishes. You'll have healthier nails and a more even coat. Best of all? Your nail polish will last way longer! You can even find base coats that help strengthen and harden your nails.

13. Get Nail Polish Thinner

Instagram | @polishedbyemma

Not ready to let go of a great shade, even though it's become thick and chunky? Add in nail polish thinner — not remover — to prolong your favorite polish's life. No need to trash your stash when you've got this one up your sleeve. We've all got an old favorite that could use this treatment, right?

14. Paint A Double Coat

Instagram | @cosabellamiami

Your nails may appear to be flawless after just one coat. However, applying two thin coats instead of a single thick coat will not only ensure an even look past the drying period but will ensure that the color looks as rich and bright on your nails as it does in the bottle! Trust me, the difference is huge.

15. Erase Imperfections

Makeup and Beauty Blog | Makeup and Beauty Blog

Make a messy mistake with your polish? Don't sweat it! Simply dip a fine paintbrush into nail polish remover and paint over any problem areas along the edge of the nail. Your manicure will look more professional and you won't have to redo anything!

16. Change Your Shape

Instagram | @spookynerdyprincess

Round, square, almond, coffin, stiletto — why not file your nails into a shape you've never tried before? This can make a huge difference in how your nails look and feel while still letting you stick to your favorite colors!

17. Protect With A Top Coat

Instagram | @nailsbykel_

Top coats protect nails from chips and scratches. Consider trying a matte top coat for a fresh look! Save yourself from redoing your nails all the time by adding this quick extra step.

18. Quick Dry 

Delia Creates | Delia Creates

It can sometimes be downright impossible to sit still long enough for our polish to dry. Just dip your pointers in a bowl of ice water for about a minute to achieve a quick drying time! I don't know about you, but I'm always smudging my nails right after doing them — I should remember to ice them more often.

19. Touch Up

Glamour | Glamour

To prolong the life of your manicure, it's best to touch up your polish every day or two. Applying one even layer tends to look better than just targeting chipped areas.

20. Don't Pick! 

Instagram | @beauty.by.katie.stewart

I used to be extremely guilty of this nasty habit. Picking at your polish not only leaves a mess but also causes damage to your nailbeds, and picking at dry cuticles could result in a nasty infection and painful sore spots. Try to remove your polish and tidy your cuticles before you get that picking urge!

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