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Nothing says ‘elegant and groomed’ quite like perfectly polished nails, but with busy lives and mounting costs, it isn’t always possible to get to the salon for a little TLC.

We have some easy to follow steps that can help you get salon-quality, beautiful looking nails at home so your hands always look fabulous.

Tools
If you want your nails to look good you need to make sure you have the right tools:

  • Nail varnish remover and cotton wool pads
  • Nail clippers
  • Cuticle pusher
  • Emery board and nail buffer
  • Hand and nail moisturisers
  • Base coat
  • Nail polish
  • Protecting topcoat

Take your time
Like many things in life, practice makes perfect and this is the case when it comes to a DIY polish job. Try to make it a relaxing experience, don’t rush and try to have fun.

Clean up
Remove any old varnish still on your nails. There is a wide choice of products out there and whilst an acetone-based remover is harsher than non-acetone removers, they do get the job done faster. Regardless of which remover you do use, it is worth remembering that they all have a drying effect on your nails and cuticles so minimise contact and avoid soaking your nails in remover as your skin will really suffer.

Shape up
Just as if you were at a salon, you will need to clip and shape your nails before very gently filing them into the right shape. If you have dry nails you may want to soak them in warm water before you start filing to prevent any breakages. When it comes to files avoid metal and very coarse options as these can cause splintering. Go for a slightly abrasive emery board or even try a crystal nail file. The most popular looks are slightly rounded or a square-rounded edge but experiment and see what works best for you. Take your time to carefully file and smooth the tops and sides of the nails and once you are happy with the shape then use a buffer to get an even surface.

Sit back and soak
With the nails shaped you can now relax and give you hands a soak. Fill a bowl with warm water and a add little face cleanser and then soak your nails and cuticles for a few minutes.

Cuticles
With the skin soft and relaxed, it is time to work on your cuticles. This can be a very sensitive area so it is a good idea to take your time as you gently push the cuticle back away from the nail with a cuticle-pushing tool. Taking care not to cut into or damage the skin.

Moisturise
Our hands are really put through the mill on a daily basis so at this point rub a good quality oil or cream into the skin so it is really hydrated, plumped and and replenished. Nail varnish doesn’t tend to like these creams so before getting to work with the top coat just make sure these products are rubbed in and any residue is taken off the nails with a little cotton wool.

Painting
The key to successful nails is to pain in layers. For the best results start with a base-coat which will help protect your nails from staining, keep them strong and ensure your polish lasts a little longer without chipping.

Once this is dry, shake your chosen polish (lid on of course) and then apply your first coat of colour. The pro guidance for polish is to use two coats and then a topcoat as this will make your nails look really vibrant and shiny.

Top tips
Don’t worry too much about mistakes – they happen to the best of us and can be easily corrected with a little remover on a cotton wool bud. Give yourself some time for your nails to dry and then you are ready to go.

Using a lighter colour on your nails as this makes mistakes and everyday chips and knocks less noticeable.

To keep your mainucre looking fresh and professional you can touch up the nail polish as and when it is needed and you can add another topcoat for that salon finish.

Finally remember to keep a tube of nourishing hand cream in your handbag to ensure your skin and nails are kept healthy and hydrates and if you can remember gloves when you are outside, all the better.