If you love that fresh-out-the-salon-mani feeling, there's no reason you can't enjoy it every day. Simply arm yourself with soothing hand lotions, pretty nail polishes and some nifty filing techniques – and you can enjoy the ultimate manicure session without having to leave the house!
Get Your Nails In Good Condition
If your nails never grow past a certain length before splitting or breaking, there are ways you can turn this around. Look for a strengthening treatment that’s loaded with calcium and keratin – two ingredients that work to support the nail bed, as well as cuticle oil to protect against damage. Taking a supplement containing vitamins like biotin can also give nails the nutrient boost they need from the inside out.
How To Push Back Your Cuticles
Every time you paint your nails, take the time to push your cuticles back, too – this will keep them looking neat and can make your nails look longer.
To push them back, apply nail oil or specialist cuticle cream to the area and leave it for 5-10 minutes, to help soften them up. Using a cuticle stick, gently push the cuticles back to the base of the nail then use a cuticle clipper to get rid of any excess bits of skin.
The Best Way to File Your Nails
Before you file your nails, make sure any polish is removed, your hands are clean and you have a good quality nail file to hand.
Make sure your hands and nails are completely dry as they’re more prone to damage when they’re wet. Always file from the outside of the nail towards the centre, and only file in one direction otherwise you could end up tearing and break your nails. Try not to apply too much pressure as this may also cause damage.
Want the low-down on nail shapes? Read everything you need to know here: The ultimate guide to nail shapes.
How to Prep Your Nails for Polish
Once your nails are filed and you’ve chosen your colour, it’s time to prep them for polish. Find a flat surface to rest your hands on to ensure you make a steady job of it.
Start with a base coat, which is a clear polish that prevents colour stain and often includes additional ingredients to help strengthen and protect the nail. Apply the base coat in a thin layer and leave to dry fully before following with your chosen colour.
How to Apply Nail Polish
Remove any excess polish from the brush and paint a thin layer in three strokes to cover each nail: one stroke down the middle and then one on either side.
Work your way along all your nails, and don’t worry if you end up painting your skin or make a mess around your nails – this can be cleaned up afterwards. Apply a second coat of polish in the same order as for the first coat.
When your second coat is dry, finish with a top coat. This will add a high shine, prevent the colour from chipping and make sure the nail polish lasts longer.
Caring for Your Hands
So you’re nails are now up to scratch, but what about your hands? Constant hand-washing will dry them out, so to help protect them, always use gloves when you’re washing up, and apply a scrub once or twice a week to exfoliate them and remove any dead skin.
You should also use moisturising hand cream regularly, especially at night so it can properly absorb while you sleep.