I swear by at-home manicures*, especially since my job (teaching) makes a salon mani a waste of money. We’ve all seen the tips for making your home job look good like the three-strokes method, using toothpicks, etc. Useful, but I still wasn’t able to keep my non-dominant hand from looking jacked until I figured out a good trick: painting my index fingers last. Explanation and pics below!

I paint my non-dominant hand first (I’m left-handed) from pinky to thumb, skipping the index finger. Since my dominant hand is clean, I use my dominant index finger to correct any mistakes if I get too much polish on the edges. (I’ve learned that if you fix it right away, you can get rid of most excess polish errors without remover.) I do all of the coats on my non-dominant hand before switching.

I do the same on my dominant hand, working pinky to thumb. If I want to be quick, I’ll put top coat on my non-dominant hand in between coats on my dominant. Remember I left my dominant index finger free, which is the key: I can fix my non-dominant hand (I just use my free nail, but I can even wield a Q-Tip with polish remover if I make a huge mess) without ruining any of my other nails.

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The finished product! Both of my hands are nicely polished, and I can do this in 20 minutes if I’m not distracted by the television. I don’t need a ton of cotton balls and polish remover on standby, plus I no longer go through the frustration of polishing one hand, mucking up the other, and then scrapping the whole endeavor. With this method I got better at doing my nails really quickly, and now people usually ask where I got them done. #humblebrag

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*I say mani, but I’m really describing a polish change. I file my nails if they’re jagged, but I don’t soak, push back my cuticles, etc.