The Biggest Mistakes You're Making When Painting Your Nails

Whether it's to fix a chip or because you just can't get to the salon, you might need to become your own manicurist. But there's a lot more to painting your nails than just putting on polish and letting it dry. And knowing the biggest mistakes you're making when painting your nails just might make your manicure even more beautiful — and last longer.

Selecting that perfect shade is just the first step in creating a magnificent mani. But if you thought that you could start painting on your bare nails, though, think again. You'll need to slap a base coat on your nails first (via Good Housekeeping). Not only does it make your manicure last longer, but it also stops the polish from staining the natural color of your nails. Beyond that, a base coat can also help nourish nails by moisturizing and strengthen them.

Sure, you spot a pretty purple shade that you want to wear, but the color of your polish isn't the only thing you should be looking at. In fact, it's a good idea to read the ingredients list on your nail polish (yes, they have one!) to see what's in it. Because you might find something like formaldehyde (yup, the stuff that they use to embalm bodies) as one of the main ingredients (via FDA). It's used to make nail harder, but it's not the best thing to breathe in, since it can get absorbed into the body (via Harvard Health). Look for brands that don't have as many chemicals, so that your mani is safe.

Here are three other ways to have a picture-perfect mani

While you might want your color to completely cover your nails, that doesn't mean that you should apply super thick layers, either. The best way to apply your polish is in three simple swipes — straight down the middle and then on either side (via Southern Living). If you put too much on, you might wind up with a goopy mess that won't dry correctly.

There's nothing worse than having a picture-perfect manicure — and then getting a chip. This can all be avoided, though, when you take this extra step. Once you've brushed on some color, be sure to give an extra swipe of nail polish along the tip. It can help prevent chips from occurring, and allow your mani to last longer.

Sure, it might be fun to shake your nail polish bottle to help mix the colors. Thing is, you might be doing more potential harm to your manicure than good. Why? Well, apparently, shaking the bottle pre-polish makes little air bubbles that then become a part of the polish and go onto your nails (via Insider).

Doing an at-home manicure can save you both time and money, and make your nails look luxe, too. Just make sure to follow the tips to a perfect mani, and you'll have a salon-worthy look in no time. Just don't forget the top coat!