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19 Charts That Totally Explain How To Give Yourself A Manicure

If your DIY mani looks like a 2-year-old did it...

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1. Get the right tools.

Your tool kit should include a metal foot file, buffer, metal cuticle pusher, nail polish remover, cream, buffing block, metal toenail clipper, metal nail clipper, metal nail file, cuticle scissors, cotton bud (preferably pointed), and cotton pads. For more info, go here.


11. There are actually a ton of dotting options you should know about.

Anything with a point (like the ends of paintbrushes, pins, bobby pins, ballpoint pens, floss picks, pencils, and pushpins) can become a dotting tool. Dip the tip in nail polish and press it to a piece of aluminum foil (or any other nonabsorbent material) to see what kind of dot it creates.

14. Blow through a straw to create splatter paint nails...

Cut the straw in half (shorter means more control), dip the bottom in nail polish, and blow it (do not by any means inhale it!) onto your nails. Keep the rest of your fingers clean by covering them with tape before splattering. Get more info here.


16. Draw designs with a metallic permanent marker.

You'll have more control over the design, and if you make a mistake, a little rubbing alcohol can give you a clean slate. But be sure to only use permanent marker on nails that already have polish on them (not directly on bare nails!).

17. Create an ombre look with a sponge.

Pour a dime-sized amount of two colors onto a piece of plastic wrap. Use a toothpick to blend the two colors together in the middle. Dip a sponge onto the polish and place on the nail, wiggling back and forth a little. Let dry.

18. Apply a petroleum-based ointment around the nails BEFORE you start painting for easy clean-up.

But be very careful to not get any ointment on the nail before painting or else it will prevent the polish from sticking.