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Having a manicure at a salon can feel like one of life’s little luxuries, a pick-me-up if you’re feeling low and an oasis of calm in an otherwise busy week. However, sometimes it’s not possible to get to a salon to have your nails done, owing to schedule or budget issues and you don’t want your hands to end up looking tatty so we’ve put together some tips to help you to achieve a salon-mani look at home, so that your hands don’t need to suffer.


Half of the work in having a manicure is getting your nails back to zero, so that they can begin the real work. This means removing old polish and giving the fingers a good coating with cuticle oil. This will soften the area and make removing ragged cuticles far easier. We’d recommend Decleor Ongles Nail Strengthening Serum, to revitalise the nails and surrounding skin. Use a wooden cuticle stick to push overgrown cuticles back and use clean nail scissors if you need a trim.


It’s amazing how different your hands can look when you take the time to file each nail into a neat, tidy shape and well-filed nails will be the difference between a perfect mani and a nail disaster. Use a curved nail file (NOT a metal one as these can split the nails) and only file in one direction to limit stress fractures.


Choosing the right colour is really important, as well as the TYPE of polish you use. If you want to get a really salon-like finish opt for the gel-nail dupe polishes that you find on the market as they’ll give you a more professional finish. However, if you’re not a big fan of colour or your painting skills just aren’t up to scratch, opt for a high-shine clear polish. It will give your nails a healthy sheen and make your hands look a lot more ‘finished’ than if you leave them completely bare.


Giving yourself a hand massage might seem like a really weird, or nigh-on impossible suggestion, but it’s actually surprisingly easy to give yourself a hand massage. Give your hands a liberal coating of Elemis British Botanical Hand and Nail Butter, which will not only feel great, but smell great too. Then, get to work! You can either go down the manual route and use your other hand, working into the palms and heels of your hands with your thumbs, or use something to roll your hands over like a bottle which allows you to find the pressure which feels right for you.