There is a lot to be said for giving yourself some much needed self-care, especially at the moment ( thanks covid! ) and what better way than a lovely manicure?! But what used to just require a little visit to the local nail salon, for many, is simply out of the question.
The DIY manicure is not a new thing. The tools and polishes have been available for a long time - but that’s not to say it's easy. With smudging, chipping and just making a mess a huge risk, we’ve listed out some steps, hints and tips to make your at-home summer nails look amazing! It’s also a great way to give yourself a little pick me up and feel ‘new’!
What you will need:
Nail-polish remover and cotton swabs or pads
Emery board and nail buffer
Cuticle pusher and nippers
Nail polish (traditional or gel)
UV lamp (if required)
Remove Old Nail polish
It’s all about the prep! Let’s start as we mean to go on and be professional to a T! Getting rid of old nail polish is essential. We like Sally Hansen Strengthening Nail Polish Remover (1) - let's face it, nail polish remover is harsh stuff, but this formula has nutrients to promote stronger, healthier nails and cuticles. Sally Hansen also has an acetone remover (2) for old gel polish.
It’s super important to then wash your hands with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly to make sure there is no remover residue left.
Clip, File & Buff
Trim nails to desired length (not too short), gently file with a gentle emery board, avoiding metal or course types, to the desired shape and buff the top and sides of the nails with a buffer. Buffing is important because a build-up of natural nail-oil residue can affect the finish of your manicure.
Make yourself comfy and give those hands a nice relaxing bath in warm water, for around 3-5 minutes. Too long can actually soften the skin and nails too much, risking damage later on.
Using a cuticle remover (not a balm or an oil) - follow the applications instructions carefully as some can be very strong. Avoid cutting your cuticle away - we need then to protect our nails from outside bacteria, instead use your cuticle pusher to gently push the cuticle away from the nail. Be careful not to push too far as it can damage the delicate unexposed nail.
Moisturise Hands and Cuticles
Give your hands a light massage with a small amount of your favourite hand moisturiser. We love Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve (3). Make sure you don’t over moisturise and wait until all of the moisturiser is soaked in before starting with the polish.
Whether you use traditional polish or one of the new gel polishes, you need to do a clear base coat. This creates a protective barrier protecting your nails from the damage, preventing staining and peeling, and it will give your polished nails a more even texture. If using gel polish, you might need to use your UV lamp to cure the nail.
Now the fun part! Carefully apply your first and second colour coats. We love the colours of Essie Gel Couture (4) nail polish but the world is truly your oyster here. Ideally, you want to be able to paint the whole nail in 3 strokes to avoid streaks. Between each coat, make sure the previous one is dry (or cured in the UV lamp if required).
A clear topcoat (5) protects the nail from damage and gives a nice smooth finish. Again, make sure your previous polish coating is completely dry first.
For any wobbly edges or polish that’s gone over to the skin, dip a cotton bud in some nail polish remover and use it to carefully tidy up the messy bits. Leave your nails to completely dry now for a good 5 minutes.
Why not hey? Giving your hands another good moisturise will make them look lovely and supple - the perfect accessory to your swish new summer nails!
Whether it’s doing your nails, a face mask or a relaxing bubble bath with a good book - self-care should be a high priority at the moment. Take some time out, pamper yourself, you deserve it!
- Sally Hansen - Strengthening Nail Polish Remover
- Sally Hansen - Salon Gel Polish Acetone Remover
- Keihl's -Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
- Mecca - Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish
- Mecca - Essie Nail Polish Gel Couture Top Coat