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7 quick tips for the best home manicure of your life

by Bobbie Thomas /

Remember those days when painting your nails was just a fun sleepover activity?

Well, sleepovers may be a thing of the past but fun, easy nail care doesn't have to be.

TODAY Style Squad member Bobbie Thomas stopped by TODAY Thursday to share quick tips and salon-quality products for healthy, beautiful nails.

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1."Pull-off" polish

Saturate a cotton swab with polish remover. Cover your nail with the cotton and allow the liquid to naturally pull the polish from your nail rather than forcefully rubbing. Ta-da! Wasn't that so much easier?

TODAY has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not by TODAY. All prices are subject to change and items could sell out based on the merchant’s inventory.

Gel remover clips, $2, Amazon

  Amazon.com

Gel remover clips, $2, Amazon

UNO by Gelish 1-step soak off polish $11, Sally Beauty

  Sallybeauty.com

UNO by Gelish 1-step soak off polish $11, Sally Beauty

2. File in one direction

Resist the urge to "saw" a file back and forth since it can splinter the nail's edge. Instead, use one long swipe along the edge of your nail and continue in the same direction.

Sensationail Starter Kit $25, Amazon

  Amazon.com

Sensationail Starter Kit $25, Amazon

3. Do a dry manicure

Avoid wetting your nails! This may seem counter-intuitive, since professional manis often start with a soak, but water will expand your nail shape. A layer of polish applied to freshly soaked nails will peel, lift and chip faster when your nails dry and return to their natural shape.

Cleansing nail prep, $14, Deborah Lippmann

  deborahlippmann.com

Cleansing nail prep, $14, Deborah Lippmann

4. Buff away

Buff to exfoliate and smooth the tops of your nails, but be sure to use a gentle buffer — not a regular nail file! You should be able to run your finger across the nail bed without pain and you shouldn't see distinct scratches or texture. Begin at the base of the nail, and use a softer touch as you approach the tip (don’t push too hard as bending can cause the nail to break).

Salon gel polish starter kit, $42, Amazon

  Amazon.com

Salon gel polish starter kit, $42, Amazon

5. Push cuticles (don't cut)

Remove dry skin by pushing your cuticles back with a pusher and/or cuticle gel. The only instance that cutting is recommended is if you have a hang nail.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, $7, Amazon

  Amazon.com

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, $7, Amazon

6. Coats are key!

Base coat helps protect nails and make polish stick, while top coat keeps color in place. It will pay off in the long run to use them both, especially since base coat will prevent your nail bed from being dyed the color of the polish. When applying any polish on your nails, use three strokes (one in the center, one down each side) and then cap it to keep the paint fresh.

Wet n' Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel, $8, Amazon

  Amazon.com

Wet n' Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel, $8, Amazon

Essie Gel Couture, $12, Amazon

  Amazon.com

Essie Gel Couture, $12, Amazon

7. Let your layers dry

Allow each coat to dry for a minimum of one minute. While this may seem tedious, it will save you time in the end with less mistakes and faster drying overall. You won’t have to worry about dents and lines!

MINI on the go LED light $35, Sally Beauty

  Sallybeauty.com

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