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This 3-Stroke Method is the Key to a Perfect DIY Manicure

Painting your own nails can be challenging, especially if your hands aren’t always steady. But a simple method can make at-home manicures a breeze, and it just takes three steps — shaky hands or not. 

Los Angeles-based nail tech Tristan Terrell — who polishes the nails of celebs like Hilary Duff and Cara Santana —swears by the three-stroke manicure. After you pick out your nail color, Tristan tells to simply take the brush and paint down the middle of your nail, then down the right side, and then down the left side. After three strokes, your whole nail should be covered in polish, so be sure to do solid strokes. Repeat this method for every nail and every coat. That’s it! 

The reason why the three-stoke method is so great, is not only because it’s super easy, but according to Nails magazine, it ensures the polish is applied evenly on the small surface area of each nail. If you put too many layers on top of one another — which we are often inclined to do — the polish can look too thick and take way too long to dry. It’s also important to make sure that your brush isn’t dripping in color, a little bit surely goes a long way!

But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it exactly right the first time. “With repetition comes perfection,” Tristan says. “I can almost guarantee you will leave the house with a $100-looking manicure.” Even the most sought-after nail techs had to start somewhere. “Before I became a licensed cosmetologist, I started out doing my own nails, playing around with acrylic kits and manicure tools,” says Tristan. “I watched hundreds of YouTube videos trying to perfect my craft… I am self-taught and if I can do it, then so can you.”

After you get the three-swipe method down, you might consider making the process more fun by experimenting some of this season’s most popular hues. We love the vibrant pink shades from OPI’s Spring 2019 Tokyo Collection ($10.50 per polish, Amazon) or the soft purples from Essie’s Spring Trend Collection (price varies, Amazon). After all, there’s nothing quite like getting into the seasonal spirit while learning an exciting new skill!

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