3 Keys to the Slapdash DIY Polish Change

There are full-on, delightful pedicures and manicures—at home or in the salon—and then there are the ok-these-chips-are-beyond-fixing polish change. We’re referring to the latter here: The hazards of the haphazard at-home pedicure or manicure can be boiled down to the fact that most people are less exacting, not to mention have a less-steady hand than most nail technicians. With that in mind, there are a few basic techniques that help make the slapdash at least appear more professional:

1. Basecoat is kind of everything—always do a quick basecoat. It’s clear, so your slapdashness is invisible. It keeps colored nail polish from gradually staining your nails yellow (anything even vaguely reddish will do so). And it gives what ever color or non-color you paint on afterward a guide, so it glides on easier and sort of invisibly stops at approximately the right place (and you waste fewer gallons of nail-polish remover removing mistakes, reapplying, removing again….) RGB Liquid Buff is the all-time best—it looks great on its own, too.

2. Glitter—the chunkier the glitter, the better—hides a multitude of sins. Compared with say, classic red or deep burgundy (two common options for making your nails look instantly more festive), slapping on Deborah Lippmann’s Happy Birthday or OPI’s Desperately Seeking Sequins is about 7 billion times easier to make presentable-looking.

3. Polish-remover wipes are easier and neater for fixing mistakes than a giant bottle of remover and tissues. Priti wipes take a few seconds longer to work than conventional removers but they are beyond-nontoxic and actually moisturizing. Once you’ve fixed any mistakes and the polish is on its way, drying-wise, a quick bit of oil at the cuticles will seal everything in and super-hydrate.