D.I.Y. Manicure in half the time it takes to hit your local nail salon.
1. Shape. File your nails into a square shape with rounded corners. The length should be to your fingertips.
2. Trim. Work and rich cream into your cuticles, wait a minute, then push them back using a cuticle stick. If you have a hangnail, smooth it away with a buffer or, for a biggie, carefully trim it with nail scissors. Swipe your nails with polish remover.
3. Lay a base. Apply a base coat like Seche Clear Crystal Clear, $7.50. "I can't stress this step enough," says manicurist Elle, who works with Charlize Theron. "It's the anchor that holds the color in place and keeps it from staining your nails."
4. Top with color. Do two thin layer of polish, no more. "with each coat, wipe the brush against the bottle neck as you pull it out to remove most of the polish," says Ji Baek, founder of Rescue Beauty Lounge nail colors. "Sweep it on, then skim the brush along the edges of your nail to create a protective seal."
5. Finish with a top coat, again sealing each nail's edge. Now you have the perfect but time saving manicure.
The scoop on Eco Polish. In the past, earth-friendly polish came in exactly three sheer, blah colors. Boy, has that changed. Scotch naturals, $14.99 each, and Sula $9 each, are water-based brands that offer a whole range of bright shiny hues. They're a fantastic option for nail-biters and that mommy-and-me mani your kid has been begging you for.