New year new nails

Whether you’re on a budget after splurging at Christmas and you’re trying to save money or simply too busy to make an extra stop at the salon, there’s a lot to love about an at-home manicure. Follow these easy steps to ensure salon-quality gel polish results without paying for a second set of hands.

Background information:

Gel nail polish is not a new phenomenon. In fact, women everywhere have been taking a seat in the salon chair and baking on polish under UV lights for years now. These days its possible to DIY with everything from fool proof gel kits to hybrid polishes that deliver the same glossy look without UV, time-consuming removal and an expensive in-salon price tag.

Of course, as with all things beauty, preparation and attention to detail is key. If you want a home manicure that goes the distance you will need to ensure you have a clean and tidy nail plate. Here’s how to prime your nail plate at home…

Step one:

Be prepared! Get all the equipment you need at the ready before you start your manicure. This will avoid you chipping a paint job when hunting for that missing cotton wool stick or your gel nail polish remover when you make a mistake.

Step two:

It may sound obvious but always start by washing your hands, especially if you have recently used nail varnish remover, this will give your new application of varnish longevity and encourage the paint not to chip.

Step three:

File your nails into your desired shape – square, oval, squoval or pointed are common choices – but be careful to only shape the free edge (the white section). Resist the temptation to go further as it will weaken the nail’s structure and increase the chances of snapping.

Step four:

Once your nails are clean and dry you can then apply a small bead of cuticle cream to each cuticle and massage it into the surrounding skin gently to replenish the skin. Next, take a wooden manicure stick and rub the slanted edge of it across the nail plate in circular motions to lift away any dead cuticle and flaking nail.

Tip: Don’t apply too much pressure when you do this. If you press too hard you risk denting your nail plate or jabbing the delicate skin surrounding it.

Step five:

Use a cuticle cutter to carefully trim away any dead cuticle, skin or over hanging nail which has lifted. Be careful not to cut into the eponychium (healthy skin above the cuticle as this can damage the nail)

Step six:

Finally, take the time to wash your hands a final time to remove the dust from filing and any cuticle cream residue.

Your nails are now ready for your polish application so make sure you follow the instructions of your chosen gel brand when adding the perfect lick of paint.