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8 Common Mistakes that Mess Up Your Manicure

There are plenty of good reasons to do your own nails. Not only can it save you time and money, but with a diy mani, you can get exactly the color and look you want. If you’re artsy, nails provide a great way to express yourself with original eye-catching designs. With care and patience, your mani can look like a salon job if you avoid certain bad practices.

To get a professional-looking mani at home, be gentle with your nails and avoid these eight errors!


  1. No Nail Prep: Granted there are some things in life you can do on the fly, but painting your nails is not one of them. Set aside a block of time when you won’t be interrupted. Start with clean dry nails, gently filed and shaped. Dirty nails will not hold polish, and it’s just not hygienic!
  2. Neglecting your Cuticles: Cuticles protect and nurture new nail growth, and they tend to creep onto the nail bed. Pushing with hard tools or clipping with scissors is harsh, and may created ridges. Plus cuts are vulnerable to infection. Gently push cuticles back with a towel each time you bathe, and slather on the cuticle cream or oil!
  3. Old Products: Most of us have a beloved shade of polish stashed in a drawer that dates back a few years, just in case. However, old products tend to lose their integrity, resulting in premature chipping and peeling. Ditch your old products and splurge on brand new base, top and color.
  4. Picky Eater: Picking and nibbling at your nails and cuticles is a sure way to sabotage your mani. Biting off chipped peeling polish is even worse, because it strips your nails of their topmost layer and sets them up for brittleness and breakage.
  5. Skipping the Base Coat: A good base coat puts a protective layer between your nail bed and color. Also, your color will adhere better to a base coat, for a longer-lasting manicure.
  6. Laying it On Thick: Most polish appears sheer when you apply a thin coat. Don’t make the mistake of laying it on thick to get opaque color. Use two or three thin coats, and let each dry between layers for a prettier finish that doesn’t nick or smudge.
  7. Nail Abuse: If you use your nails to remove staples, pop open cans and rip apart packaging, shame on you! Don’t abuse those delicate digits—there are tools for that, and they do a better job!
  8. No Protective Top Coat: A top coat seals the deal, protecting your color and giving your mani a professional shine. Skipping this important step will result in chipped and peeling polish at the first contact with a hard surface.

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