1. Prep Before Paint
The perfect manicure starts long before you apply any polish; your hands and nails need to be in tip-top condition for the best end results. Firstly, exfoliate your hands to get rid of dead skin cells, then rinse, dry thoroughly and moisturize. Next file, always going in one direction, buff, and remove any dirt, which helps color last for longer.
2. The Pull-Off Polish Technique
If your nails are still topped with remains of your last manicure, this is an easy way to clean them. Soak a cotton pad in nail polish remover, hold it on the nail and then wait as the old polish is pulled away. No repeated rubbing required!
3. Push Cuticles, Don’t Cut
Nail technicians recommend sticking to a trusty orangewood stick to push back cuticles, not a cuticle remover, which can cause bleeding and even infections if not used properly. Do this just after you have moisturized, when they are clean and soft.
4. Roll Polish Bottles
You might think your polishes need a good shake before you use them, but this actually creates air bubbles that make your manicure uneven and chipping more likely. A better way to ensure the brush is properly coated is to roll it between your hands as if you are warming it up.
5. Smudge-free Polish
One of the most common problems when painting your own nails is polish smudging at the edge of the nail. Thankfully, there is a simple way to avoid this: aim to leave a small space, no more than a millimeter, between the polish and your skin instead of trying to fill in the whole nail. Keep your polish remover close by, just in case of any accidental smudges.
6. Try a White Base
A trick for making bright colours really stand out is using a white polish for your base coat, instead of your usual clear polish. Just be sure to do as thin and neat a coat as possible, so the white gives the brightening effect without showing through.
7. The Perfect Way to Dry
Patience is key. Allow each layer to dry completely by waiting at least a few minutes between applications. This, together with keeping layers as thin as possible, will mean fewer mistakes and give you a perfectly smooth finish. Resist the temptation to blow on your nails, as this is another cause of unevenness. Let them air dry naturally - it is worth the wait!
8. Keep Them Topped Up
As well as a base when you do your manicure, a top coat is essential for a truly professional look and you can keep applying a clear polish every other day for the most long-lasting finish possible. This will prevent chipping and leave you with that freshly manicured shine for weeks.