Yes, I miss my mum and I miss hugs and I miss being able to go further than Aldi. But I also miss those sweet, sweet hours spent in the nail salon. I don’t think anything can compete with the feeling of freshly manicured and painted nails, especially when done by an expert who manages to get the polish only where it’s intended. Maybe it’s because our hands are used to explore the world and are in almost constant line of sight, thanks to laptops and phones being an almost an extension of our hands, but a decent manicure can make me feel so much better: more polished, more myself, and more like a grown up with their sh*t together.
These weeks in isolation have somehow resulted in my nails growing longer and stronger than they have in months (perhaps something to do with the supplements I’m remembering to take,) to the point I’ve had to actually file them back because they were getting to a length that annoyed me every time I typed. Small wins. With hands that don’t look truly terrible comes the sudden desire to make them look marginally better, but with nail salons shut across the world how can you ensure a salon-worthy manicure from the comfort of your own home?
Here are my top five tips for a perfect at-home manicure…
TIP ONE: Your five year old knackered nail file won’t cut it if you want professional results; you need to invest in a decent set of emery boards that are lengthy, sturdy and relatively coarse. In my experience glass, handbag sized or novelty nail files just don’t cut it – it’s the boring chunky ones that are the best, but they’ll only set you back about a quid. You want to use the file to firstly shape the nail from the top down (rather than starting with the sides,) and then finish with a little downward motion on the edge of your nail to get rid of any little unruly fragments for a super flush edge… Just like the pros do it, and a great start to your perfect at-home manicure.
TIP TWO: My at-home mani sessions have been revolutionised after treating myself to some more specialist tools. I’m definitely one of those people that sit in a salon chair paying special attention to everything they’re doing and everything they’re using, in an attempt to brush up my own technique, and that’s paid dividends through the discovery of a couple of must-haves. My Tweezerman Pushy & Nail Cleaner Tool helps to push away residue and skin from the surface of each nail, while lifting away overgrown cuticles that can look messy; a pair of Cuticle Nippers then effortlessly trims away the excess skin to leave a perfectly manicured and neat nail behind. It’s these two things that really make all the difference and can create a salon-worthy manicure from the comfort of your own home.
TIP THREE: Once you’ve done the prepping and preening, it’s time to start the pampering. A hand scrub (my personal fave is the Beauty Kitchen 60 Second Manicure) can buff away any dryness to leave skin super soft and radiant, while a hand mask will help to speedily hydrate and soften even the most overworked of digits. The Kure Bazaar Natural Manicure Ritual is only £6.00 and includes super hydrating lotion to nourish hands in as little as ten minutes, but you could also create a similar effect at home with your favourite hand cream and a pair of marigolds!
TIP FOUR: The most important step of all is your chosen polish colour, but be careful not to overload the nail. The trick is to use as little polish as possible so the colour can be built up flawlessly – most of the time I apply three coats, and the similar can be said of most salons. If you want a salon-worthy manicure then apply first down the middle, following with two strokes either side; don’t try to go too close to the edge and correct any mistakes with the side of another (clean) nail. I used Kure Bazaar nail polish in ‘Mineral’ and a clear top coat, not forgetting to ‘seal’ the edge of the nail by running the brush along the top.
TIP FIVE: Finally, a little cuticle oil helps to hydrate the skin around the nail and leave your manicure looking super profesh; it also helps to nourish the cuticle itself and promote healthy future growth. I’ll never forget being told by a nail technician with incredible nails that she sets an alarm on her phone to apply cuticle oil multiple times a day – it makes THAT MUCH difference. Don’t forget your finishing touch of a little hand cream too!
Ta-da. Even if the world is going to hell and you don’t know what day it is, your nails will look fabulous.
Will you be attempting to give yourself a perfect at-home manicure?
SHOP THE PRODUCTS