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It’s lovely to be able to get a manicure every week or two–but if you’re as hard on your nails as I am, you may need to do your own polish changes between times, or it may not even be worth your time/money at all, and you’d be better off doing it on your own.

First, you’ll want to shape your nails by trimming and filing. We have great emery boards from Jessica and Paul & Joe Beaute($5 each).

After this, you may like to soak your hands in warm sudsy water. If necessary, apply cuticle softener and use cuticle nippers to trim off excess cuticle, or use a cuticle pusher to gently slide back the cuticle.

Dry your hands thoroughly and use an appropriate base coat. Jessica makes one for hard, brittle nails, another for soft nails, one for peeling nails, and another for “regular” nails ($12). Choose one that is appropriate and apply 1 or 2 coats.

Next, apply 2-3 coats of your choice of nail polish color. We have a variety of gorgeous hues from both Paul & Joe, $15 and Jessica, $6.

Wait about 5 to 10 minutes before applying your top coat for maximum shine. The top coat made by Jessica dries quickly and really extends the life of your manicure!

Since you’re no manicurist, you may need to use a pointed q-tip ($10 for a pack of 40 double-ended pointed swabs) dipped in nail polish remover to tidy up the job you’ve done.

Last, but not least, once you are SURE your polish is dry, apply Jessica Cuticle Cream ($5) or Phenomen Cuticle Oil ($6) and gently massage onto cuticles and nail beds.

I recommend doing this step last, because if done before polishing the nail, the oils in these products can actually prevent the polish from adhering as well to the nail which makes your manicure chip sooner.