Whether you’re amid a pandemic or you’re simply in a bind and can’t get to a nail technician, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve opted for a self-made manicure at some point.

And while it’s no shock that your nails may not come out looking like they’re fresh from the salon, there are things in your control you may not realize.

We reached out to Silva Nahabedian, the Director of Education for Dazzle Dry, a four-step nail system designed to deliver long-lasting results. After trying a handful of the brand’s products ourselves, we thought it only made sense to reach out to an expert to further elaborate on how to make these at-home manis work to our advantage.

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Keep reading for Silva’s five biggest mistakes you’re making with your DIY manicure—and how to fix them!

1. You’re Filing Your Nails Wrong

Don’t use a harsh nail files designed for artificial enhancements. Instead use a file designed for natural nails. Contrary to misinformation out there, you can saw in a back and forth motion to take down length but then gently file in one direction to smooth out the free edge and make sure there are no rough edges. Also, file your nails while they are dry. If you file after they have been soaking in water, you can separate the layers of keratin and cause the nails to peel and flake.


2. You’re Caring for Your Cuticles Wrong

Don’t be aggressive when pushing back your cuticles. This can cause permanent damage to your nail root and cause grooves and ridges in your nails. Instead, gently push them back daily with a wash cloth or orange-wood stick after a shower.

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3. You’re Aggressively Buffing Your Nails

Over-buffing can thin layers of your nail over time and cause them to become weak and susceptible to breakage. Less is more when it comes to buffing. The intention for buffing is to smooth out any imperfections and disrupt the first layer of naturally occurring shine so that polish can adhere well. Buffing is optional, not mandatory.


4. You’re Using the Wrong Cuticle Treatments

Don’t use occlusive petroleum-based cuticle balms. Using heavy cuticle creams or balms can just seal in your body’s own moisture but not allow any topical moisture to enter the nail and cuticle. Bio nail and cuticle oils are designed to penetrate the natural nail and the cuticle. Therefore, keeping the nail flexible and preventing it from becoming brittle and breaking. Use oil twice daily for the supplest nails and cuticles.

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5. You’re Missing Important Pre-Mani Steps

Don’t start polishing without washing your hands to remove oil, lotion, and any other contaminants. Using a nail brush to scrub your nails with soap and water will leave them free of contaminants and allow the polish to adhere well.


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