05/16/2012 08:50 EDT

10 Tips For The Perfect Manicure (PHOTOS)


We’re all about making life easier. So here, in our regular feature 10 Tips, we’ll equip you with tricks that’ll make any task -- from buying art to picking the right shade of lipstick -- seem simpler.

Nails are the perfect accessory to any outfit. But if you can't afford to hit up a salon every time you feel like changing their colour or shape, it's time to perfect the at-home manicure.

Because we are nowhere near perfecting the at-home manicure ourselves (patience for drying is seriously low around here), we consulted the product manager for Quo Cosmetics, Milena Kojic, for her top 10 steps to DIYing flawless nails.

Photo gallery 10 Tips For The Perfect Manicure See Gallery

Remove Polish

"Remove any previous nail polish using a cotton pad."


"After removing your previous polish and before you start the nail care process, gently exfoliate your hands for smooth, clean skin."


"Soak your nails in a small dish for about two to three minutes in warm water (not hot), to soften your cuticles."


"Dry off your hands and gently start to push back your cuticles. Tip: try to avoid trimming your cuticles as it can cause hangnails. If you find you have several hangnails, use cuticle scissors to clean them up."

File And Shape

"Ensure your nails are dry before you start to file and shape. If you find that your nail is slightly discoloured (an off-white or yellow nail), use a nail buffer to brighten and smooth [them out]. File your nails to a length and shape that best fits your style.

Tip: spring 2012 trends show short nails or longer nails with round tips (a claw-like effect) are popular."

Base Coat

"Always apply a base coat to prevent nail discolouration and to help maintain your manicure. You only need to apply one coat."


"Next, pick any colour from your polish collection and always apply two coats (this will bring out the true colour of your polish).

Tip: if you have polish on your skin after your apply your two coats of colour, use a Q-tip dipped in a small amount of polish remover to clean them up before you apply your top coat."

Top Coat

"Last and most important is the top coat (one coat is enough) for a shiny, flawless finish (let your nail colour sit for a few minutes before applying the top coat to avoided smudging)."


"Let your nails dry for about 30 minutes."


"Finish off your manicure by hydrating your cuticles and hands." This will prevent drying that can happen as a result of using alcohol-based products.