1. Go Bare Remove nail polish by saturating a piece of cotton with polish remover. Gently hold cotton on one nail, count to five and pull forward in an “S” shape to get polish out of corners. Press lightly as you approach the tip to avoid straining or breaking the free edge. Repeat on other nine nails.
  2. Get in Shape Shape the nails into desired nail shape. Start from the outside edge of the nail filing toward the center, always in one direction. Never “saw” back and forth! Place file along the nail sidewall and gently file parallel to the finger first and then gently from the outer edge of the nail and in towards the center of the nail tip. Leave at least 1/8” of the nail straight along the sidewall before shaping the tip to the desired shape. Repeat on both sides of the nail until desired shape is achieved. Use sides a nail buffer on all nails to shape, smooth, buff and shine. This buffing will help color adhere to the nail plate and extend the wear of your polish.
  3. Clean It Up Apply cuticle oil liberally to each cuticle. Using the arched end of a cuticle stick or metal cuticle pusher, gently push cuticles back toward the knuckle. Make small circular movements when working from corner to corner. The opposite end is to help target more stubborn cuticle build-up. Nothing should ever be remotely painful or even uncomfortable when pushing cuticles back. Remove any excess product with a clean towel. Use a cuticle trimmer to carefully remove any loose pieces of hang skin that may be left after a proper cuticle pushing. When using a cuticle trimmer, eyeball the piece of skin that is sticking out. Align the trimmer on that piece of skin and clamp the cuticle trimmer. Never pull the skin off when releasing the cuticle trimmer.
  4. Condition Apply a quarter-size amount of rich hand lotion on the top of one hand and rub in a circular motion for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other hand. Wipe away remaining product with a wet wipe or towel. Apply a tiny drop of hydrating cuticle cream at the base of each nail and massage into cuticle.
  5. Prepare Apply one coat of base coat and allow one-to-two minutes to dry. Base coat helps color adhere to the nail plate and provide longer-lasting wear to any nail polish. It also prevents nails from becoming stained, especially when using dark colors.
    • Apply a thin layer starting with one stroke down the center of the nail.
    • Apply one stroke down each side of the nail.
    • Take the very tip of the brush and cap the edge of the nail to finish.
  6. Glossy Apply two thin coats of nail polish color and allow one-to-two minutes to dry in between each coat. You must allow the solvents in the polish of each coat to evaporate completely before applying the next coat. This promotes longer wear and less chipping!
  7. Top It Off To finish, apply one thin coat of  top coat and allow five minutes to dry. It is imperative that drying time is respected to allow polymers to evaporate. If the manicure is rushed, users may find bubbles or color may peel off in a sheet, not adhering to the nail properly.
  8. Finishing Massage a small amount of cuticle cream to the surrounding cuticle area of each nail. Cream instantly relieves dry cuticles as it repairs and protects. Apply frequently throughout the day to maintain softness and prevent dryness.

Deborah Lippmann is the go-to celebrity manicurist for the most fashionable magazines and renowned fashion houses. After years of experience in the industry, her eponymous line of lacquers and treatments for nails, hands and feet is as coveted as her talent.