A manicure is a quick way to inject some personality and life into your everyday style, but a lot of us don’t have the time or money to head down to the nail salon regularly. I have been mastering the art of how to do a manicure at home for years. The first step? Invite some friends over and turn it into a Sex & The City-style gossip/mani-pedi session.
1. Get your makeshift salon ready with a bowl of warm water, nail clippers/scissors, nail polish remover, cotton swabs, a nail file, a nail buff, moisturizer, an orange stick, a base coat, your nail polish of choice and a top coat or clear polish.
2. A pile of celebrity gossip magazines and some head-bopping music is essential. If it’s after 11am, why not vamp it up and add some cocktails to the mix? A little alcohol makes for better gossip.
3. First things first. Remove your old nail polish. The quickest way? Soak a cotton swab nail polish remover. Wipe it over each nail, one by one. Then, go back to the first nail and start again.
4. Trim your nails, clean them out, do whatever you have to do to make them squeaky clean and even. I prefer to use nail scissors for the trim and then a file to even them out. Oval-shaped, square-shaped, it doesn’t matter. Finally, use a nail buff to get your nails looking smooth and shiny. Once they are trimmed, wash your hands in the bowl of warm water, using a gentle soap.
5. At this point, I always wash my hands again and then rub some moisturizer on them. Some people even use a hand scrub to remove dead skin.
6. Push back your cuticles with an orange stick and clip any hangnails. Obviously, you want to be gentle with this procedure (i.e. don’t break the skin or pull). (Beauty Extra: Using a good hand moisturizer regularly will help keep your cuticles soft and prevent hangnails!)
7. It’s time for the base coat. If you thought the base coat was another beauty myth, you thought wrong (I learnt this back in 1999 when I went through my first black polish phase). Paint the base coat on in three quick strokes; one down the middle, then one on each side.
8. Cocktail time! Also known as “waiting for the base coat to dry”. Wait at least 15 minutes / one cosmopolitan.
9. Pick out your nail polish. If you have really great girl friends, they’ll have brought a rainbow of choices for you to pick from. Roll the bottle between your hands so it gets nicely shaken up.
10. Dip the brush into the bottle and wipe excess polish off at the top of the bottle. Use the same method as you did with the base coat; three quick strokes, one down the middle and then one on each side. Obviously you want to avoid getting any polish on your skin, but if you do, roll a toothpick soaked in nail polish remove over the stain to get rid of it.
11. Repeat the above step and then add a top coat or a clear polish to finish things off.