9 Steps To A Salon Quality Manicure At Home
Posted by Rachael Funnell in Hands & Feet
We all enjoy a perfectly polished set of nails, but getting a professional manicure doesn’t always fit in with your schedule, or your monthly budget. Creating a salon-quality manicure at home is the perfect solution, but many of us (if we're honest) aren’t really sure what we’re doing. With this 9 step guide you’ll be able to create the perfect manicure from your sofa, so just stick on a film and get yourself a drink, because wherever they’re occurring beauty treatments should always be fun.
Step one: Prepare Your Tools
It's time to gather your essential manicure kit, here are a few things you’ll need:
A gentle nail polish remover such as this O.P.I Acetone-free Nail Varnish Remover £7.50
Nail clippers (if you’re wanting to shorten your nails)
Nail file or emery board
Cuticle pusher like these from Tweezerman £13.50
Callous/cuticle remover such as this Melt Away Cuticle Remover from Butter £14.00
A hand & nail moisturiser like this Elemis Pro-collagen Hand & Nail Moisturiser £35.50
A nourishing basecoat like this Jessica Nail Recovery Basecoat for Brittle Nails £13.50
A nail polish in your favourite colour, we’re loving pastels at the moment like this Essie nail polish in Mint Candy Apple £8.99
Clear topcoat like this Jessica Diamonds Dazzle Clear Top Coat £11.69
Step 2: Clear The Way
You’ll need to remove any existing nail varnish/random ink marks/residual Chinese food from your hands and nails so after giving them a quick wash, wipe each nail using some cotton wool and a nourishing acetone free formula polish remover. These are best for maintaining the healthy condition of the hands, but acetone formulas will get the job done faster so it’s up to you which you prefer. If you’re using an acetone polish remover try to avoid contact with your cuticles as much as possible as this can be irritating and damage the skin, also the taste is usually extremely bitter and hard to wash off so you want as little contact with the acetone as possible.
Step 3: Shape The Nails
If you wish to shorten your nails use the clippers to roughly cut down ever so slightly less than you want off, then neaten up the edges using a nail file or emery board. Emery boards are usually preferable as metal nail files can cause brittle nails to splinter. Whichever tool you prefer, buff the nail edges into either a square-rounded or rounded nail shape, taking care not to remove too much at the edges as this can lead to painful infections. If the surface of your nail is visibly bumpy (this can happen as the result of dietary changes or illness) then use a buffing board to gently smooth the surface, but be careful not to buff excessively as nail polishes don't stick terribly well to super smooth surfaces.
Step 4: Chill Out For A Bit
Definitely my favourite step... Grab a bowl big enough to fit both your hands into and fill it with warm water, add a little bit of your favourite cleanser to the water, I love the smell of this Orange Essence Facial Cleanser from Burt's Bees £11, then sit and chill for 3-5 minutes to soften the cuticle. Not so difficult after all this manicure business, hey?
Step 5: Get Those Cuticles Gone
Whichever cuticle removal product you’re using take care to read the instructions carefully as some don’t require long at all to work and shouldn’t be applied for extended periods of time. This cuticle remover from Butter is suitable for being left on the nail for 2-5 minutes, then gently push the cuticle back ensuring you don’t go beyond the nail bed as this can damage future nail growth. It’s better to under-do this step of pushing the cuticle than overdoing it as the cuticle health directly affects the health of your nails and can ward off bacterial and fungal infections.
Step 6: Give Your Nails A Treat
After all that removing and cutting it’s important to give something back to your nails, so use a nourishing moisturiser designed specifically for the hands and nails such as this Pro Collagen formulation from Elemis £35.50 to hydrate and replenish the skin. This will improve the final look of your manicure as beautifully painted nails next to dry, flaking skin will ruin your look.
Step 7: Polish Preparation
Before applying any base coats you need to ensure all moisturising products and hand washes have been removed from the nails, otherwise this can mess up your application and cause unsightly smudges. The easiest way to be certain of this is by quickly running over your nails one last time with some polish remover using an earbud or piece of cotton wool.
Step 8: Layer It Up
If you have brittle or bendy nails then layering up your nail polish can be a great way to add strength and support. A nourishing base coat like this Jessica Nail Recovery Basecoat For Brittle Nails £13.50 will support nails that have been through the wars and will also protect them from being stained by the colour you choose. Once this layer is dry you can apply the first coat of your colour of choice. Some nail polishes only require a single coat so don’t apply a second one unless the colour is too faint or patchy from the first one. Finally to prevent chipping and add shine apply your final top coat to finish off your gorgeous manicure.
Step 9: Look After Your Hands!
The manicure may be over but the mission for gorgeous hands continues, carry around a nourishing hand cream, ideally with SPF to keep your fingers in tip-top condition. You can read about the 7 sins of hand care and our top tips for gorgeous hands here.
Getting the perfect home manicure is easy once you have the right tools and the more you practice the better you’ll get. Whilst we all enjoy a trip to the salon learning these simple steps will guarantee you can get perfect paws and claws wherever you are.
If you’re looking for the perfect pastel nail polish to complete your manicure you can shop our extensive range of nail colours here.
Not sure which products are suitable for the sensitive skin on your hands? Try taking our quick and free online beauty quiz to discover your beauty matches.