11 Nail Polish Hacks To Make DIY Manicures Super Simple

Ad failed to load

Professional manicures are a fantastic little luxury, but time and budget constraints sometimes make them impractical. Thankfully, the world of DIY manicures has come a long way in recent years, and the best offerings under the #DIYMANI tag look practically professional. While trying to maneuver a tiny paintbrush with your non-dominant hand may never be particularly easy, there are plenty of nail polish hacks that can help you make the manicure process — and its inevitable clean-up — a little less intimidating.

Whether you just want to help your manicure dry more quickly and cleanly, or you’re ready to dive into the wild world of nail art, these nail polish tips will make your DIY nail care a little less messy and time-consuming. Because, despite what past experience says, it’s possible to paint your nails without having extra polish stuck all around your fingers.

With a little help from ice water, carefully deployed nail polish remover, and even sparkly topcoat, there are many tricks to make your at-home manicures downright luxurious. Once you master a few of these tips, you may not need a nail salon for quite some time. Read on and get ready to rock some top-of-the-line mani action. 

Ad failed to load

1Lotion Your Nails

Do you wind up painting half your finger with every brush stroke? Try out this tip from Buzzfeed and line your cuticles, and the skin around your nails, with heavy lotion. The polish won't stick to that, and you can quickly clean up with an orange stick. Voila! Mess-free nails.

2Camouflage Chips

If your nail polish starts to chip before you're ready for a brand-new manicure, Allure suggests layering glittery polish over it. This helps refresh your manicure, disguise chips, and add a little sparkle to your day.

3Start Clean

To make your mani last as long as possible, Glamour recommends you start with a clean slate — or in this case, nail. Get rid of any lingering lotion or oils by swiping an acetone-soaked pad over your nails right before applying the base coat.

Ad failed to load

4Layer It On

I often slap on way too much polish that takes forever to dry, which is not the best way to achieve maximum mani potential. To avoid smudges or bubbles, InStyle says you should work in thin layers and slowly build up your color slowly.

5Go To The Edge

To ward off future chipping, Today recommends you cap the free edge of the nail, or take your polish over the edge of your nail. This tiny extra step can help your manicure last a little longer.

6Double Down On The Sparkle

If your accent nail needs an extra dose of glitter, follow this advice from Self and apply a shimmery topcoat over your glittery nail polish. The topcoat helps protect your hard work from damage, and a little extra sparkly never hurt anybody. Go big or go home, right?

Ad failed to load

7Ice It Down

Can't wait on that polish to dry? Take a cue from Cosmopolitan and soak your freshly painted nails in ice water for a few minutes to speed up the drying process. A few minutes of chilly fingers can mean a lasting manicure.

8Stamp It Out

If you love nail art but lack the ability to apply polish with such surgical precision, Total Beauty suggests you try nail stamping. This simple process is an easy way to get intricate nail designs without a ton of effort.

9Lend A Helping Hand

Trouble painting with your non-dominant hand? Marie Claire suggests you hold the brush still and move your dominant hand to apply the polish. Because you're still making your more talented hand do all the work, you can likely get cleaner results with this method.

Ad failed to load

10Stay Bright

Does your polish pop in the bottle but look dull on your nails? If so, Elle recommends adding a thin layer of white nail polish before using your color of choice. This will help any color really stand out on your nails.

11Straighten Out A Smudge

Don't you hate it when your fresh mani is all set to go and you just happen to bump your hand against a table? Insta-smudge. But Real Simple has a remedy. Just quickly dampen another finger in nail polish remover and gently smooth over the smudged part. And, voila, your nails are ready for a night out.

Images: James Lee / Flickr; Courtesy of morganlschadegg, cat_right_meow, sar_ah210, polishedandbubbly, veraglam, amandaroseb13, mrs_rsymes, lisareneeg70, nailspa_arnold, myfabnails_, tracytran0303 / Instagram

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills