Allure catches up with some of the best manicurists around to share pro tips on making beautiful manicures last longer, getting the most out of a salon visit, and working with press-on polish.

To get a magnificent manicure:

  • Exfoliate nails with a gentle buffer.
  • Rub a cuticle remover over and around nails.
  • Go over nails with a nail polish remover.
  • Use a superfine or medium file to shape nails.
  • Don’t shape the sides of nails unless they are at least an eighth of an inch beyond the fingertip
  • Don’t shake the polish bottle, but instead roll it between your palms.
  • Use a ridge-filler as a basecoat to fill in ridges that might appear in photos.
  • Apply two thin layers of polish for an even manicure.
  • Apply polish to the tips of nails to prevent chipping
  • Let nails air-dry for two minutes and then plunge them into ice-water help the polish harden,
  • Apply topcoat every other day to keep nails looking their best and apply cuticle oil to nails every night.

To get the most out of a trip to the nail salon:

  1. Avoid cutting nails before a salon appointment so that the professional manicurist or nail technician can have something to work with.
  2. Bring your own tools or leave a set at the salon for your visits as an added measure against germs.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask that your manicurist use a new nail file, as well as a new block-like scrubber that’s used for pedicures.
  4. Try to avoid nail dryers to prevent bubbles from forming. They may not be visible for up to an hour afterwards.

To get press-on polish to work for you:

Try Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips for a quick manicure that’s just as beautiful and shiny as a real manicure. The strips are made of actual nail lacquer and plasticizer, which allows them to stretch and conform to the nail’s shape. Try Red-Y for Trouble to get a bright, cherry red nail that’s perfect for any occasion.

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