- 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).
- 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.
- 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.