Nothing will make you feel more fab than a fresh manicure, no matter how drab your outfit or make-up may be. But a trip to a professional each time you want to look perfectly polished can be time-consuming and make quite a dent in your bank balance. If you don’t need to fix something really serious, why not get creative and do them yourself? Luckily, there are some awesome nail polish hacks out there that will make a DIY paint a whole lot easier.
We found some nail polish hacks that will give you a salon-style paint without having to set foot outside your door! Let us know if you’ve tried any or if there are some more hacks we should add to the list…
Read more: 12 beauty hacks you have to try
16 Nail polish hacks you need to know about if you love manicured nails but not the hefty price
French-tip cheat: Paint on your a base coat, then once dry, wrap an elastic band about a quarter of the way down your nail and use it as a guide for creating the perfect tip. Try pastel shades instead of classic white for a new-season update.
Revive your polish: If your favourite nail colour has turned thick and gloopy, pour the teeniest amount of nail polish remover into the bottle and shake to thin out the varnish. Voila – your nail polish should go on smoothly for a few more uses.
Tailor-made shades: Recycle old eyeshadows by crushing them into loose powders and mixing them with a clear polish to create a unique nail colour.
Peel off glitter: Pour some PVA glue into an old, empty nail polish bottle and use it as a base coat for tough-to-remove glitter shades. When you want to change your mani, you can simply peel off the nail polish. Needless to say, don’t bite your nails!
Banish stubborn nail stains: Mix a little baking soda with water and soak your hands for 10 minutes, and watch nail polish stains fade away before your eyes.
Save your chipped mani: Hide any pesky chips by adding a cool ‘dipped in glitter’ tip. Just blob a little shimmery polish onto the end of your nail and then brush it downwards to create a sparkly ombre effect. It also looks great just on its own as you can see in the picture below.
Bye-bye blunders: Painted over your cuticles by mistake? Clean up any mishaps with an old lip brush or small paintbrush dipped in nail polish remover.
Quick-dry tip: In a hurry? Paint your nails, allow them to air dry for a minute, then dip them in ice water for two minutes – this will help them to dry faster.
DIY tools: Want to channel your inner Picasso and create cool nail art, but don’t have the right tools? Just make your own! Stick a straight pin into the back of a pencil eraser and you’ve got yourself a dotting tool.
Read more: How to get a long-lasting manicure at home
Make it stay: Wipe your nails with a cotton pad dipped in vinegar before applying nail polish. It will strip the nail of excess moisture that can lead to air bubbles and helps the nail polish adhere better.
Paint by numbers: Getting the perfect mani is as easy as 1-2-1: 1 base coat, 2 coats of polish, 1 top coat. Apply each layer in three thin strokes across the nail (be sure to paint from the base up) and allow to dry completely before applying the second coat.
Matte Mani: Matte nails, like matte lips, are still all the rage at the moment. You can create your own mattified effect at home by adding a bit of cornstarch to clear nail polish which you can use as a top coat, or by adding it directly to coloured polish. If that sounds like too much effort, you can buy a matte top coat like Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Top Coat Matte for R99.99 from Clicks.
Prevent stains: There’s already a quick fix for getting rid of unwanted polish on cuticles, BUT if you’re short on time and can’t go back in with a brush dipped in nail polish remover, just rub some Vaseline or aqueous cream around the cuticles to catch any stray brush strokes.
Glitter polish tip: Sparkly nails are always a winner, but the trick to making them look great and last longer is in the application. First, apply a coat of plain coloured nail polish. Once that coat is dry, paint a few strokes of glitter polish onto a make-up sponge and dab it over the coloured coat. Follow up with a top coat and… sparkle!
Make your colour pop: Bring out the colour of sheer and neon polish by applying a coat of opaque white polish underneath.
Soak off dark colours: Light colours will come off quite easily but darker ones can be more tricky. Soak a cotton ball or pad in remover and place it over each nail for 10 seconds. This will allow the nail varnish to dissolve and slide off the nail.
Beauty and health editor at Essentials magazine with a love of chai lattes, chocolate brownies and gym dates. I can also do a killer winged eyeliner.