Yesterday, the world celebrated International Women’s Day. We’re grateful for the women that make our lives better, brighter, and more inspired. Women often seem to have a lot on their plates—between working the 9–5 grind, chauffeuring children to school, and making delicious dinners for the family, treating themselves can sometimes take a backseat. So, women around the world, enjoy a little me-time today. You deserve it!

Many women enjoy pampering themselves with a fresh coat of nail polish. Manicures are a great way to promote nail and hand health, but going to a salon can be pricey and time-consuming. We’ve come up with a few great tips to help you pamper yourself with an at-home manicure.

Promote Nail Health

Yes, a broken nail might ruin the aesthetics of your manicure, but even more importantly, a broken nail can lead to an infection. Did you know that you can fix and reinforce a broken nail with a paper tea bag? Find out how with a helpful tutorial from Stylecaster.

There are a few steps you can take to prevent broken nails in the future. Be sure to consume the proper amount of vitamin C and vitamin B daily to promote strong and healthy fingernails. Moisturize your hands often, as dry hands and nail beds can lead to brittle nails. Avoid cutting your cuticles, as they act as a protective barrier for your nail beds. Additionally, it’s important to let your fingernails breathe between manicures, as smothering the nail constantly with polish can make it harder for the nail to fight infections.

File Your Nails the Right Way

Filing your nails will take your manicure to the next level. Start by choosing the nail shape you like best. For a more classic look, you might go with round, while more adventurous taste may lean toward stiletto. Next, grab your nail file. Now, here’s where many people go wrong. Many people take the “sawing” approach to filing their nails, and aggressively and quickly run the file back and forth. This can weaken your nails, so it’s better to file from one side to the center, breaking contact with the nail once you reach the top, and returning to the starting place. Repeat until you reach your desired shape. Find a more in-depth tutorial here.

Make Your Manicure Last

One reason many people opt for a salon manicure rather than the DIY version is that the nail polish doesn’t seem to last as long. After a few days, the paint starts peeling or chipping. Contrary to popular belief, a long-lasting polish job is attainable at home—with a few secret tips of course. Before you paint, clean your nails either with polish remover or a water and white vinegar mixture. This will remove the oils on your nails that can cause your polish to chip prematurely. When it comes time to apply the color, be sure that the first coat is thin, even, and smooth. Nail polish that is too thick can take longer to dry and often peels off quicker. Never underestimate the power of a top coat. The Huffington Post advises that you apply a thin top coat each day of your manicure to ensure that it lasts.

The best part about an at-home manicure is that you can customize it anyway you want. Choose a bold color, add some nail art, decorate with a few small gemstones—the possibilities are endless.

Taking the time to properly care for your nails can do wonders for your hand health. If you’re experiencing pain, numbness, or immobility in one or both hands, don’t hesitate to make an appointment.

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