As relaxing as it can be to escape real life (and screaming 2-year-olds, in my case) to head to the nail salon, that hour can be very hard to find each week! Over the years, I’ve found a lot of great manicure and pedicure tips that have made the process faster and easier, and the results look more professional. I’ve also asked a few of my favorite beauty bloggers for their best tips!

Making a Mess Out of Your Cuticles When You Paint Your Nails?

“Make clean-up a snap by applying a light layer of cuticle oil around your cuticles and on the sides of your nails before you polish. The polish is less likely to adhere to the skin, and you can easily wipe it off with a cotton swab soaked in a little polish remover, or an inexpensive polish remover pen found at beauty supply stores!”

Easy Glitter Nail Polish Removal

“Ever avoided buying or wearing a super sparkly nail polish because you just know it will take FOREVER to remove it once you want a polish change? A simple and effective Glitter Nail Polish Removal trick is to take soak a cotton pad in nail polish remover and then wrap the pad and nail in aluminum foil to prevent evaporation of the remover. Wait a few minutes, twist off and all that stubborn glitter is gone.”

How to Thin Nail Polish

“Is your nail polish getting thick and clumpy? Don’t throw the bottle out! A few drops of nail polish thinner will replace the missing solvents in your nail polish and make it good as new. Don’t try this with acetone or nail polish remover, neither mix well with nail polish and they’ll make the situation worse.”

A Nail Polish Trick for the Short-Nailed and Klutzy

“This little trick can save you a ton of time in nail polish clean up!! Take a magazine subscription card from whatever magazine you have laying around. Cut a few half circles out of the edge. Don’t worry about making them perfect. Place the first finger you are going to polish into half-circle that fits it best, inserting the card just slightly under the edge of your short nail. Even if your nail is shorter than short, you can make this happen painlessly. Now paint the surface of your nail, without getting it all over your skin.”

Smooth Out Those Bumpy Glitters!

“Love the look of glitter nail polish, but hate the way it feels? If you are like me, having bumpy glitter polish on my nails drives me absolutely bonkers. Resist that urge to peel by smoothing out your bumpy glitter nail polish. Simply add 1 or 2 coats of a clear coat over your nail polish. Cover with top coat as usual.”

What To Do When You Can’t Open That Bottle of Polish

“Can’t open your nail polish because the lid is stuck to the bottle? Don’t use your teeth! To unstick a bottle of polish you only need a glass of warm water!”

Smooth Polish Application

“Have you ever wondered how the pros can get perfect polish application in 3 strokes ? I place the end of my brush in the middle of the nail, a few millimeters from the cuticle (look at the light blue line, that’s roughly where I place the brush). I push/wiggle the brush right up to the cuticle (the yellow squiggle), and let the brush fill in the nail right up to the cuticle. I do like about a millimeter of space there, but if it gets on the cuticle that’s fine. Then I pull the brush along the nail (green arrow). Usually I have enough polish on the brush that there will be some extra off to either side. I use this polish to help me repeat the process off to the sides. I cover the entire nail in 3 strokes, though I sometimes need 4 for my thumb. I do not reload the brush in between stroke on each nail, this results in too much polish.”

Precise Polish Cleanup

“The easiest way to clean up a manicure is with a makeup brush! Buy a cheap stiff angled liner brush (you don’t want it to have a painted finish, look for plastic or wood). Pour a little acetone into a Dappen dish and paint the acetone on to your mistakes! The brush will be stiff enough to wipe away polish, agile enough to get under the edge of your nail but won’t leave behind and lint like a cotton swab.”

Speed Up Your Down Time

“Do you love switching your nail color but hate dealing with dry time? Do you always end up smudging your nails before they are dry? Try a quick-dry top coat! They totally do work!!! My favorite is Seche Vite. It dries your polish to the touch very quickly and leaves a super glossy shine. I literally can’t live without this top coat! ”

A Multi-Tasking Bath Mat

“I’m not a fan of bending over to scrub dead skin off of my feet, and will skip that step if I’m even remotely pressed for time. To keep my feet soft and pretty, I’ve been using the Solevation . I just move around on it while washing my hair, soaping up, you name it! It smooths my heels for me.”

Upgrade Your Nail File

“Do you dread filing your weak and peeling nails? Here is a beauty expert tip: Try using a crystal nail file ! Crystal files work to gently shape even the most fragile and delicate nails! The fine surface of the crystal file prevents splitting and peeling of natural nails. Plus, the files are washable and last forever!”

Protect Your Cuticles for Easier Clean Up

“If cleaning up your manicure or pedicure is really a chore, or you’ll be planning something like a Water Marble manicure, you can protect your cuticles from the mess! Liquid Palisades is a product that you brush on to your cuticles, and once your manicure is dry you can simply peel it off. It is great for mess nail art or dark colors that are particularly difficult to clean up perfectly.”

Super Soft Hands

“The secret to super soft and moisturized hands is Johnson’s Baby Oil Gel. I apply the gel daily to my cuticles to help push them down. Just massage it in nightly and wake up with pampered digits. To make the benefits of the Baby Oil Gel go farther, I’ve been adding a tablespoon of sugar to a tablespoon of Baby Oil Gel and mixing it up to make an incredible hand and body scrub. It smells fantastic, it makes your hands as smooth as silk.”