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Home Manicure Tips

Category Nail Tips
If you decide to do your own manicures at home you still want to get the best results you can. This guide contains home manicure tips.


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April 26, 2011

I had some nail polish that was getting too thick to use, so instead of throwing it away, I poured nail polish remover in it. I just poured a little at a time. Shake it good and if it's still too thick, add a little more. Do this until you can put on your nails smoothly. Nail polish is getting expensive now, so I have to be thrifty. Some bottles are $5.00 or $6.00. Can't throw them away, just fix them - thin them down!


Also, if you have a color that you think is too light, just mix in a darker color. Too dark, pour in a lighter color. I have made some pretty colors doing this and saved money. Give it a try, it really works!

By dwedenoja from New Creek, WV

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December 4, 2006

The Frugal Holistic

A Day at Your Favorite Spa: Your Own!
(Part 2 of 4 - Homemade Manicures and Pedicures)

A day at the spa can cost a lot of money but everyone needs to pamper themselves also. In this series of articles, I am going to try and help all of us to save some of that money but get the relaxation we need. Spas charge big bucks for things such as facials, manicures, pedicures and body wraps. Today, I am going to address manicures and pedicures. A professional manicure or pedicure is a relaxing experience and requires very few implements to accomplish.


Most of the things you will need are things that you probably have around your house or can be picked up easily at a flea market or garage sale. The dollar store in your area will have a lot of your supplies also. (Remember we are looking at saving money here.) Also keep in mind that this is a pampering experience. You should start by lighting some candles and playing some soft music. You will need to find a soft chair with a table that can be put in front of you at a comfortable height. For pedicures, you will also need a footstool that is a comfortable height for the person giving the pedicure. I have one that I use that is the perfect height for me to sit cross legged on the floor in front of my friend.

I like to light a little incense or use a defuser to boil a little fragrance oil. Lavender is a very soothing scent as is Camomile. This is also an experience you probably would like to share with a friend and I will tell you how to do this with out wrecking your own manicure. Now it is time to gather your supplies.


You will need:

  • A pretty bowl(medium size bowl) to put warm sudsy water in. Nothing is more pampering than pretty things.
  • Manicure scissors, nail file, emery board, cuticle cutters and cuticle pusher.
  • Tub big enough to fit your foot into for soaking. I find that this a great way to recycle those tubs you get from the hospital, but you can find plastic boxes at the dollar store that can double as storage for your supplies.
  • 3 bags of marbles
  • Scented body wash (your favorite kind)
  • Nail brush
  • A warming pillow (Directions to follow)
  • Nail polish remover and new polish
  • Baby oil or massage oil or Vitamin E gel capsules
  • Small pretty bowl for warming oil in microwave
  • Small hand towel
  • Small looftah sponge
  • Facial scrub and mask your favorite kind of course


Now, let's start. The first step is to lay out your table. Warm some of your oil in the microwave, but only for a couple of seconds or you will get the oil too hot. Oil is also flammable, so you need to be very careful. You need to remove any old polish at this time. Lay out your small hand towel and set your medium size bowl with warm water on the table and then add some of the wonderful body wash. Soak one hand at a time in the warm water. Use the nail brush to brush under the nail and the small loofah to wash hands thoroughly. After soaking, it's time to trim the cuticle (the small flap of skin that grows onto the nail). Using a cuticle pusher, gently push the cuticle back and trim off the excess. This will stop hangnails. Apply some warm oil to the cuticle area and massage in. This is where you can use the Vitamin E gel capsules as massage oil for the cuticle. Just take a pin and puncture the capsule and squeeze out the oil.


Apply the massage oil to your hand. Massage in small circles on the top and palm of hand. Massage the fingers by circling fingers at the base of the palm and using a firm up and down motion massage to the tip of your fingers. Now, return to the base of each finger and pull down the finger at least three times.

Apply warm oil to upper arm to elbow and massage down arm. Holding arm in both hands using your thumbs, massage in small circles down the arm to the palm of hand. Do this three times. With both hands, massage arm with a wringing motion but be gentle. Work from the elbow to the wrist. Do this also three times. Next, with palm of hand, massage the elbow in a circular motion. Now soak the other hand and repeat the cleaning and massage procedure. You are now ready to cut and shape your nails to your own preference.


Always remember to only file nails in one direction as this helps to keep your nails strong. Never file the top of your nails as this weakens them. Professionals only do this in the application of artificial nails to roughen the surface of the nail so that the glue or other base material will stick. If using nail polish, it is always recommended to use a base coat, then polish, then a couple of layers of top coat. Quick dry can be made by putting baby oil in a small spray bottle and applied after the top coat.

Now it is your friend's turn. To save your own manicure, make sure polish is dry, then position a cotton ball between your index finger and middle finger and remove her polish. In this way, the nail polish remover does not come in contact with your fingers.


Now on to doing a pedicure, the procedure is pretty much the same but there are a few more supplies for a pedicure than for a manicure. You will need to make a warming pillow. This is easy to make and you have many choices on what to make it out of. An easy way is to take a decorative pillow you already have. Open the end and remove the stuffing, refilling it with flax seed or rice. Flax seed is a little lighter in weight but we are not talking about hundreds of pounds here.

You can also use a old tube sock (you know the one, it's mate magically disappeared in your last load of wash), two hand towels sewn together or some scrap material sewn in either a tube or square, your choice. You will also want to add some dried herbs such as lavender, peppermint, chamomile or other herbs of your choice. This herb pillow can also be used for strained muscles. On size you will want to make sure that this pillow will fit into your microwave.

Fill your tub with nice warm water and some more of your body wash and the three bags of marbles. Put the marbles in the bottom of the tub with the water. Soak your feet and move them gently over the marbles for a relaxing foot massage. Those electric foot spas are great but this is a cheaper alternative. Epsom Salts in the footbath will reduce swelling and soothe aching feet. Lift up your foot and apply facial scrub and then, using the nail brush, clean toenails and underneath them. Use the looftah with the facial scrub to remove any old and dead skin from feet.

Next, you remove one foot at a time and apply facial mask. Let dry and rinse in your foot scrub tub. Dry foot thoroughly and set on your warming pillow that has been warmed in your microwave. This generally will take about 3 minutes depending on the wattage of your microwave. You want this to be nice and warm just barely hot. Next use cuticle cutters and pusher on the cuticle on your toenail. Now apply warm massage oil and massage thoroughly into feet. Pay special attention to the heels and pads of the feet.

Apply oil to the calf of each leg and massage with both hands in a circular motion first and then in a gently wringing motion. Massage oil into skin thoroughly. Now is the time to cut the nail (Remember to cut straight across to avoid ingrown nails) and to apply polish. Fake french: Save time and money by indulging your soles in a two minute french manicure. After rubbing cuticle oil around nails, use a white nail pencil under each tip.

Two-tone tips: Extend the life of your manicure or pedicure with this smart look. Brush a sheer color nail polish in a color like silver onto the tips of nude nails. Make sure your colors subtly contrast. Back to basics: Get rid of that yellow tint that comes from wearing dark polish colors with a quick lemon and milk bath. Squeeze the juice of one whole lemon into a 1 cup of milk. Place toes into the mix for 3-4 minutes. Rinse, pat dry and apply polish. If you are not going to paint your toenails, this would be the time to put your pretty little toes into a nice warm pair of socks. This will keep your feet warm and also help any remaining oil to be absorbed.

Foot Soaks

Add milk (a natural AHA) to your footbath. Warm milk is the ultimate skin softening treatment, and it's good for your skin. Mix a couple drops of aromatherapy oils to the soak, and sprinkle in a few rose petals for ambience. You can even add chocolate mix for a chocolate milk pedicure. Soak feet for 10 minutes, then pat dry and proceed with pedicure.

Milk and Honey Pedicure

Fill a footbath with water. Add honey to hot water. Use sugar as an exfoliant. Add 1 cup whole milk and a drop of almond oil for moisture. Soak for 15 minutes.

Buttermilk Soak

Buttermilk is an excellent skin conditioner and mild exfoliant.

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp. almond or mint oil

Combine ingredients with whisk or fork. Soak feet for 10-15 minutes. Rinse.

Lotions and Smoothers

Almond Lotion

(Makes 8 Ounces)

  • 1/8 tsp. borax
  • 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 1/2 cup almond oil
  • 1 Tbsp. grated beeswax

Combine borax and distilled water and set aside. Heat almond oil and beeswax together until beeswax is almost melted. Remove from heat and stir. Heat borax water to almost boiling. Slowly pour water into the heated oils while stirring with a wire whisk or a mixer. Once the water is completely mixed into the oils, allow the mixture to cool. If you would like, you could a drop of an essential oil of your choice to add fragrance.

Banana foot lotion

  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup butter

Mix ingredients. Spread all over feet, then cover feet with socks and go to sleep. Rinse the next morning. For a quick on the go alternative: Place a drop of vitamin E oil on every toe before bed and gently massage in.

Athlete's Foot Disinfectant Solution

  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar

Garlic is a natural anti-fungal and also makes a good moisturizer while the vinegar removes dry skin buildup. Take a bulb of garlic and carefully cut off the top, exposing the ends of the garlic cloves. Roast the entire bulb in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel off the garlic skin and place soft cloves in a bowl. Mash with a fork and combine with vinegar.

Athlete's Foot Disinfectant Oil

  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 10 peeled and pressed garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of (lotion or scented oil)

Put the pressed garlic and olive oil in a pot and cook over low heat (do not boil) for one hour. Let the mixture cool and add the (lotion). Of course before you add the lotion you could place some on a baguette just for good measure. Once you have mixed your cooled ingredients, rub the mixture all of your feet. Not only with this combo put essential oils back into your feet, the garlic acts as a natural anti-fungal and antibiotic to prevent athlete's foot.

Peppermint Foot Gel

What feels better on tired feet than peppermint?

  • 2 Tbsp. aloe vera gel
  • 1/2 Tbsp. peppermint oil

Avocado Smoother

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • squeeze of lemon

Cut the avocado in half. Remove the pit and place it aside. Place 1/2 of the avocado in the fridge making sure to wrap it up. Place the other half in a salad and enjoy. Let the pit dry out for a day or two and then mash it up by hand or with a blender. It should break up in small pieces. Mix the avocado pit with the 1/2 that was in the fridge along with the mayo and squeeze of lemon. As good as this may sound to eat, it's for your feet. Avocado helps to prevent calluses while the mayo is an excellent conditioner. For extra medicine, add a beaten egg.

Fruit Super-Smoother

  • 3-5 strawberries
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of cream or milk

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Massage onto clean feet for 3-4 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Tropical Smoother

  • 1/2 ripe papaya
  • 3 Tbsp. of cocoa butter
  • 1 egg

The papaya exfoliates while egg and cocoa butter moisturize for super-soft feet. Melt the butter in a saucepan and let cool. Mash up papaya in a bowl and then mix in egg and butter. Have a loved one massage into your feet and enjoy.

Massage into tired feet until absorbed.

Scrubs and Cleansers

Quaker's Foot Scrub

  • 2 tablespoons oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ

A light exfoliating paste, perfect for tired feet. Mix ingredients. Use as needed by grabbing a handful of the mixture and adding a splash of water – no bowl necessary. Massage feet with paste for 2-3 minutes, adding water as needed. Rinse feet with warm water and slather on your favorite lotion. Your feet will feel smooth as silk.

Note: Store mixture in a sealed container. Keep refrigerated.

California Foot Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice

Blend ingredients until smooth. As tempting as this is to drink, the astringent qualities of the bananas and O.J. added to the yogurt for moisturizing make a super California lather. Make a double batch for breakfast too.

On The Run Instant Exfoliator

Combine table salt and liquid hand soap or mix lotion and sugar to exfoliate and help circulation.

Sandy Beaches Scrub

  • 1 handful of sand
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1 squeeze of lemon

Sand (any sand will do) is an excellent exfoliator and the olive oil will super-soften your soles. Mix ingredients in a bowl with a fork and massage into feet. Rinse.

Apple Avocado Smoother

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 cup of grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 apple

The apple exfoliates. The avocado moisturizes. The grapefruit juice acts as an astringent. Mash the apple and mix them all together in a bowl and let your feet take a vacation as your slather them with this scrub.

Wake Up Call Scrub

  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup of honey

Combine ingredients in bowl and mix with hands. Massage fruity goo onto feet and leave on for 2-3 minutes. This simple yet luxurious wakeup call will exfoliate and moisturize your feet like you can't believe. Remember breakfast is the most important meal of the day so start it off with a great scrub.

By Debra from Colorado Springs, CO

Editors Note: This is a four part article. Check out the other sections here:

Homemade Facials (Your Own Spa: Part 1 of 4)

Homemade Haircare (Your Own Spa: Part 3 of 4)

Homemade Body Scrubs and Wraps (Your Own Spa: Part 4 of 4)

Comment Was this helpful? 4

By 9 found this helpful
September 25, 2015

You will keep this little one ounce container with you all the time! You just brush the oil on your cuticles and rub it in.

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By 4 found this helpful
January 20, 2011

To keep your nail varnish and nail products like new, find a space in the fridge for them. They practically keep for years instead a couple of weeks. Tried and tested. You've got nothing to lose, so give it a go.

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By 2 found this helpful
January 19, 2012

When I paint my fingernails, I sometimes mess up and get nail polish on my skin that surrounds my nails. I actually found this pen at our local Walmart that has fingernail polish remover in it. You use it to remove the mess ups. :)

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By 0 found this helpful
March 8, 2007

It is getting closer to sandal weather here in Texas and I will not spend the money for a pedicure, as it is $30.00 plus a tip. I hope these tips will inspire you to treat yourself to a little pampering, which will give you nice looking toes for those sandals.

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By 1 found this helpful
January 25, 2015

Mix loose eye shadow pigment with clear nail polish to make a custom nail shade. Mix all together with a cotton swab, grab a brush and try out your new color.

Comment Was this helpful? 1

By 2 found this helpful
June 13, 2017

I am now 54 so my nails are not as bright as they were when I was younger. After many years of wearing nail varnish and false nails, they have yellowed a bit. I came up with a little idea when I bought a new illuminator powder.

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By 2 found this helpful
February 3, 2014

To enhance the beautiful glittery nail polishes of today, just use a basecoat color a shade close to the glittery one. You wont believe the difference this makes. Instead of having to use 2 or 3 coats of the glittery one, you only have to use 1 coat.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 2, 2007

This tip caters more towards woman, but I guess it can be useful to men too. This tip involves the care one should use when getting a manicure/pedicure and what steps can and should be taken to avoid any possible problems that can lead to nasty infections.

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May 13, 20040 found this helpful

Squeeze the lemon juice from the lemon half into the warm water. Soak your fingers in the lemon water for 5 minutes. Then rinse and dry your hands. Push back cuticles, then cut and file nails. Then rub lemon peel against each nail. Buff nails with a soft cloth.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 6, 2013

An easy way to save your dried out nail polish is using a small amount of acetone or nail polish remover.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
January 10, 2007

My daughter has red fingernail polish all over her! How do I get it off of her?

Rhonda from SLC


January 11, 20070 found this helpful

Just let it wear off. Give her a bath a day for three days, and I'll bet it will be all gone.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
January 11, 20070 found this helpful

Nail polish remover? Be sure to wash her skin with soap and water afterward.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 11, 20070 found this helpful

actually I ended up trying baby oil. I had most of it off by the next morning. The baby oil breaks it down and loosens its hold while keeping it from drying and itching so bad. Good stuff. Nail polish, even the acetone free stuff is too hard on young tender skin. So Thank you and with this little one on the loose, I'm sure there is still a whole ton of stuff I will be getting an opportunity to learn.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 11, 20070 found this helpful

Ok this picture is just too cute!!! It reminds me so much of how fast time goes by. As the mother of a freshmen in college and a senior in high school, I just want to say how precious each and every minute is. Please enjoy this beautiful baby.

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January 12, 20070 found this helpful


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January 16, 20070 found this helpful

You guys made me laugh and cry with your responses. Thanks for the input!

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 27, 20080 found this helpful

We just had this same problem yesterday. My grandson is in a wedding in two days and covered himself and his bedroom wall and carpet with red nail polish. His Mom brought him to me so she could try to clean up the brand new carpet. I started researching the internet for ways to clean him and was startled to read that putting him in a warm bath for 15-20 minutes would work.. It was amazing as soon as we put him in the water we started seeing flakes of the nail polish in the water.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
February 4, 20090 found this helpful

My daughter just now did this. She looks a lot like the little girl in the picture, hehe. Thanks for your input. I will be trying each and every one of these.

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August 13, 20100 found this helpful

Oh my goodness! I am so thankful for finding this! My little brother got my red fingernail polish while I was cooking breakfast and there was like a huge splotch on his face and he has it just everywhere! So I posted on Facebook "how do I get fingernail polish off a babies face?" and everyone was like fingernail polish remover but I'm not stupid I know that will irritate his skin so thank god I'm not the first to have this problem. :)

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Answer this Question...

By 0 found this helpful
October 31, 2007

I'm looking for manicure recipes. In specific something pumpkin or cinnamon.
Any ideas?



November 1, 20070 found this helpful

Pardon? You want to do your nails with something that has pumpkin or cinnamon in it? Like a soak for your nails? Are u sure you mean manicure?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 1, 20070 found this helpful

i have never heard of a manicure recipe. do tell.

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 1, 20070 found this helpful

Never heard of "recipes" for it, but you can add any essential oil to any water for most any thing. Watch out for dark colors of oils staining white nails or polish, and I'd use the oil lightly, regardless. Is this what you had in mind? Pumpkin fragrances/aromas are mostly cinnamon anyway, right? So, don't rely on the powdered cinnamon, and use the oil instead.
Good luck. : )

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 4, 20070 found this helpful

Spiced cocoa and coffee sugar scrub
1/2 c sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp ground coffee
pinch of cinamon and nutmeg
2 tbsp oil--canola, sunflower, olive what ever you have

In a dish mix together sugar, cocoa, coffee, and spices, drizzle in the oil slowly until you have your desired srub consistency. Apply to skin in circular motion to exfoliate and moisturize, rinse well

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 14, 20070 found this helpful

There are a ton of sites out there to get the recipes...if you are a licensed manicurist or nail tech, there are also a ton of magazines for it! If you are not aware of this, MANY spas and salons are now doing "special made" pedi's and mani's for their clients...I do a Champagne & Chocolate special in February!!

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Answer this Question...

October 15, 20110 found this helpful

I used non-acetone nail polish remover to soak my fingers to remove polish and burnt my finger tips. I was removing a basecoat, plus 2 coats of polish and a top coat what did I do wrong? For 3 days my tips felt numb. I thought I had problems.

I have acrylic nails for the first time, but like to change my polish about every 3-4 days. I did what the nail tech said and got non-acetone polish remover. It's only been two weeks, but I am not going to apply nail polish till I figure out what the heck happened. If you have an answer please share. I hope everyone has a great holiday.

By Sharon


October 15, 20110 found this helpful

I have never soaked my nails to remove the same number of coats of polish that you stated. All I have ever done is put the polish remover on a cotton ball and use that to remove the polish. I use a seperate cotton ball for each nail. I had acrylic nails several years ago and was never told to soak them. I also used non-acetone polish remover. I was told to soak them when I wanted to remove the nails. I can't remember if I was told to use the non-acetone or regular polish remover, for this process, but what it amounts to is I have never had the problem you mentioned. After having the professionally applied nails, I would sometimes buy a kit with the nails and glue in it and apply acrylic nails myself.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 18, 20110 found this helpful

It sounds to me like you may have an allergy to the remover. I'd check with your doctor before doing it again. Also before going back to the salon, because that's what they use too.

But the proper way to remove the polish is not by soaking them but by wetting a cotton ball or pad with the remover and wiping your nails with that.

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October 18, 20110 found this helpful

Redbatterb, to remove the nails themselves, use acetone to soak your nails in. And it takes a while too. I just did mine a few days ago. Had to soak them for about 30 min. Then I let them dry good. Used an emery board to file off as much of anything left as I could. Then soaked some more, about 15 min. this time. Kept doing that till I had gotten off as much as I could. Now I'm letting them "rest" for a couple of months before I get new nails put on. I do this twice a year.

It's a lot of work and time consuming but it's a lot less painful than getting them removed at the salon, and it's a lot easier on my nails too.

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Read More Answers

May 7, 20050 found this helpful

Tips and ideas for applying and removing nail polish. Post your ideas.


May 7, 20050 found this helpful

If you run out of cotton balls to remove your nail polish with, use a clean tampon! Hold it like a pen, dip it in the nail polish remover and easily wipe nail polish away! When the end gets too dirty, snip the end and reuse. Keep it to clean up smudges around the nails afterwards. Since you can hold it like a pen, you won't ruin your other nails.

By Lorna L.

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 7, 20050 found this helpful

with the high cost of tampons... I'd rather use toilet paper/ paper towel etc.

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 16, 20050 found this helpful

use a babyfood jar and a sponge with a hole cut in the middle about the size of your finger. pour in the polish remover and use it like one of the fancy removers. When it gets clean it out and reuse.

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