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DIY French Manicure!

If you want a decent polished look, nothing beats a classic French manicure. With a little practice, you'll be doing this eight-step at-home French mani in your sleep.

Remove your old nail polish. Dip a cotton swab into some nail polish remover and remove all of your old nail polish, even if it's clear. Be sure to remove traces of polish from all the corners and cracks, since you'll be able to see other colors through the pale French manicure polish.

Trim your nails. French manicures look more striking with longer nails. Start by trimming your nails to the desired length. Make sure all of them are even.

File and buff your nails. Use a nail file to finish shaping your nails so that they each have a smooth, crescent-shaped edge. You can file your nails into a square or round shape, depending on your preference. Use a nail buffer to buff the surface of your nails.

Soak your nails. Place your hands in a warm bowl of water, whole milk or olive oil. This softens your cuticles and makes them easier to push back. Soak for about three minutes, then dry your hands with a towel.

Apply the base coat. The base coat of a French manicure is usually pale pink, cream, or clear. Start by painting a stripe down the center of your first nail, then two more stripes on either side. Paint from the cuticle to the tip, with the brush angled forward. Fill in the entire nail using smooth, even strokes.

You can buy French manicure kits that come with a classic base coat color, a tip color, and other equipment you can use to create a perfect manicure.

Paint your nail tips with white polish. Making sure your hand is steady, paint white crescents on your nail tips. The white polish should stop right where the whites of your nails stop. Allow the tips to completely dry, then apply another coat if you wish.

Add a clear top coat to protect the look of your freshly painted nails. Using a top coat will help the manicure last longer, too

Try out colors. Let your crazy side shine through by concocting a wildly modified French manicure — red and white for Valentine's Day, pastel shades for Easter or neon bright tips for summer. You can always add glitter for super sparkle anytime! Have fun and remember, even if you do find the do-it-yourself French manicure difficult at first, practice makes perfect, and pretty soon you'll be well on your way to creating beautiful and perfect manicures all the time. We promise, it does get easier.

- Mitali Chhabra

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