I love the clean look of a french manicure. But I don’t love spending my limited free time (and babysitting allowance) sitting in a poorly-lit nail salon, getting shamed into a paraffin wax, callous remover, and flower on my toe. Now, I have lots of friends who relish the experience of a salon manicure. If that is the case, YOU GO GIRL. You walk your bad self to the salon and enjoy the pampering. This post is not for you.

If, However, you are in my camp, and you want a nice manicure but can think of 127 ways you would rather spend an hour and 30 bucks, then this post is for you.

On my last trip to Top Nails, I was on a mission to figure out how to do this for myself at home. I watched closely, and by golly, I think I have outsmarted the salon. Because for only $13 and a few minutes of my time, I got the same look while my kids were napping (and while I got to watch The Daily Show and think tawdry thoughts about Jon Stewart).

Here’s what you need:

Opaque white nail polish (try Loreal, $2.49)
Pure acetone (try Supernail, $2.35 )
Clear top coat (try Loreal, $2.49)
Straight-edge brow brush (try Sally’s Beauty Supply, $5.99)

Here’s what you do:

1. Remove any old polish.
2. Brush a layer of white onto the tip of each nail. If needed, add a second coat.
3. Remove the cap from the acetone bottle and fill the cap halfway with acetone.
4. Using your flat-edged brush, create a clean line at the bottom of the white tip by brushing back and forth where your nail meets the nail bed.
5. Add top coat, and enjoy!

This technique may require a little practice, but after a few times it you will be rocking your own manicure from home!