Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Sign Up for Our

Daily Newsletter!

Byrdie's newsletter gives you the latest products, celebrity trends, and insider advice from beauty editors and experts.

How To: Master An At-Home Manicure

Jenna Hipp, the nail artist behind Miley Cyrus and Drew Barrymore’s paint jobs, dozens of magazine covers, RGB’s nude and sheer polishes, and a brand new collection of mini lacquers, shares her recipe for a D.I.Y. manicure.

  • How To: Master An At-Home Manicure
    Start Slideshow
    11 slides
    Photo: Justin Coit
  • Step 1: Choose a Color
    1 of 11

    Hipp’s just released her own line of 12 mini polishes: What's Hot Now Nail Collection ($15). So who better to ask how to execute an at-home manicure? When it comes to color, Hipp made Hashtag, a pastel orange, with Cyrus in mind; Award Season, a shimmery gold, to flatter fair complexions (most gold hues wash out pale skin, Hipp says); and the four jewel tones to be pedicure colors. We’d probably start with Hipp’s personal favorite: the mint blue Fresh Maker!

  • Step 2: Clip or File
    2 of 11

    Hipp favors a short, squared nail with soft edges. “Round edges make nails appear just a touch longer,” she says. If you’re in a hurry Hipp recommends using Sally Hansen’s Clip and Catch Control Grip Nail Clippers ($4) instead of a file. Why? Classic emery boards are too rough on nails and can create snags. It’s okay to file, just choose a glass version, like Ulta’s Crystal File ($8). 

  • Step 3: Clean Your Nails
    3 of 11

    After you get a smooth shape, clean your nails with a brush or old toothbrush and warm soapy water. “Wipe your nail dry with a soft cotton towel, gently pushing cuticles back with your towel on each fingertip,” Hipp says. Massage a few drops of cuticle oil into nail beds (Hipp’s favorite is Super Critical Chia Oil ($50) by One Love Organics) to seal in moisture.

  • Step 4: Exfoliate Hands
    4 of 11

    To get baby-soft hands Hipp swears by Suki’s Exfoliating Foaming Body Cleanser ($35). “It foams instantly, smells delicious, and sloughs away dry, dead skin, leaving hands and feet soft,” says Hipp.

  • Step 5: Hydrate Hands
    5 of 11

    For the hand massage portion of your at-home manicure, go for a rich cream. Hipp recommends John Masters Organics’ Cacao and Cupuacu Hand & Body Butter ($32), or try Neutrogena’s Fast Absorbing Hand Cream ($5).

  • Step 6: Prep Nails for Polish
    6 of 11

    Create a mixture of 70 percent rubbing alcohol and 30 percent water in a spray bottle and spray it directly to your nails. “This prepares nails for polish, but it also removes oil and acts like an antibacterial treatment at the same time,” says Hipp. “Now you’re ready for your base coat.”

  • Step 7: Base Coat
    7 of 11

    “Base coat acts as a guide for your polish: it grips the color and keeps your nail from being stained,” Hipp says. In short, don’t skip this step! Apply a thin coat, paying close attention to the tips of nails. Hipps’ favorite? RGB’s Base ($16).

  • Step 8: Apply Polish
    8 of 11

    Grab your lacquer and load your brush with enough polish for a fluid stroke, beginning at the base of the center of the nail. “Steer clear of short, thin swipes,” says Hipp. “You should be able to completely cover each nail with three to five swipes max.”

  • Step 9: Dry Time
    9 of 11

    Although time consuming, it’s very important to let polish set for three to five minutes between coats, says Hipp. “If you're really in a hurry, you can blow-dry your nails on the cool setting for one minute--I do this all the time on set!” she says.

  • Step 10: Top Coat
    10 of 11

    A high-shine top coat will seal in polish and help prevent chips. Try Seche’s Dry Fast Topcoat ($10) or Hipp’s go-to, Chanel’s Extreme Shine Topcoat ($26).

  • Step 11: Fix Mistakes
    Next Slideshow
    11 of 11

    “I like to wait until each hand is completed and not worry about little mistakes while they are happening,” says Hipp. When it comes time to clean up mistakes don’t reach for a cotton swab, it can leave fibers on nails. Instead Hipp uses Eco Tools’ Bamboo Angled Eyeliner Brush ($6) dipped into remover and gently sweeps away polish on the skin.

Want More? Sign Up for Our Daily Newsletter!

Comments

 

Today On:

Feedback