Nail Artists Break Down How To Paint Your Own Nails Like a Pro

How to paint your non-dominant hand PLUS a so-smart way to cover up the inevitable chips. 

We wish back-to-back professional manicures were always in our budget, but oftentimes, we have to pick up a polish bottle and go it alone. It never looks as good as the pros' version, of course.

That's why we decided to pick the brains of talented nail artists who are able to paint mini-masterpieces on a pinky nail, when we can barely glop polish on at all. Read on for tips from freelance nail artists Cassandre MarieJackie Saulsbery, and Ashley Crowe aka Astrowifey, along with Katherine Dorn from NYC's glam Pierre Michel Salon, and Asa Bree and Sarah Kane from Portland's coolest nail studio, Finger Bang

Even if your DIY manicures aren't looking good now, there's hope! Cassandre Marie says it's all about practice. "I was crap at painting my non-dominant hand. I'm so much better now than even a year ago. It sucks but it really is practice," she says.

1.  First things first

- “Before you try doing your nails yourself... first, pee! It always seems you have to go to the bathroom right after you do your own nails!” - Katherine Dorn from Pierre Michel Salon

- "Always push your cuticles back and file any rough edges, filing from outer edge inward. Prep your nails with a swipe of alcohol or polish remover to clean your surface for a long-lasting polish application." - Asa Bree from Finger Bang Portland

Nails by @cassmariebeauty for @opi_products Fall/Winter 2017 campaign. ( 📷Photo credit @opi_products )

A post shared by Cassandre Marie (@cassmariebeauty) on

2.  Actually Painting Your Nails

- "I think it is easiest to start with the hand that is hardest for you to do. I am right handed so I do my right hand first, then the left." - Katherine

"One thing that really helps with me is to keep my left hand still and move my hand that's being painted on as the guide. I know that's kind of weird, but I'll keep my non-dominant hand still while I move my dominant hand." -Cassandre Marie 

- "Always use a base coat and a quick-dry top coat to prevent staining your natural nail, and to keep your color coat looking glossy and flawless!"-Asa

- "Use a brush that you feel comfortable with. Sometimes you might want to stick with a brand that has a cap that you really like. Like for example, it's kind of spendy but the Louboutin caps are really cool. They're like a really long calligraphy pen. That's kind of fun to practice. I know that Julep actually has a brush that's like a stylus. That can actually really help because it makes you have a steadier hand."-Cassandre Marie 

- "Be frugal with your polish." The thinner layer of nail polish helps make it less messy.- Ashley Crowe

- "Start at the top of your nail bed in the middle, pulling the brush forward. That way you can apply the least to the sides as possible for a perfect look. Take your nail brush and go across the tip with polish to seal the color on the tips. Always remember when you apply the clear top coat, you can flatten any polish clumps that appear from polishing with color."-Jackie Saulsbery

A remix of an old manicure for @lashchronicles 🌿🌼 Color: After Dark by @gelish_official

A post shared by Ash Crowe 💅🏽 (@astrowifey) on

3.  Fake It Until You Make It

-Invest in a skinny, angled eyeliner brush to erase any polish that gets on your skin. "Get a cheap one from ELF and use it with acetone to clean up corners." -Ashley 

"When it inevitably starts to chip, hit your free edges with some glitter polish to fake an ombré. It'll help make your mani last and also, sparkles!" -Sarah Kane from Finger Bang Portland

Sushi babes for Leah 🍣🍤🍣🍙 @fingerbangportland

A post shared by Nails by Sarah Kane (@topknotnails) on

4.  One Last Step

-"Apply cuticle oil religiously. Moisturized hands are happy hands! I recommend that my clients apply coconut oil to their hands before bed, so it can absorb as opposed to rubbing off throughout the day." -Sarah Kane from Finger Bang Portland

- "[As you're] massaging cuticle oil, what you can do at the same time is take your thumbnail or your other fingernail to gently push the cuticle back. One thing that's really nice about that is that can help prevent future hangnails. If you're pushing the skin back from the nail plate, what it does is it keeps it from gathering as the nail grows and then you don't get those little pesky hangnails on the side as often. It's a nice little preventative trick." -Cassandre Marie 

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