No messy cuticles here.

By Kaitlyn Yarborough
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The secrets to an at-home manicure that rivals anything you'd get at a salon are almost as elusive as finding a McDonald's with a working McFlurry machine. Not impossible, but you certainly have to work for it. Once you've discovered all of the hacks, however, you'll be tempted to forget your nail esthetician's number for a while. 

While simple tweaks like applying a base coat before polishing or following the 90/10 rule when shaping and filing your nails are easy enough to learn, there's one DIY manicure trick that helps your home polish job look way more professionally done instantly—and it all comes down to a common household product that's undoubtedly hiding in one of your bathroom cabinets. Grab your trusty jar of Vaseline (or petroleum jelly), because it's the key to your best at-home manicure yet. You know how it's usually impossible to avoid getting polish all over the skin around your nails? Not anymore. 

The concept is simple: Petroleum jelly is a greasy, slippery salve that sits on top of your skin—usually in chapped spots—as a barrier. In fact, many already apply Vaseline to their cuticles as a soothing, healing medicine when dry or cracked. Turns out, it's also a great help when painting your own nails if applied on your cuticles or any skin surrounding your nail. It acts as a repellant against runaway polish getting on your skin, therefore minimizing any sort of mess you would have to clean up later with nail polish remover on a freshly painted hand. Not ideal.

To employ Vaseline for a cleaner, tidier manicure, simply use a cotton swab to apply a thin layer around the nail on your cuticles and any skin that you don't want to accidentally get unwanted polish on during painting. Make sure to avoid getting any Vaseline on your actual nails, however, because it will inhibit the polish from sticking and drying. In the case you have any rogue petroleum jelly on your nails, grab another cotton swab dipped in either nail polish remover, water, or vinegar and clean up the edges before polishing. After your nails are dry, you can use dry cotton swabs to remove the Vaseline from around your nail beds. Presto! A perfect at-home manicure with no messy finish. Only clean lines here. Make sure to heed these other manicure mistakes you might not realize you're making.

Vaseline
Credit: Amazon

Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly Original

Can you ever really have enough extra petroleum jelly laying around at home? We think not. 

Buy It: $3.84; amazon.com