A professional manicure is a nice treat on special occasions, but weekly, it becomes very expensive. To get a perfect manicure at home, first ensure you paint your nails somewhere with strong light and make sure you are not working with old polishes because they become very gloopy and guarantee a poor result. They will also take much longer to dry, which means you will most likely end up with a juicy imprint. If you have long hair, tie it back or else you might get a loose strand dragging across your freshly painted nail.
My must-have tools/products:
Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover: Having neat cuticles is crucial for a professional looking manicure. I love this remover because it is faster and easier to use than a cuticle trimmer. I also think it provides better, smoother results. Be careful not to spill it on anything though – it can damage surfaces.
Revlon Stainless Steel Nail Groomer: I cannot do a manicure without this tool. It is perfect for gently reshaping the cuticle and evening out the area under your nail.
Tweezerman Rockhard Cuticle Nipper: Excellent at getting rid of hangnails.
Buffer: If you don’t have time to polish your nails OR you want a really shiny manicure, use a buffer. I find they do need to be replaced fairly often for you to get a really shiny result, but it is well-worth it. This can be an ideal alternative to polish when you are travelling for a long period of time and you don’t want to deal with chips.
Crystal Nail File: For years I used metal files and then disposable files until someone gave me one of these. Without a doubt, this is the type of file you should use for the best, smoothest result. They are durable and last for a long time.
Base & Top Coat: Always use a base and top coat. I am not as fussy about the quality of my base coats because most of them seem to do fairly well. The top coat is the most important and I prefer fast drying top coats, even though they tend to have more shrinkage issues. Shown above are my favourites – the Deborah Lippman ‘Fast Girls’ Base Coat and Addicted to Speed Top Coat. Another good fast drying top coat is the famous Seche Vite.