How to do a manicure at home

20170216_181229There is something about a well shaped nail-perfectly polished, that transcends onto your entire being. Anytime they look disheveled, my appearance seems to follow suit.

I have as a makeup artist, painted nails many times before. Although not a professional nail technician, I hope this guide will encourage you to feel confident, for when you want to make them look immaculate at home.


I purposely let my nails go into a bit of a state. I have what my family call “clean issues”, where I over wash my hands because I worry about germs. I generally need a strengthener on them weekly otherwise they break.



Remove any nail varnish prior to this.  I love exfoliating my hands before a manicure. With the cold weather especially, it makes a nice treat. I just mixed some sugar and olive oil and massaged on my hands for a few minutes and then rinsed.



As I am not a professional, I tred with caution. I do not like soaking the nails, so I use either Cuticle cream or a rich moisturiser, and very lightly push back my cuticles using a cuticle stick.



Ideally a glass nail file is much better, but I had this one on hand. With glass, you can disinfect and go back and forth on the nail without damaging it.

If you do not have glass, file in one direction. I start by filing along the sides of my nails and then go onto the shape. Round in my opinion is much easier. Curve the file along-do the edges first and then the tip after.

Be careful of using a nail file too rough. It helps to look at your nails with your hands down, instead of open palms. I bend my knees and rest my hands on them.



Once filing is complete, clean your nails with nail varnish remover. Be sure to clean under. Cleaning again before painting is essential. Any oil or residue can effect the polish.

The trick with painting is thin layers. If you are using a base coat, you want to apply it fast and effortlessly. Do not build up layers with it.

Make sure your polish is in good condition. If it’s not, even the best of hands will struggle. A tiny bit of nail varnish remover can help paint that has gone too thick. Nevertheless, this will not be a long term solution. To help keep them in good condition, avoid wiping on the top of the tube.

When painting, take the brush out the tube-as you are taking it out, wipe the brush along the side of the tube, and then use the other side to paint. Start in the centre, about two thirds down, and push the brush down as far as it can go, before the brush goes near your cuticles. Depending on your nail shape, you may have more of a gap. I like to give the brush a little wiggle and then go back up. I do the same for the sides as well.

For your first layer, think of it as creating a guide ready for the second coat. Avoid the temptation to keep going over and over the nail with your brush. Once it’s applied and smooth, move on to the next nail. Remember the first layer is not the finished piece.

I always include a top coat. This should be the easiest to apply at the end and does not need so much consideration. Always leave a few minutes in between painting.


For the fast effect, use nail drops or a fast drying spray.

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