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Must-Know Tricks That Fix Any Manicure Mistake

At-home manicures are great—but they’re also more likely to chip, smudge, or suffer from other mistakes that make them less-than-Instagram-worthy. Instead of starting from scratch when one of these mishaps occurs, use these genius tricks from our favorite manicurists, all of whom are backstage staples at fashion week—so obviously they know how to fix a nick in a hurry.

Chipped Polish
“If you see a few nails slightly shipping at the tip within a few days after the manicure, take a white nail buffer and smooth out the chipped area. Next, add a ridge filling base coat, another coat of color, and a thin layer of topcoat. This will ensure your manicure can last for almost another week.”
Michelle Saunders, Essie manicurist

“Using sparkly nail polish is the best idea to camouflage a chipped nail. You can simply add a basic nail design to the chipped area, such as a French line or diagonal line—or use a piece of sponge and create sponge nail art.”
Jin Soon Choi, celebrity and fashion manicurist and founder of JINsoon Nails

“For larger nicks, take your color, and lightly dab into the chip—resist the temptation to smooth it over the nail. Typically this amplifies the appearance of the chip.”
Deborah Lippmann, celebrity manicurist and founder of Deborah Lippmann


Elizabeth Natoli

Nail Breaks
“Make a nail Band-Aid for nails that break just past the nail bed. Place a small corner of a tea bag or paper towel on the crack, and carefully add a dot of nail glue. The material will act like a cast for your damaged nail. If you’re worried about the texture, you can always smooth it down with a soft buffer.”
Katie Jane Hughes, Butter London global colour ambassador

Sheet Marks
“If you have ‘sheet marks’ on your nails upon waking—after a late-night polish change—add a ridge filler on top, another coat of color, and a thin top coat.”
Saunders

Polish on Skin
“To clean up polish around the nail, use a thin angled eye liner brush dipped in remover. Or dip an orange wood stick in remover without any cotton wrapped around the tip since the typical orange stick wrapped in cotton will leave fuzz.”
Choi

Smudges
“After every manicure, I finish with a swipe of cuticle oil around the cuticle. This creates a slick barrier over the wet polish, which helps prevent smudges.”
—Saunders

“To fix a smudge if the color is still wet, dab your fingertip into a drop of remover, and then gently touch the smudged area to smooth it out.”
—Choi

Layer Mishaps
“If you make a mistake on a nail look with multiple layers, simply dip a small brush into acetone, and skim the unwanted layer away. Work quickly, and be careful not to apply too much pressure to ensure that you only remove the top layer.”
—Hughes

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