Whether you schedule regular appointments at the nail salon or you're an at-home manicurist, knowing how to maintain your own nails is important, and actually quite easy.
With a few inexpensive products, your nails can look beautiful even without polish or a professional.
1. NAIL CLIPPERS: Knock of the nail biting already. It's bad for your nails and it's not great for your teeth, either. If you must, carry a pair of nail clippers in your handbag and keep them trimmed short to avoid the temptation to bite. A pair like this has a handy grip that makes trimming quick and easy. Tweezerman Power Grip Fingernail Clipper, Target
2. FINGERNAIL FILE: Since nail clippers don't always do the smoothest job, keep a file on hand. Lightly file the edges of nails after clipping or use it for touch-ups and snags in between trims. File Catty Nail File Compact, Got Beauty
3. 4-WAY NAIL BUFFER: A nail buffer helps remove ridges and prep the nail bed for polish. Four sides in varying coarseness do everything from filing to giving nails a healthy, natural shine. Block Party 4-Way Smoothing Block, Ulta
4. CUTICLE ELIMINATOR: Rather than cutting your cuticles (which really isn't very healthy for them, anyway) apply a drop of cuticle remover to each nail and allow it to sit for half a minute, or more for thick cuticles, then use a cuticle pushing tool to push them back. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water to remove the product from your nails. Be Natural Cuticle Eliminator, Sally Beauty
5. CUTICLE PUSHER: After applying cuticle remover or cuticle oil, gently push cuticles back from the nail bed and buff away the dead, dry stuff off your nail. Do it regularly so you won't feel the need to cut your cuticles. Toolworx Cuticle Pusher, Got Beauty
6. CUTICLE OIL: If you're letting your nails go "au naturale," apply cuticle oil at this step, and you're good to go. Apply a drop to each nail and massage it in to your nail bed with your fingertips. It will help your cuticles and nails feel moisturized and give them a nice glow. If you're painting your nails, save this step for last. O.P.I Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go, Ulta
7. NAIL FOUNDATION (BASE COAT): Before you apply polish, brush on a base coat that helps the polish have more staying power. It's relatively colorless, so it don't worry about it altering the polish you put on top of it. Butter London Nail Foundation, Sephora
If you'd like, finish with polish and top coat that prevents chips (or one that's fast-drying if you're in a hurry!)