As a teacher, I don't tend to bother with making my nails look nice during term time as whatever I do doesn't seem to last long! So when the holidays come around, one of the first things I do is indulge in a manicure. I like doing this myself - if I spend money at a salon, I prefer it to be on a massage. Some of these steps use bought products and some are homemade - check out my post here for how to make your own lip and hand scrubs.
I apologise for the terrible state of my nails at the start of this post (they were even worse than usual as I had been trying out some new nail varnish) but I suppose at least it's authentic!
This pot from Bourjois is simply amazing. I dunk each nail in quickly then go back and swipe each one round a few times. I usually give my hands a quick wash afterwards.
I always use a file for this and go in one direction rather than a sawing action. A crystal file is on my wishlist as they are more gentle and long lasting.
I tend to do this in front of the TV - today it is Downton Abbey. Fill a bowl with warm water and add either some moisturising soak such as this one from the Body Shop or a little coconut oil and argan oil. Have a few towels handy to avoid spillages and having to run around with wet hands trying to find one!
Apply a cuticle cream and gently push your cuticles back with an orange stick.
For this step, you can use a scrub like this No7 one or have a go at making your own - it is so easy and I think it feels nicer too. use a fresh bowl of warm water and make sure you put a towel down first as it can get a bit messy. Rub the scrub between your hands for a minute or two - I tend to do this until the salt starts to dissolve. You may start to feel a little tingly or sensitive - stop before it becomes uncomfortable. Rinse well.
Find a really thick, indulgent moisturiser and slather it on. I like to use some Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream on any particularly dry areas. If you have manicure gloves put them on now, sit back and relax!
Either run your hands under the tap or use another bowl filled with a couple of drops of tea tree, lavender or other essential oil.
Step 8 - Moisturise
This time, use a lighter hand cream and rub it in well. This one from L'Occitane is free in this month's Marie Claire! Leave it to dry off a bit before the next step.
Applying a base coat stops your nails from staining and gives a smooth base for nail polish.
There are so many beautiful polishes out there to choose from. Apply 2 or 3 coats, letting it dry thoroughly between each. If you go over the edges, neaten up with nail polish remover on a cotton bud.
If you get polish on your skin, wait for your nails to dry thoroughly then soak in warm soapy water and the excess will just wash off!
Finish off with a layer of top coat to seal in the polish and hopefully make it last longer before chipping.
WORD OF WARNING!
Make your your polish is totally dry before applying your top coat - look what happened to my brand new Dior top coat! :(
What are your top tips for a manicure?
What are your current favourite nail polishes?