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Dextrous Digits: How to Master a Manicure on Yourself

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Ever wish you had magical out-of-body powers? We could give ourselves perfect blowouts, intricate, self-woven braids, and most importantly, a flawless manicure—on both hands. While a handful of beauty mavens can call themselves ambidextrous, most of us are either right- or left-handed, no exceptions. And anyone who's ever attempted a DIY mani can attest to this one fact: It’s really hard to paint your nails using your non-dominant hand. So what do the pros say if you can't make it to the salon? It's not so much your hands as it is how you load your brush.

"The best way to paint your non-dominant hand is with patience—don't rush it," says Sheswai founder and nail technician Debbie Leavitt. Perfect application stems from where you position the polish on your brush and how much product you load onto it. "I work the brush back and forth in the neck of the bottle—this flattens the brush and puts the lacquer just at the tip of the brush on one side," explains Debbie. "Then, I apply the flat side of the brush close to the base of the nail and swipe up to the tip in an even stroke. I repeat this for a few more times until the nail is completely covered." Lay your dominant hand flat on a surface and rest your non-dominant arm (the one holding the brush) on your elbow for extra support.

While Debbie prefers a perfect application up front (less mess!), celebrity manicurist Carla Kay says it's okay to leave the cleanup for later. "Don't worry if you paint the sides of your nail or your cuticles accidentally—you can clean up with a brush and acetone later, or rub off the excess polish with a warm washcloth when your nails are completely dry," says Carla.

There you have it—one method to single-handedly master the perfect polish application! Have any tips of your own? Share them below!