I make no apologies for the fact that this is very definitely NOT a quick tutorial. This is a long, slow, comfortable screw against the sofa of a treat, which not only should not but simply cannot be rushed. A good manicure is not done in five minutes and nor should it be (although I do have a ten minute version I will share at a later date). Firstly, getting a salon finish takes time and patience and secondly, your emotional well- being benefits from you not rushing through every element of your personal care routine.
Manicures and make-up are by definition, luxury items (yes I know that it doesn’t feel that way but they are) and I heartily recommend giving your nails the full hour long go over at least once a month, if not more (although as the mum of two boys I do appreciate how difficult that can be). Not just because it keeps them healthy, but because you and your hardworking hands deserve that at least.
1 X LARGE BOWL FILLED WITH WARM (NOT HOT) WATER AND HAND SOAK
1 X SUGAR/ SALT SCRUB (I use Boots Fairtrade scrub in mango, £8 for 400ml)
1 X VERY RICH HAND CREAM (I like L’Occitane’s Shea Butter, from £8)
1 X CUTICLE REMOVER (available from most pharmacy’s – I am using Boots, just look for something very thick)
1 X CUTICLE PLIERS
1 X CUTICLE OIL (OPI’s Avoplex, £6.30 is BEAUTIFUL and available in a portable tube)
1 X ORANGE STICK WRAPPED IN COTTON WOOL
1 X COTTON WOOL PADS
1 X BASE COAT
1 X NAIL FILE
1 X BUFFER
1 X NAIL POLISH
1 X TOP COAT
1 X QUICK DRYING NAIL FINISHER (see my previous review of Elegant Touch Rapid Dry for Nails here)
- Remove any old polish and apply a thick coat of scrub to the hands. Gently massage across knuckles and fingers, then soak off in the warm water for five minutes.
- Pat hands dry, coat hands generously in hand cream. Return to water for three mintes.
- Pat hands dry once more, cover cuticles in remover cream, add to water for two minutes.
- Wipe of the cuticle cream and using an orange stick, gently push back cuticles (do not force or shove as you will very easily cause an infection in the nail bed). You can clip off any hanging cuticles but again be very careful indeed.
- Buff nail surface with the roughest part of your buffer, then use the next grade down to soften and finally the smoothest part of your buffer to add a shine.
- File your nails. I quite like a natural round shape, but you can choose any you like – just remember to only file in one direction or you will cause splitting and breakage to the nail.
- Paint a coat of base coat over the nails. (Warning: You can skip this step but don’t be crying to me when you have the nails of a sixty a day smoker through polish staining).
- Add three coats of your favourite polish ( I am using Essie, Fashion Playground here). You only paint three stripes on the nail. One down the centre and one either side. If you have very wide nails, leave a tiny bit at either side to narrow and slim the shape.
- Once the nails are ‘set’ but not dry, add your top coat, paying particular attention to the tips of the nails where chipping can occur. By repeating your top coat daily you can extend the life of your mani by up to a week!
- Spray liberally with Rapid Dry
- Finish once dry by massage in cuticle oil – try and do this every other day to ensure that smooth ‘perfect’ look you get in a salon – it really does make a difference!
Final Tip: If you have very work-rough hands, add a thick layer of your moisturiser and a pair of cotton gloves before bed for a few nights and rubber gloves when you are cleaning or doing the dishes for super moisturisation! It works for Victoria Beckham apparently, so it is good enough for me!
Et voila. Not quick, not a rush, but very definitely worth the effort!