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It takes a lot to keep your hands and nails looking their best 24/7. And if you don’t have an army of manicurists who make house calls on speed dial, chances are you’ve had to roll up your sleeves and get to DIYing when you need a fresh coat, or have to mend a chip. Which is why we decided to enlist the pros for their insider knowledge, as far as mani DOs and DON’Ts are concerned. Listen up to these invaluable nail tips:

DON’T Pick

Celebrity nail artist and certified crystal healer, Mazz Hanna, works on A-listers like Julia Roberts, Gerta Grewig, and Selma Blair, so when it comes to prepping nails for a red carpet, she obviously knows a few tricks of the trade. Her #1 tip? Never pick at your nails and cuticles. “This can cause serious issues that hinder overall nail growth and every time you pick, you’re inviting bacteria into your nail bed, which can cause painful infections,” she says.

So if you can’t stop clawing at your claws because they’re dry, reach for a cuticle oil like Hanna’s certified organic Amethyst Infusion Cuticle Oil, $28. “It’s a great way to keep your cuticles healthy and hydrated, and the roller ball applicator is made out of an amethyst crystal, which is believed to help break bad habits like biting and picking,” she adds.

DO Top It Off

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If you think you can leave the salon and not touch your tips until your next visit, think again. The key to keeping a new mani void of nicks (and vibrant, not lackluster) is to apply a top coat every few days to mitigate chipping. Hanna’s favorite? Seche Vive Instant Gel Effect Top Coat, $12: “It’s shiny and will make your manicure last over a week, plus it dries super fast, so that’s an added bonus.”

DO Stay Hydrated

Just like your hands need moisture to keep from cracking, so does your body to keep your nails looking gorg, according to celebrity nail artist and Smith & Cult ambassador Sarah Bland. “When your body is hydrated everything is healthier, especially your nails, hair, and skin, and dehydrated nails will definitely peel faster,” she says. Another one of her pro tips? Eating omega-3-rich flax, since it’s “beneficial to your nails in terms of growing them out and keeping them strong.”

DON’T Peel

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Even though you may be tempted to get to work stripping your nails of that 2-week-old grow out to avoid paying the removal fee, just don’t. “Peeling off nail polish, gel, or enhancements will physically damage your nail bed and potentially cause permanent harm to your nails,” warns Bland. You know what’s worse than desperate looking digits? Dry flakey nails that refuse to grow due to your impatient ways.

DON’T Skip the Base Coat

Just as a top coat is crucial, as is the base coat. Bland likes Smith & Cult Basis of Everything Base Coat, $18, to ensure your nails are protected from the polish you’re using, which will inevitably make your mani last longer, too.

DO Apply Three Strokes 

If you’re heavy handed (literally) when it comes to painting, take a cue from celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann (who works with Gisele, Dakota Fanning, Karlie Kloss, and Lupita Nyong’o to name a few). “Only apply three strokes,” she explains. “One down the center and one on each side, and if you need more, you’re doing it wrong.” Too-thick polish can lead to clumps and messes, which are never cute.

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DO Pay Better Attention to Your Hands

We hate to break it to you, but aging hands can also keep your mani from looking 💯 , and nothing speeds up that process faster than a harsh winter. “Try to apply a hand and nail moisturizer after every washing and consider Restylane Lyft, which was recently FDA approved for the hands,” says Lippmann. “The hyaluronic acid-based treatment restores lost volume, and reduces the appearance of visible veins and tendons, so hands look more youthful.” BRB, booking an appointment.

Mani Must-Haves We Love:

nail products

ManiGlovz, $24: Love gel, but worried about those LED and UV lights destroying your mitts? Same. Which is why we’re obsessed with ManiGlovz. These UV protective manicure gloves take the place of SPF on your hands when you’re at the drying station and you needn’t worry about weird stares, since they come in a variety of on-trend prints and patterns. People will just assume they’re part of your lewk.

Hum Nutrition Killer Nails, $10: If your nails are brittle and breaking, that’s probably because you have a biotin deficiency. This b vitamin is what keeps the dorsal surface smooth and strong, so take pop these supplements on the reg to balance things out.

Deborah Lippmann 2 Second Nail Primer, $14: If you aren’t using a pre-base cleansing treatment, are you even living your life right? Leave it to Lippmann to create a primer that blasts dirt, oil, and residue from nails, making them squeaky clean and ready for layering up.

Let us know if you guys have any mani hacks in the comments below.