The ultimate home manicure

Beauty editor Justine shows you how to give your hands some much-needed TLC

  • 482367337First remove old nail polish. Press a cotton pad soaked in remover over the entire nail, wait 5 seconds, then slide the pad off the nail in one action. The majority of the polish should remove in one sweep. A great method if you love wearing bold colours as you won’t get any staining on cuticles or the skin.
  • Cut your nails down to size first as filing vey long nails can weaken the sides, leading to breaks. Always use clippers or nail scissors.
  • Get your nails into shape. File when nails are totally dry as softened nails can break and flake. Using the softest grain on the emery board gently file in one direction towards the centre of the nail, avoiding using a sawing action.
  • Next dot a cuticle cream or butter along the cuticles and soak in warm water for a few minutes.
  • Using an orange stick, cotton bud or a cuticle pusher, gently ease the cuticles back. Don’t cut your own cuticles as this can lead to nasty infections.
  • Wipe nails with a damp cloth to remove excess oils and pat dry.
  • Apply a base coat. Don’t scrimp on this step as its job is to protect nails from staining and strengthen them too.
  • Apply two coats of your favourite colour over the top. Wipe any excess off the brush before you begin, apply down the centre of the nail and then paint either side and finish with a thin coat across the top of the nail.
  • Use a quick-dry topcoat to prevent chipping.
  • When nails are totally dry finish your home manicure with cuticle oil for extra nourishment.


  • Use a cuticle oil daily – massage it in when you have a spare five minutes or leave it by your bed to apply nightly. The daily massage will encourage nail growth too. We like Renunail Nourishing oil, £11.
  • Squoval (short, and square with rounded edges) or oval shapes are the most classic and flattering shapes for hands and the least likely to break.
  • Double up on a nail treatment and base coats. O.P.I Nail Envy, £18.65, transforms paper thin into strong and long, while Sally Hansen Miracle Cure, £9.99, makes nails 50% stronger in just 3 days.

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