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Need a little self-care (who doesn't) or maybe you don't want to spend the cash to have your nails done (and really, who does), mastering the art of an at-home manicure is a life skill that will serve you well.
Here, I’m breaking down the steps, tools, and tips required to give yourself a flawless at-home mani.
What You'll Need
In order to properly pamper your nails, there are certain tools and items you'll want to have on hand.
Nail clippers and a nail file - to shape the nails.
A small container with warm water - to soak your nails.
Cuticle oil - to soften cuticles so you can push them back.
Buffer - to smooth the nail bed.
Your chosen colour.
STEP 1. Clean nails.
Remove existing polish and clean nails with Non Acetone Nail Polish Remover.
Step 2. Clip & File Nails.
Trim your fingernails with nail clippers, unless you prefer to keep your length. When cutting your nails, never start in the middle. Begin on the side and work your way across so you don't split the nail.
If you have long nails, it's important to start your at-home mani with a pair of nail clippers. Follow the 90/10 rule — 90% of your shape comes from your nail clipper, 10% from filing.
Make sure your nails are completely dry before filing, filing wet nails can cause splitting. You'll want to start off using your file to create your desired shape: oval, square, rounded square, or whatever shape you choose.
Wondering about shape - rounded nails (mirroring the shape of your cuticle) that extend just over the edge of the fingertip always look elegant.
STEP 3. Soak Nails.
Apply Cuticle Oil. This formula penetrates fast, instantly moisturising cuticles and nails while healing damage long after application. Then soak nails in warm water for 2 mins to soften the cuticles.
STEP 4. Push Back Cuticles.
Rub in cuticle oil directly on your cuticle using your fingertips, and softly but firmly push back the cuticle to reveal the nail plate. This helps the nail look more elongated.
Do not trim of the cuticles, it can lead to breakage, rips, and tears, and ultimately an infection in your nail bed.
STEP 5. Buff nails.
Buff the tops and sides of nails lightly with the nail buffer for a few seconds to create a smooth surface. You will be able to feel and see that the nail is smooth.
You might wonder if this step is truly necessary or if you can skip it when you're in a pinch. But going straight into painting your nails sans buffing will have a noticeable effect on the way your polish turns out. If you don't start with smooth nails before polishing, it will be reflected on the painted surface.
STEP 6. Apply Base Coat.
It's time to start painting! Rest your hand on something to keep it steady. Begin with a thin layer of base coat polish. The formula preps and primes nails by smoothing the nail surface and blurring flaws, for a more uniform colour application. Let the base coat dry for 1 min before moving on to the next step.
STEP 7. Apply Two Coats of Colour.
Now for arguably the most difficult, part painting on your colour. Apply two thin coats of color, waiting 2 mins after each hand. When applying colour, start in the middle of the nail bed and work your way to the sides in thin, even layers. Paint the tip of the nail as it helps seal the color.
Tidy up any mistakes or wobbly edges with the pointed end of the cuticle pusher.
STEP 8. Apply Top Coat.
Finally your top coat. Used over nail polish the formula provides a protective barrier and increases mani longevity. Used on its own it gives a healthy, shiny finish to natural nails and reduces the appearance of nail damage. Don’t forget to apply the top coat across the tip of each nail to prevent chipping.
STEP 9. Drying time.
Let nails dry for 5 mins.
PRO TIP: Re-apply your Top Coat as needed or every 2-3 days for extended color wear and renewed shine.
And voilà! Your at-home manicure is done. Owning your nail routine means you can always have a fresh mani. I love to pair painting with watching my fav TV show or listening to my fav podcast to really have the best ‘me moment’.