The world of nails and nail polish has undergone a transformation in the last few years. From nail art to do-it-yourself gel manicures, there has never been a more exciting time to show off your nails. You can keep it simple, use the season’s ‘it’ color, or create designs to give the world a glimpse of your creativity. We compiled a list of tried and true tricks and easy tips—from the basics to beyond.

Nail Knowledge

Some of the products in the nail aisle really are useful! Like cuticle oil to keep nails moisturized during and in between manicures or base coat. These are our fave products and tips for painting:

  1. Yes, you need base coat. It keeps nails from drying out and protects them from discoloration caused by nail polish.
  2. Rub cuticle oil into your cuticles and then your nail bed for salon shine and stronger nails. Do it post color coat to prevent chipping.
  3. Three strokes are all it takes to get a flawless finish. Start with a small bead of polish on the brush and begin at the base of the nail bed. Spread polish in one stroke to the left then the right. The middle section is the third and last stroke.
  4. Forget Q-tips and cotton balls for cleaning up messy edges. Use a lipstick or concealer brush (just like the salon!) to remove old stuck-in-the-cracks polish or mistakes on the edges.
  5. Finish and set your manicure by running your polished nails under cold water. It sets the polish. If you prefer you can always dip them in a small bowl of ice water but mind the ice cubes to prevent smudges.
  6. Need to get rid of a gel manicure or glitter nail polish color? Try these hacks to get the job done.

Color Code

  1. Want to make your color pop? Apply a layer of white nail polish as your base coat. It will make the neon shades even brighter
  2. Finding the right shade of nude nail polish can be tough. Check out these tips from Marie Claire,
  3. We’ve said before that glitter polish is one tough cookie. The finished product can look amazing but applying it is no fun. Try dabbing the color on instead of using the three-stroke method described above. Just dab a blob and spread it over the nail bed and work from there.
  4. Use a sharpie for easy nail art. Apply a base coat of color. After it dries use a sharpie in the desired color to make dots, lines, or whatever pattern you want.  If you make a mistake, you can fix it with rubbing alcohol without destroying the base color.