Selena Gomez's Manicurist Shares His Top Nail Tips

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Is Selena Gomez's french-twist Louboutin-inspired mani your Roman empire? Do you scroll through your nail mood board only to realize that Gomez makes up half of it? If the Rare Beauty founder is your inspo for all things nail art-related, then you have one man to thank: Tom Bachik.

As a celebrity nail artist, Bachik has worked with Gomez for years and is constantly innovating. He is as humble as he is talented, and the renowned manicurist doesn't take sole credit for coming up with these viral-worthy creations. He says every look we see and love is truly a team effort.

"Selena is super collaborative when it comes to her nail looks and we both brainstorm ideas," Bachik tells PS. "She will be set on a vibe or mood for the look. Maybe she wants it to feel elegant, sexy, fun, or happy — that will determine the direction for the entire nail look."

Gomez is pretty open to any color or nail shape, he says, but she definitely has her go-tos. She likes a sheer nude — "Basically a no-makeup, makeup look for nails," he says — or deep pops of color like a glossy ocean blue that she wore for "13 Reasons Why" premiere a few years ago; it's of his favorites to date. She's also a fan of shimmers, chromes, and glazes to elevate her nail looks. Anything goes as long as it feels right. "There's no trend or color she wouldn't do," he says. "It's just about fitting the vibe or mood."

We get fed a lot of nail how-tos and advice, so it can be hard to figure out what's worth following and what's actually B.S. To cut through all that noise, who better than Gomez's go-to manicurist to give us the ultimate guide on taking care of our nails? Below are Bachik's seven nail commandments. Read on to see his best nail tips (forgive the pun) and how you can get — and maintain — the perfect mani.

Experts Featured in This Article

Tom Bachik is a celebrity nail artist to the biggest A-listers, including Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, Anne Hathaway, and Charlize Theron, to name just a few.

Tip 1: Hydrate Your Nails Daily

What's the number one nail maintenance tip Bachik gives Gomez personally? It's simple yet tried and true: keep your nails hydrated. "I advise Selena and all my clients to keep cuticle oil on," he says. "Always apply nightly before bed to give it time to set in." We love the OPI ProSpa Nail and Cuticle Oil ($11) for this.

Tip 2: Choose the Right Nail Shape For Your Design

Choosing the right nail shape is more than just an aesthetic choice. Bachik says that the right shape will help prevent the nail from breaking. He says you have to make sure the side wall (or the lower arch of the nail) is sturdy. "If you look at the tip of your nail, it has a C-shape — the curve works like a bridge that supports the nail. If you file that and give yourself a flatter nail, you give yourself the opportunity to break it more easily," he says.

For those who love long nails, he recommends having the high part of the nail be at the center of the tip and the thickest part between the cuticle and extension. With an almond or stiletto nail, he says never to file upwards; instead, you should have the side wall come out and then file it into shape.

Tip 3: Don't Over File

Speaking of filing, you should be careful to not overdo it. To shape your nails, you'll first want to use a nail clipper — his personal pick is from his Tweezerman x Tom Bachik Nail Care Travel Set ($60) — to create your desired look. The file is simply used to refine the edge.

When filing your own nails, he says to make sure your hands are pointed upwards, facing you. Then, imagine a line through the center to guide you as you file. This helps you ensure that you're filing things symmetrically.

Tip 4: When in Doubt, Go Round

Feeling overwhelmed with all the different shape options out there? (No judgment here, because same). When you're truly stumped on how to cut and file your nails, Bachik says you can't go wrong with the ultimate classic: a round nail. "A natural to soft round nail works for any occasion," he says. "Whether it's shorter or longer."

Tip 5: Mirrored Nails Go with Everything

Bachik loves a mirrored nail on Gomez (and all his other clients, for that matter). Hitting that perfect sweet spot of fun and universal, a mirrored nail can elevate any look. "Mirrored powders are so versatile; I love to do pearly, opalescent colors," he says. "They kind of go with everything."

Tip 6: Cutting Your Cuticles Shouldn't Hurt

Cuticle care can be a divisive topic, but if you're like Bachik and are Team Pro Trimming, you should know there's a right and wrong way to do it. "True cuticle is dead skin, so it's OK to remove," he says. "People are afraid their cuticles will grow back super thick, but this should not happen." He explains that if you "cut too close to the living tissue, your body senses it as trauma and doesn't react well to overcutting."

You just want to remove the excess cuticles, the little bits and pieces sticking out like hangnails. Then, you use a buffer to exfoliate, smooth, and tighten the rest.

Tip 7: Tea Bags Can Repair a Broken Nail

To repair a broken natural nail, Bachik says there are a few things you can do. The best solution is to visit a professional and use builder gel to fix it. However, he knows not everyone can access it — that's when you turn to the tea-bag method.

First, grab a dry tea bag and cut out a little rectangle from it. The piece should be big enough to cover the break but not too big that it covers the entire nail. Then, apply nail glue to the piece of tea bag and place it over the tear. Once it sets, you'll cut off the excess and file it before applying a coat of polish.

Audrey Noble is a beauty writer who covers breaking news, writes celebrity profiles, and does deep-dive features about the ways race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of identity impact society via the beauty industry. Previously, she was the beauty reporter at Allure and has held editorial positions at Vanity Fair and Refinery29. Audrey's work can also be seen in PS, Vogue, Harper's BAZAAR, Bustle, InStyle, WWD, and more.