Knowing how to do your own nails is a must. Nail tools with soft handles and angled design make them easy to hold for precise results.
Do pedicures every two or four weeks to keep nails neat and strong. Problems build up in neglected nails, from out-of-control cuticles to hangnails.
Keep a set of mini match-size emery boards that slips in pockets and tiny purses.
Your own portable nail salon should include a nail clipper for resizing tips and bringing chips back in line; an emery board for shaping and smoothing; nail brush for gentle cleaning; cuticle pusher and nipper for clearing up cuticles; nail scissors and a 4-way nail buffer.
Back-and-forth filing can cause splits. File in one direction from side to center, in long, even strokes, with the file under the nail. File before you soak or you may file too much on a soft nail. Pointy nails are weaker, so keep nails oval or square.
Buffing smoothes ridges, bumps and stains and makes pedicures last longer. Too much can thin and weaken nails. Buff lightly, in one direction. Buff nail tips to help prevent peeling and chipping and hold polish.
Look for cushy, flexible emery boards that bend to shape oval or square. File with a medium texture to shape, a fine texture for an extra-smooth finish.
Clip, snip but never tear or pull precious nails. Use a nail clipper with a non-slip, rubber grip and ergonomic shape to size up long or mismatched nails.
If a bit of dirt gets caught under nails, use the pointed end on a cuticle pusher to clean. To correct polishing errors, dip the pointed tip in polish remover and trace around the cuticle.
Expose your toes. For barefoot beauties, the ultimate pedicure tool has different textures for twice the exfoliating -- a coarse side for serious exfoliating, like dealing with rough heels, dry skin and calluses -- a finer side to smooth and polish skin.