Nail it: Tips for a perfect manicure

Learn the trade secrets used by the professionals to achieve salon-perfect super-soft hands and flawless nails in your own home.

10 steps to perfect nails

  • Remove old polish with a non-acetone nail polish remover.
  • File your nails short and square to keep strength at the sides and look fashionable.
  • Rub about a 5c piece amount of lanolin into your cuticle area for about five minutes.
  • Gently push back your cuticles with an orange stick.
  • Nip away any dead skin from the side of your nail – not the cuticle area.
  • Massage hands for at least five minutes with a mixture of sorbolene cream (the one in a tub) and almond oil. When the sorbolene won’t absorb anymore, wipe away the excess with a towel to reveal super-soft hands.
  • Wipe over your nails with nail polish remover again to remove any oil off the nail. Pay attention to this step as if the cream is left on the nail it won’t allow your polish to adhere as well.
  • Lightly buff nails with a three-way shiner.
  • Wipe over again with nail polish remover.
  • Apply a strengthening base coat, your favourite colour polish and top coat.

Staying power: How to make your manicure last longer

Choose metallic or shimmery polishes: They contain mica, a mineral that adheres to the nail and makes the colour stick longer.

Brush on two thin coats: They’ll dry more evenly than one thick gloopy coat. If each coat is thinly applied your manicure will last up to seven days. Don’t worry if the first coat is streaky, the second coat will even it out.

Apply top coat five minutes after you’ve done your nails: Because if the polish doesn’t set, it will thin out and become more prone to chipping. A day later apply another coat of top coat to further protect your manicure.

Beauty insider: Nail those manicure problems

My nails are discoloured

Give yellowed nails the brush-off by scrubbing them with smoker’s toothpaste for a few weeks.

You can also stick your fingers into lemon halves for a natural bleaching action.

My nail polish is lumpy or bumpy

Apply polish by creating a thin coat of colour with three quick strokes, starting from one side of the nail then moving the polish along to the other side.

Stop air bubbles by gently rolling the bottle between your hands instead of shaking it.

My nail polish bottle is stuck shut

Open stuck polish lids by running the lid under hot water to loosen any sticky polish or put a rubber band around the lid for a better grip.

There’s nail polish all over my finger tips

For a clean finish and to make your nails look longer, use an orange stick to clean away nail polish to leave a millimetre border around your nails.

My nails won’t grow

Cutting your finger nails regularly will actually help them grow quickly. And as strange as it may sound, some people swear by stimulating nail growth by tapping fingertips on a table, computer keyboard or steering wheel.

Now your hands are sorted, give your feet some TLC with these foot care tips. And find out the best times to enjoy your other favourite treatments with our beauty calendar.

Written by Nikki Yazxhi.