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Click through for nail guru Deborah Lippmann's best tips on how to get the most out of your salon visit, extend your manicure, care for your nails and more!
Filing Basics

"The shape of the nail can help to elongate ones hands and improve the overall hand appearance. Never ‘saw’ back and forth on the tip of the nail. Rather than filing straight across, file at an angle so that you have less of a chance of bending the nail if you have weak nails. Remember to look at the hands from every angle. File from each outside edge toward the center of the nail. When filing at an angle, you’ll be a lot more careful.

You also want to use a gentle file, make sure that it’s not very coarse. Stay away from metal files, especially if your nails are prone to breaking because one false move and you can mess up the nail."

Cuticle Care

"Once you let someone cut your cuticles you will end up in a vicious cycle of constantly having to cut them. I’m a big believer that cutting the cuticle is not the way to go. Your skin is your body’s largest organ and your cuticles are the end of the skin – they are meant to be there to act as barrier for bacteria.

It’s always necessary for the cuticles to be softened before they are pushed back because pushing on the matrix of the nail—the base of the cuticle where the nail is formed—too hard can damage the nail. It’s really imperative that the skin is softened, not simply hydrated, before cuticles are pushed back."

Polish Prep
"It’s also important to never shake any nail product vigorously because it will cause bubbles and streaks in the finished manicure, instead roll the bottle gently between your hands."
Sanitization Rules
"If you don’t bring your own tools, it’s important to make sure that they are sanitized before being used on you. If the manicurist doesn’t open a clean set of tools in front of you and you are unsure if they are clean, ask them to open a new pack. Don’t be afraid to speak up."
Drying 101

"It’s important that the manicurist let the polish dry between coats to allow the solvents to fully evaporate. If you apply the next coat while the previous layer is wet, the solvents will become trapped and it will never dry completely, which will cause the lacquer to peel. You should wait two minutes between each layer, starting with the base coat. When base coat, top coat and polish are first applied – the nail looks very wet. After a minute or two, you will notice that the super wet look dissipates a bit and the nail appears less wet, which tells you that the solvents have evaporated and that it’s time to apply the next coat.

If you apply very thin coats, letting the polish dry in between each layer so that the solvents evaporate, it will wear better and last longer. This allows the lacquer to dry faster, adhere better and last longer on the nail."

Seal the Deal
"During application, including top and base coats, be sure that the manicurist caps the tip of the nail to seal the color – it will make a huge difference in the wear."

Grooming Essentials
"Grooming is the key to making any shade look great, whether you do a weekly manicure at home or at the salon. Between manicures, it’s important to keep nails and cuticles hydrated to prevent dry, flaky nails, cuticles and skin. I recommend keeping cuticle oil on your desk and by your bed, and keep hand cream at every sink in your home."
Post-Manicure Must
"You can extend the life of your manicure by adding a very thin layer of top coat every third day. I have an amazing Gel Lab set containing a top coat and base coat that are quick-dry, and mimic the finish of a gel manicure. A high-quality top and base coat will significantly increase the length of time that your manicure lasts."