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Manicures at home

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Well-groomed nails are important nothing kills your look more than bitten-down nails and ragged cuticles. A proper manicure keeps you looking polished. But unless you're a lady who lunches or one of those kids from Laguna Beach, you probably don't have the time or budget for weekly manicures.

So here's your step-by-step guide to home manicures:

1. Remove all traces of nail polish.

2. Clip nails and use an emery board to file into a softly rounded shape. Smooth out any nicks or unevenness on your nails by using a fine grit buffer.

3. Soak nails in warm water for two to three minutes. Apply a thick moisturizer or a drop of olive oil to your cuticles, and massage it in. (You can use a cuticle cream if you prefer, but any rich lotion or oil will do the same job.) Gently push don't pull, cut or tear cuticles back with an orange stick.

4. Remove any cream or oil from nails with polish remover (otherwise the polish won't adhere properly).

5. Use an exfoliator to remove any dead skin on your hands. You don't need to spend extra money on special manicure products any face or body scrub will do.

6. Apply a base coat, then two thin coats of polish, letting each layer dry before adding the next. It's important not to make the coats too thick because they won't dry properly and you end up with smudges. Finish with a topcoat.

7. Reapply your topcoat every couple of days to prolong your manicure.

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