PREP YOUR NAILS by removing any old nail polish with a non-acetone remover. If your nails are longer than a centimetre, trim them with few short snips with sharp nail scissors. Using nail clippers or cutting off too much at once can tear the nail.
SHAPE your nails, with a fine-grained emery board, into softly rounded squares. File from the outside corners toward the middle, or across in one direction and resist filing the sides of the nails as it weakens them.
SUPER SOFTEN – Soak nails for five minutes in a small bowl filled with warm water and a few drops of liquid soap. This softens the cuticles and makes them easier to push back.
BRUSH over nails with a soft nailbrush to remove dirt and dead skin. Doing this daily actually stimulates nail growth.
CUTICLE CARE – Apply a cuticle cream and gently push the cuticle back with a soft towel or a cotton bud. If the nail is bumpy or has ridges, smooth the surface and prep the nail for polish with a buffer.
LASTING COLOUR – when applying your polish follow these tricks to make it last longer…
* Choose metallic or shimmery polishes – they contain mica, a mineral that adheres to the nail and makes the colour stick longer.
* Brush on two thin coats – they’ll dry more evenly than one thick gloopy coat.
* Avoid quick-dry nail polishes – they have less pigment and are more solvent than your normal polish so they don’t have a long life span.
* Apply top coat five minutes after you’ve done your nails – because if the polish doesn’t set, it will thin out and become more prone to chipping.
DRY TIME – Allow your polish to dry at least half an hour to avoid smudges. You can try running nails under cold water to speed up the drying process but still be careful until you’re sure they are actually dry!
DIY HAND TREAT – To give your hands a home-spa treatment: exfoliate your hands, then massage in a treatment cream or apply your favourite nourishing face masque. Next slip on some cotton gloves and leave on for 30 minutes.