Learning to do nails really well at home means always looking impeccably groomed. Having great looking nails gives a laid back, clean polish, which helps avoid excessive grooming fuss in the morning. A home manicure saves time and, in the long term, money on beauty treatments. Beautifully polished nails look pretty and will help you to feel happy all day, each time you catch sight of them.
What to Aim For in a Good Home Manicure
While luxury salon manicures involve a hand massage that cannot be achieved at home, the average manicure is about polishing hands and getting the nail varnish on. This is very different to a spa pedicure, which has longer-term therapeutic benefits for hard working feet. Unlike capturing the spirit of a proper pedicure at home, it is possible to do a home manicure as a pared down version of a salon one. Rather than an extended, luxury treatment, a home manicure should aim for something like a shape and paint in a salon; with the emphasis on making hands look groomed.
Choosing the Best Nail Products
Choosing professional quality products, especially nail colour, is essential if aiming for a satisfying home manicure. Professional products are harder wearing, easier to apply and last for longer in the bottle. This will lead to fabulous looking nails that should last up to a week, depending on lifestyle.
Professional does not have to mean expensive as many professional nail products are mid-priced, rather than relying on glitzy marketing to sell an expensive price tag. Recent trends in nails have meant that professional nail brands are now available to buy on the high street.
- For a fabulous range of colors, finishes and the latest trends try Essie, Opi and Jessica, available from salons, department stores and the internet.
- For the very highest performance and essential professional manicure accessories, try Leighton Denny.
- For a non-spa brand that stands up to the professionals in terms of wear and fashion direction, try Nars. Gorgeous packaging and the Nars name also makes these polishes a fabulous gift or luxury treat.
Steps For a Perfect Home Manicure
- Use a hand scrub or gentle salt body scrub to buff away dead skin and leave hands feeling soft and invigorated. Scrubs containing essential oils add a therapeutic feel to a home manicure. This is an optional step if saving time or money.
- Massage in a small amount of a non-greasy hand cream.
- Cut nails and, if necessary, file them gently.
- Use nail polish remover to remove old color and to wipe over nail, clearing any cream or oil residue that would prevent polish from bonding.
- Those using a cuticle remover should do this now. Soak, gently trim and remove hard skin and cuticles. Keeping hands in generally good condition and using a scrub will remove any need for this step.
- Paint nails: For very absorbent nails or strong colours a base coat can be used, although many professionals seem not to. Two coats of polish followed by top-coat gives glossy, bright and hard wearing nails.
- Use an instant nail drier such as Leighton Denny’s Miracle Drops. This makes nails touch-dry, not completely hardened, in seconds and means that they are less likely to be smudged.
- Tidy up nails using a professional brush and nail polish remover.
- Try and leave nails to dry for 10 – 15 mins before attempting careful tasks and for a full hour before wearing gloves or doing anything heavy duty like washing up.
Easy Home Manicure Tips
In order to do a perfect home manicure, a steady hand is needed but this really can be developed with practice. For at least 5 years now, the fashion has been for strong colour on short nails. This not only looks sophisticated but it is perfect for working women who do not have time to worry about breaking a nail. It is also easier to paint, so practice on getting this right before graduating to doing anything requiring more accuracy such as a French manicure.
- Smokers or those with stained nails could try a sachet of Talika Instant Manicure, after removing polish, to brighten up fingertips.
- Remember that nails need sunlight to look healthy. Once a week manicures are perfect because the polish usually lasts 3 – 5 days. After this time, remove color that is starting to chip, moisturise and leave the nail bare for a couple of days.
When painting nails, use two medium-thick coats of polish. That is a glossy opaque looking coat that is not gloopy or dripping off the nail. Being too frugal with the polish will also lead to a messy looking, patchy nail that chips quicker. Generally, the right coat can be achieved by dipping the brush in the bottle in between each nail, and lightly sweeping off any dripping polish on the side of the bottle neck, before applying.
Similarly when looking to buy nail color, avoid products that are too thin and runny because these will be harder to use. Often a difficult application is just down to a low-quality product, so try to start with a professional nail color.
Knowing how to do a good home manicure, is the best way to ensure that purchases of pretty nail polish do not end up at the back of a cupboard. Getting regular use out of products that often get forgotten or thrown away is a great way to get value for money, as well as enjoy the luxuries that we can afford