Thereís no reason you canít enjoy that fresh salon manicure every day. Whether youíre looking to save some money, or the salons are closed, our ultimate DIY manicure guide will leave tired hands feeling revitalised in no time!
Conditioning treatments for your nails
If your nails frequently split or break, there are many strengthening treatments available. Look out for treatments with calcium and keratin, as these ingredients work to support the nail bed. Cuticle Oil moisturises your nails, protecting them against damage. Dehydrated nails become brittle, meaning they will break when damaged rather than bend as a hydrated nail would.
You could also consider taking a supplement containing vitamins like Biotin. Some are specifically advertised as great for healthy hair and nails. This will give nails the nutrient boost they need from the inside out.
Prepare your nails
Clean your nails
You should begin by cleaning your nails with a nail polish remover. If you have any polish on itíll remove it, but even if you donít it will remove oils and dirt that could warp your polish later. Donít forget to wash your hands with soap and water after.
Push back your cuticles
Pushing back your cuticles will keep them looking neat and can make your nails look longer.
A cuticle remover will help to dissolve dead skin and soften the area. Make sure you use a cuticle remover rather than an oi or balm, as they are not the same product and cannot be used interchangeably. Follow the manufacturerís instructions, and then gently push your cuticles back with a cuticle stick.
Advice is a bit mixed as to whether it is necessary to cut your cuticles or not. What we do know is that cuticles protect your nails from bacteria. Cutting them could open the door for infection and irritation.
File and buff your nails
If you need to take some length off your nails, itís best to do this gradually with a nail file rather than with nail clippers. Because of how nail clippers work, they are more likely to tear or break your nail below where you meant to clip it. When you use a file, you only want to move in one direction across your natural nail. Try not to apply too much pressure.
Once you are happy with the length and shape of your nails, itís time to buff the tops and sides of your nails. Make sure you use a nail buffer, not a nail file, and use gentle pressure. This creates a smooth surface, ready for your polish.
Care for your hands
Give your hands, wrists, and forearms a pamper with an exfoliating scrub that removes dead skin cells. Even better if it moisturises as well. Then, grab your cuticle stick again to gently remove anything that has built up under your nails. Wash hands and dry hands thoroughly afterwards.
Take the time to give yourself a mini hand massage with your favourite hand cream. To finish, wipe each nail with nail polish remover again to get rid of the greasy residue.
Paint your nails
Apply a base coat
Applying a base coat hydrates and protects your natural nail and prevents your polish from chipping. A base coat also protects your nails form staining, and many include additional ingredients to benefit the nails. To get the best results, itís recommended to wait a full 2 minutes between each coat of polish.
Apply your colour
Now for the fun bit! Remove some of the dripping excess from the brush and try to apply your colour in 3 stripes, once down the middle and then on each side. And try to keep the layer thin! Then, after itís dried for 2 minutes, apply your second coat of polish in the same way. Sheer or pastel polishes may require a third coat for full coverage.
Finish with a topcoat
A topcoat protects your nail polish from chips and adds shine. Skipping a topcoat will significantly shorten the lifespan of your new manicure, but be careful with the application.
Topcoats Ďshrinkí as they dry, and this means you can see little ridges if it hasnít been properly applied. Try to stick to the three stripe method above.
Tidy the edges and let it dry
If youíve made any mistakes or have any wobbly edges, you can use some cotton on the end of your cuticle stick, a cotton bud, or even a small brush to tidy everything up. Simply dip it in nail polish remover and get to work! Then, let your nails dry for 5 minutes to ensure nothing will smudge and youíre done!