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No time for a salon visit? DIY nails to the rescue

It's easy achieve professional-level manicure home. JSoChoi nail industry guru whoseJINSo line polishes are used for fashishows as well as

It's easy to achieve a professional-level manicure at home. Jin Soon Choi, the nail industry guru, whoseJINSoon line of polishes are used for fashion shows as well as sold in stores, have great hues perfect for a DIY manicure. | Anna Webber~Getty Images

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Get the look step-by-step

Word from the beauty wise: Choi recommends keeping these steps simple, never cutting your cuticles at home and going with a sheer nude color to start — the understated color is more forgiving than bright hues and second bonus, sheer shades are very in vogue this season.

Step 1: Shape into Place. Gently file your nails to smooth out the jagged edges and shape the nail. Choi likes using a nail correcting pen, such as Sally Hansen No More Mistakes Manicure Clean-Up Pen, to clean and push back cuticles — making sure to glide the pen under the nail to remove any residue. At fashion shows, there’s no time for full manicures. “We generally just file the nail and paint it,” she says. Then, clean your nail bed with a Q-tip soaked in non-acetone remover or alcohol.

Step 2: Polish. Sheer polish is all the rage season and Choi said you can easily get the high-end look with DIY by skipping a base coat and applying one coat, not two, of a nude color. “This also makes a for a healthy, clean, modern nail look,” she says. “These colors are very forgiving and downplay imperfections in the application.”

Step 3: Finish Time. Apply two coats of quick dry top coat — the second coat provides that of-the-moment shiny and sheer look and cuts down on dry time. Clean up any mistakes with a nail stick soaked in polish remover or a nail correcting pen. Ruined a nail? Don’t fret. “Dab your index finger in non-acetone remover and smooth the smudged area very gently and apply a top coat,” Choi says.

Updated: May 23, 2014 9:47PM

Too slammed to escape for a couple hours for a manicure and pedicure? We hear you. But sandal season is here, so don’t let those digits go bare. The answer? DIY nails.

Don’t fret — it’s not impossible and anyone can master it, says Jin Soon Choi, the beauty industry’s nail guru and whose eponymous line of polish, JINsoon, is available at Space NK, Space 519 and Barneys New York.

“Make it a simple process,” says Choi, who breaks down DIY in three steps, below — the same steps she follows on models at runway shows. “I would say if you perform the manicure step-by-step with care, you will love the result and eventually get faster at doing it.”

Doing your own nails is not only time and cost saving, but could promote the health of your nails.

Dr. Keren Horn, of Wicker Park Dermatology and Aesthetics, says doing at-home manicures helps to minimize the increased risk of infection found at nail salons.

“It is hard to guarantee that shared tub basins and instruments are free of fungi and bacteria. It’s also hard to ensure the quality of disinfection and cleanliness of the salons,” Horn says. “Doing your own nails helps to avoid a ‘too aggressive’ treatment by a technician such as scrubbing vigorously or pushing/cutting cuticles too far — both of which can cause injury and introduce bacterial or fungal infections.”

You may even like the flexibility of being able to change up your polish whenever you like — without having to leave your home. Joanna Douglas, the NY-based senior fashion and beauty editor at Yahoo Shine, prefers to do her own nails — and only gets manicures if it’s a perk offered at an industry event.

“I love the act of painting my own nails (usually at night while watching a marathon TV session) and love being able to change my nails anytime the mood strikes. I often don’t have time to go to a salon, so I save money and have fun instead,” Douglas said, adding that her favorite brands include everything from Maybelline and Sally Hansen to Chanel and Tom Ford. “I always get compliments because I change up my manicure so frequently.

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