Beauty

This Miracle Under-$10 Mani Hack is the Secret to Foolproof Nail Art

This seemingly never-ending pandemic has spawned some degree of DIY enthusiasm within all of us — whether in the form of experimental bread-baking or splatter-dying sweats. And though a number of these newfound hobbies are admittedly easier than others (let's just say I'll never cut my own hair again), many have been birthed out of sheer necessity. 

For those who would've shuddered at the mere thought of skipping a mani/pedi sesh pre-Covid, the closure of nail salons in the early days of the pandemic left us reaching for the polishes we'd formerly reserved for stretching out our visits. Nearly a year later, many of us have officially promoted our polishes from freelance to full-time, but even after so much painstaking practice, the DIY painting process has proven to be no easier. Between being forced to use your non-dominant hand and natural shakiness, coating your cuticles with streaks of polish is practically inevitable, making clean up time just as long as — if not longer than — the actual application.

Though nailing your skills and strokes might take another eternity, there is one genius tool you can get right now to guarantee a mess-free mani. The Pueen Peel-Off Cuticle Guard basically serves as a barrier to catch excess polish strokes as you paint, keeping them off your surrounding skin. It goes on as a liquid, but dries down to a rubber-like consistency that cleanly peels off in one piece after use. Simply paint it directly onto your cuticles before applying polish, then remove with the help of an included wooden stick to reveal pristine results that rival a pricey professional mani. 

The Pueen Peel-Off Cuticle Guard is backed by more than 4,500 perfect reviews on Amazon, with shoppers saying it's a game-changer for all types of DIY attempts: basic single-tones, glitter applications, gel formulas, and even advanced nail art like water marbling, ombre gradients, and stamped designs. Best of all, it's currently on sale for more than 40 percent off, dropping its original $15 price tag to just $9 — less than the cost of one salon mani.

PUEEN Latex Tape Peel Off Cuticle Guard Skin Barrier Protector Nail Art

Shop now: $9 (Originally $15); amazon.com

"Why haven't I found this sooner!?," exclaimed one reviewer who found the cuticle guard helpful for applying nail art. "I'm always getting nail polish everywhere, so [I] don't paint my nails often to avoid that. I've seen this on a couple of nail art videos and decided to give it a try. So glad I did! It goes on easy and dries quick, peels right off, and leaves beautiful nails behind. [It] allowed me to quickly paint and stamp my nails with no mess."

Another five-star reviewer mentioned it's an affordable solution for polishing with shaky hands. "I'm new to nail art and have used this for some time now," they wrote. "I have to admit this stuff is pure genius! I'm still no professional at painting my right hand (I'm right-hand-dominant), and this gives me comfort in knowing that if I screw up, I'm all good! I don't have time to go to the salon to get beautiful nails and this allows me to get that look right at home. It's a money saver!"

One word of warning: The Pueen Peel-Off Cuticle Guard contains latex, a common allergen, so consider doing a cautionary patch test before freely coating all 10 fingers.

Purchase it on Amazon for just $9 while the discount lasts, and you won't miss swapping out the salon for this DIY solution — that is, until the pandemic ends. 

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