Getting a nice manicure with elegant cosmetic glitter at home requires practice and expertise (as well as a degree of coordination that I simply lack). Even if you’re a whiz at doing your own nails, at-home manicures never seem to last as long as those done by professionals. Going to the manicure salon is a straightforward option, but it is not always time or cost effective. I spoke with six experienced manicurists to get their insider advice on how to get a better at-home manicure.

According to nail specialists, there are nine techniques to keep your nails looking beautiful when you DIY your manicure.

1. Choose the appropriate shape.

Despite all the popular designs (such the coffin or the stiletto), rounded nails remain the greatest choice for avoiding tears and snagging. “It’s less prone to catch on items because of its smooth design,” explains Essie’s global lead educator Rita Remark. “If you like to keep your nails square, just round the edges on both sides of the nail.”

2. Don’t forget to buff your nails’ edges.

Once you’ve decided on the final shape, double-check that nothing is left hanging on the edge. When nails have been filed extensively, it’s vital to use a nail buffer to remove any leftover nail debris from under the nail and along the cuticle line. Another pro tip: When filing, make sure to file in one direction, particularly on the sides, to avoid upsetting the nail strands.

3. Before you start painting, make sure your nails are clean and dry.

Most nail salons will soak you before filing and pushing back your cuticles, but experts believe dry manicures are more sanitary and help your lacquer stay longer. According to Remark, soaking the nail in water helps it to enlarge. The nail then contracts as it dries, allowing your polish to chip. Instead, she recommends using nail polish remover or alcohol to wash the nails before shining.

4. Keep away from foods and drinks when doing the procedure

If you don’t want your nails to get spilled with colored drinks and food sauces, make sure the space around is neat and free from foods, or else you will waste your time repainting it.