photography by PHUONG NGUYEN
On your mark, get set, go—five minutes starts now.
Step 1: Clean up those nails with remover. This one is great.
Step 2: Whip those cuticles into shape. This Instant Cuticle Remover is fab. Put it on, and dance around for 15 seconds (we recommend the Electric Slide), and then wash off. If you're feeling naughty, cut your cuticles. (No judgment.)
Step 3: The polish secret that will change your life—a nail treatment. Nail treatments are meant to fill in any unattractive nicks or lines in your nails, and simultaneously heal and strengthen while giving them a “glow” and the illusion of a full polish job. They also work as a base coat. But you're going to let them stand on their own and shine this time. Layer on one coat. And because they're so sheer and nearly the color of your nails, you don't have to have the precision or stress when applying color polishes. No laser focus needed.
Julep's Oxygen Nail Therapy Treatment is perfect and will give you the prettiest pink or nude shine. Deborah Lippmann's All About That Base is incredible too, giving you a great matte nude. And Sally Hansen's Nail Rehab is a cult favorite (for a thrifty $9) with a pretty pink shine.
(If you have an extra three minutes to spare, let that coat sit for a bit and layer on another coat. But it’s not necessary—just another cherry on top of your impeccable sundae.)
And voilà—you're finished. Maybe watch an episode of “The Americans” to reward yourself and let those nails speak for themselves. You nailed it.