mani monday: pro tips

we ask the experts the secret behind a perfect paint job.

by ray siegel

We spent a good deal of time with the nail experts backstage during Fashion Week seeing the nail trends for spring '13. You can't argue with the nude trend this season; it was everywhere from Skaist Taylor to Proenza Schouler. But if you're not ready to give up on nail art, there was still some in the mix Rachel Antonoff, Rodarte and Kate Spade.  

Getting the newest nail colors nails is one concern, but we really wanted to know how to get the best manicure possible without making an appointment at a nail salon. We know that you don't always have the time and we don't either; we usually do our nails at home or while sitting at our desks testing polish colors. We think you'll be pretty psyched to hear these pro tips (pun intended, as always) that we've gathered, because it's easier than you think to get a professional looking job done on your own. It does take practice too though, so don't get discouraged if your first couple of tries aren't perfect.

Jude Severin, President of Deborah Lippmann

"The most important thing to do in order to keep your color on the longest, which is what everyone struggles with, is waiting in two minutes in between coats. The reason for that is: Every layer, whether it's your base coat or your color, there are solvents that need to evaporate in the air before you put the next coat on. If you don't wait two minutes the color doesn't set properly and your putting another color over it that's not going to dry properly. You're not getting that foundation. Kind of like painting the walls at home. You put on a primer and then you have to wait a day. It's the same thing—if the color doesn't set, it's never going to dry all the way through. A lot of time soy see hours later, the layers didn't set properly. Your nails shouldn't take that long to dry if it's done properly."

Jin Soon Choi, Fashion Manicurist and Founder of Jin Soon Hand and Foot Spas

"Start by shaping your nails with a fine grade file then push back your cuticles with a cuticle remover. Then clean the nail beds with a non-acetone remover and wipe off any residue. Apply a nail strengthening base coat, which will give your nails a healthy look, and then use your polish of choice. Finish with a top coat to protect the manicure."

Marian Newman, Fashion and Celebrity Manicurist

"The best tip I could give is to always use oil. Use it at the beginning and use it at the end. Let the oil sink into the skin while you shape. Go around and do a really quick shape like your cutting off split ends of hair. Even if you don't change the length change the shape. Go around with a soft file. Then you take the oil off because it has had time to sink into the skin by then. Then you can put the color on. If you're putting color on, I don't recommend using a remover with conditioners in because that leaves a film on the nail. Use Acetone. If it's got conditioners in it—and a lot do have—go wash your hands with soap and water and dry the nails really well. Because the conditioner leaves a bit of film on the nail and that makes the polish chip."

Elisa Ferri, Zoya Nail Expert

"If you've never done them at home before, start off with sheer colors and then as you gain your confidence and you feel comfortable doing your opposite hand, you can graduate to brights. Stay away from the cuticle area. It's OK if it just looks like a broad stripe. Better that than it bleeds into the cuticles—it will look like an amateur job."

Our chipped nails are starting to look better already! Read this to get more advice from the beauty pros at New York Fashion Week.