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Do It Yourself Manicure

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Q: How can I give myself an inexpensive at-home manicure?

A: Keep your hands looking great with these at-home manicure tips from nail technician Chonya Alvarez from The Spa at Saddlebrook in Tampa.

1. Start by removing old polish. For natural nails, use a nonacetone remover.Try Cutex® Essential Care™ Advanced Nail Polish Remover Pads.

2. File nails to desired shape. What looks modern now is a shortish nail,straight across the top with rounded edges. File your nails in one direction starting at the edges and moving toward the top.

3. Soak in soapy water for a few minutes to soften cuticles.

4. Dot a cuticle cream on the cuticles and rub in. Try Creative Nail Design Sea Therapy Cuticle Eraser.

5. Use an orange wood stick (available in drugstores) to push back cuticles.Be sure not to cut your cuticles, which can cause infection and damage the nail.

6. Massage hands with a hand lotion for extra moisture. Try Creative Nail Design Solar Silk.

7. Wipe nails with a damp cloth to remove excess oils.

8. Apply a base coat. Let dry for one minute. Try Creative Nail Design Sticky.

9. Apply two coats of your favorite color. Always apply polish by starting on the side of the nail. You should be able to cover the nail in three stokes, one on each side and one in the middle.

10. Apply a top coat. Try Creative Nail Design Speedy. (Remember: If you use a fast-dry top coat, your polish will not last as long.)

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