The At-Home Manicure

Are your nails doing your engagement ring justice? Whip them into shape with a do-it-yourself manicure.
by The Knot

Feeling more conscious of your hands now that there's a certain sparkly something on the fourth finger? Relax -- at-home manicures can be relatively easy, provided you have the right tools. They can be fun, too -- especially if you enlist the help of a friend. Have her polish your talons; when they dry, you can paint hers. Here's everything you need to know.

Remove her old polish with nail polish remover and cotton, then have her wash her hands with soapy water and dry with a soft towel.

Use clippers and a nail file to shape nails. When you file, don't saw back and forth -- it can weaken nails. Instead, start at one edge and move across the top in one fluid motion.

Fill a bowl with warm water and add a touch of dishwashing liquid -- or a special nail cream. Have her soak her hands in it for at least five minutes.

Dry her hands with a clean towel, then place a paper towel on your table and rest them on top of it.

Dot each of her nails with cuticle cream and rub it in.

Cuticle cutting is a no-no -- it can lead to infection. Instead, use a cuticle stick to gently push back cuticles.

When you're finished, rinse her hands in the warm soapy water and pat dry, then apply a moisturizing hand cream. Let it absorb for about five minutes before wiping away the excess. Then swipe each nail with a cotton ball soaked in polish remover to get rid of cream on the nail so polish can adhere.

Apply a base coat to each nail and let it dry for at least two minutes.

Then paint two coats of nail color, waiting one full minute between coats. You should be able to cover each nail with three strokes -- one on each side, one down the middle. If you get polish on the skin, don't worry; just wait until everything is dry and use a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover to remove the excess.

When the polish has dried, apply a top coat.

And remember: the longer your friend lets those gorgeous nails dry, the less likely they'll smudge. So kick back and relax -- in about ten minutes, it'll be your turn!

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