Nailing it: the DIY mini-manicure

1. File

  • Instead of sawing at your nails, file in a single direction. Start at the side of the nail and move towards the centre in long, smooth motions.
  • Never file your nails when they’re wet. This is when they’re at their softest and prone to breakage. Similarly, avoid metal nail files: they’re often too harsh and can damage nails. Opt instead for a glass file, or a basic soft emery board. Boots Salon Smooth Nail Files do the trick perfectly (£1.25 for two, boots.com).

image:lcbnaillacquer.com

2. Paint

  • Before applying any polish, soak a cotton pad in nail polish remover and do a quick sweep of your nails. This dehydrates the nail, removing any excess oil or dust from filing, to ensure your polish will really stick!
  • Always apply a base coat. Not only does this protect your nails, but prevents polish from staining them too. Essie do a really good base coat range. Try Essie’s All-In-One Base Coat (£8.99, boots.com).
  • Stick to the ‘three stroke’ rule. Wipe excess nail polish from the brush on the rim of the bottleneck before applying lacquer with three simple strokes: once down the nail centre, followed by once either side.

image:vogue uk

3. Finish

  • Use a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover to clean up any imperfections.
  • Wait five minutes after painting before applying Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat (£10.95, asos.com).
  • Post-manicure – when polish has completely dried – add a dab of cuticle oil around the nail base: this will hydrate your cuticles and with long-term use improve the strength of your nails too. The cult classic CND Solar Oil is a must (£11.95, cultbeauty.co.uk). Draw a half-moon around the nail base, leave for a few minutes, and then rub it in using your fingers.

image: healthfiend.com