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If you don't have time to head to the nail salon every week, it doesn't mean you have to live with ragged-looking nails. Some ongoing maintenance and a quickie manicure on your own will get you out the door with pretty nails all summer long.

Manicure

Nails continue to be the hottest beauty accessory this summer, and while having pretty nails on a regular basis can take a lot of time and maintenance, it doesn't have to. There are lots of ways to make sure your nails look presentable every day without having to spend a ton of time and money at the nail salon.

Try a soak-off gel manicure

A product like Shellac will not chip and will stay shiny for two to three weeks. This is a great option if your regular polish tends to chip. You do need to get it done by a nail pro, though (and removal is easiest when done at the nail spa too), so it's not the most affordable option. And if you like changing your nail colour often, this long-lasting manicure may not be for you.

File your nails quickly

Nail pros used to recommend filing nails in only one direction (running the file back and forth contributes to nail splitting), but it's natural to file in this back-and-forth motion, not to mention quicker. So file back and forth, but just be sure to use a medium-grit nail file, as anything coarser will cause splitting. The square oval (or squoval shape) is the most popular shape, but longer, slightly more pointy nails are an emerging trend.

Use cuticle oil nightly

You can save yourself a lot of time tidying up your cuticles if you spend a few seconds every night to rub a tiny bit of cuticle oil into them. This moisturizing step will instantly make your nails look better.

Apply a base coat

Even if you're in a hurry, don't skip the base coat. It helps nail polish adhere better, plus it prevents the nail colour from tarnishing your nail bed. Avoid using a product that's a combination of base and top coats, as each has a different function, and combining the two benefits into one product doesn't yield great results.

Use a quick-dry nail polish

To get your nails done in a jiffy, applying a quick-dry formula (some dry in as little as 60 seconds) is your best bet. Apply with one stroke up the middle of your nail and two on either side. Quick-dry formulas are designed to let you skip the top coat. Remember to be careful with your nails; even if the product promises to dry quickly, it doesn't hurt to treat your nails gingerly for longer.

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