Want a perfect manicure minus the expense of a trip to your local nail bar?

Dana Caruso, Global Beauty Expert for the Nail and Skin Institute, gives us all the expert tips for gorgeous nails.

Step 1. Cut and file your nails into your preferred shape

Dana's tip: Sawing back and forth with a rough file can fray nail tips, making them more prone to shredding, and disrupting nail plate layers, which causes splitting and peeling. Instead, use a fine-grade emery board to prevent peeling and always file in one direction with a gentle side-to-center sweeping motion.


Step 2. Soak your fingertips in water for three minutes to soften your skin, before massaging some oil into your cuticles, using an orange stick to push them back slightly.

Dana's tip: The cuticle is a thin strip of skin that runs along and around the base of the nail and protects it by acting as a barrier against bacteria. If neglected, your cuticles will become dry, rough and potentially sore. It is only necessary to groom a cuticle when it is cracked and torn so as to prevent further tearing. My golden rule is to only remove what is torn, cracked, or lifted, and never what is attached and intact.


Step 3. Massage an exfoliating scrub over your hands, focusing on any areas of particularly rough skin. Rinse off, pat your hands dry and smooth on an ultra-hydrating hand cream.

bh recommends: A'Kin Unscented Intensive Hand, Nail and Cuticle Treatment.

Step 4. Use some polish remover to clean the surface of your nails, and apply your base coat.

Dana's tip: If you want chip-free polish then your prep is paramount! Cleaning the nail surface to remove any oils or debris is beyond important as, coupled with base coat, a clean nail acts as an anchor to grip colour on to the nail plate and ensure extended wear.


Step 5. Select your fave nail shade and get to work carefully painting your nails.

Dana's tip: First, wipe any excess polish from the brush on to the inner rim of the bottle. Now, paint a stripe down the center of your nail, followed by one on either side. Finish with a thin strip across the very tip. To prevent a messy application, avoid overloading the brush.


Step 6. Depending on the intensity of pigment you’re after, apply two to three thin coats of polish and allow each to dry completely before applying a clear top coat.

Dana's tip: Top coat acts as a shield and protector for your nail colour. It seals in the manicure and prevents chipping and peeling.


Want to go French without going wonky?

Dana's tip: Cut out curved smile line pieces from the sticky section of a large Post-It note and press them on to each nail so that only the tip is exposed. Apply white polish and allow it to dry. Peel off the paper and finish with an application of top coat.


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