How to give yourself a home manicure

Written by Sophie Barrow

How to give yourself a home manicure

We're finding that self-care is crucial to feeling good about ourselves during lockdown. You can do this in many ways, but when was the last time you had a manicure? Whether you frequently take a trip to the nail salon or rarely get your nails done, we've got 10 simple steps to make sure that you can have beautiful nails without having to leave your home or break the bank. 

1. Remove polish

Prepping your nails is just as important as polishing them. Make sure you wipe off any nail polish with acetone-free nail varnish remover. If you have false, acrylic or gel nails on, soak them accordingly in acetone remover. 

Even if you don't have any polish on, we'd recommend wiping a cotton wool pad with remover on over them to get rid of any oil or dirt. This will keep your nail polish on longer!

When finished, rinse the remover off with water and soap then dry well. 

2. File & buff

For this step, we love using a nail file which has a buffer side on. You can find these at most health and beauty stores. 

If you want significantly shorter nails, you can cut them with nail scissors. To shape, file with your nail file - if you're new to this, there are lots of YouTube videos with instructions. 

Once you're happy with the shape and length of your nails, go over the tops and sides of your nails with the buffing side of the file. This will smooth your nails, get rid of ridges and prevent natural oils from building up under your polish (which causes them to chip easily). 

3. Push back those cuticles

Massage cuticle remover into your cuticles to soften the skin. Then with a cuticle stick gently push back your cuticles. We recommend pushing back your cuticles rather than cutting them because they block bacteria and it's fairly easy to cut too much and make your fingers sore. 

Once this is done, use the cuticle stick to clean any dirt from underneath your nails. 

4. Exfoliate hands 

This step is the unsung hero of any home manicure. Use your favourite exfoliator to scrub your hands, wrists and forearms. This will remove any dead skin cells and leave your hands feeling extra soft and bright when you've finished the manicure. 

Wash and dry your hands well after this step.

5. Moisturise hands

By moisturising at this step, you can avoid smudging your nearly-dry nails. A light moisturiser would be best to use to make sure your hands well hydrated, but not soggy. Give yourself a hand massage with the moisturiser on, then wipe each nail with nail varnish remover to eliminate any residue. 

6. Apply a base coat

A base coat protects and hydrates your nails. It can also stop nail polish from turning your nails yellow - if you've ever put a dark red colour straight onto your nails, you know what we're talking about. 

Apply a base coat and wait 2 minutes until you apply the next coat. We'd recommend waiting at least 2 minutes in between coats.

7. Apply the first colour coat

The trick with this coat is to apply very thinly. Aim to have just enough on your brush for 3 strokes - one down the middle and one on each side - to cover your whole nail. 

8.  Apply second coat of colour 

After 2 minutes, apply the next coat. You can make this coat a little thicker than the last if you like, but remember the thicker it is, the longer it will take to dry! 

Depending on the nail polish you may have to do a third coat. If so, repeat step 8 again - remember your 2 min break! 

9. Apply a top coat 

A top coat will prevent nails from chipping as much and as quickly and adds shine to them. If you skip this step, you'll risk shortening the life of your manicure! Ideally use a proper top coat polish, but you could use clear nail varnish or your bottom coat again if you can't get hold of any. 

10. Neaten up and dry! 

A good trick for removing any rogue nail varnish from your fingers, wrap a small bit of cotton wool around your cuticle stick and wipe any polish from your fingers, and around the edge of your nails. 

Let your nails dry for 10 minutes to avoid smudging them and ruining all your hard work! 

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