10 tips for a professional home manicure

I rarely visit a salon to have my nails done. Over the years I’ve managed to develop a pretty steady hand and have managed to perfect the at home mani. Here are a few tips for those of you who are considering taking care of your own nails or are just looking for some tips for a great mani.

1. A matter of time.
In the movies I see women quickly painting their tips and toes before rushing out the door. I’ve even seen brides quickly giving themselves a quick pedi before heading out for their big day. This is a sure fire way to ensure smudges, dents and smears. Give yourself a little time (at least half an hour) do it while watching tv or while winding down for the evening. There is nothing worse than spending time getting your nails perfected and then ruining them while putting on your seat belt. Give yourself time to dry!
2. Comfort is key.
Seat yourself at a table or desk, sitting on the floor or lying on your bed won’t allow you to have as steady a hand as is needed. You’ll be there a little while so you may as well be comfy
3. You can’t prep enough
Get rid old polish completely using a good quality nail polish remover. Cut the tips down to your desired length and then use a good quality file to get the shape you like.  Use a cuticle softener and orange stick to give your nails a nice clean frame. Cut any hang nails with cuticle trimmers and give your nails a little buff. Then wash your hands properly as any remnants of acetone could make your new polish bubble and bits of filing will leave your mani lumpy.
4. Make good choices.
Both in quality and colour. With time you will discover what colours look good on you and which don’t. I know that I can’t wear mid tone pinks and I don’t generally  like sheer finishes.  Choose the best brand you can afford when choosing classic colours or those you know you will use for many years. Super fashion or seasonal colours that you might only use a few times are less of an investment and you can buy the cheapie. In my humble opinion every woman should own a good bottle of red polish and a neautral “your nails but better” shade like OPIs bubble bath (I’m up to my 3rd bottle of this gorgeous pink polish)
5. Take care of your polish
A good, smooth manicure relies on polish that is looked after properly. I have bottles that are over five years old and still look as fresh as when I first bought them. Make sure to store them out of direct sunlight and away from direct heat as this can change the formula and colour. I keep mine upright in a drawer. Take them out every now and then and roll them about to fix any separation or lumpiness  and put some in some polish thinner if they have thickened up. Make sure to screw the lid on tightly and clean up any spills on the lip of the bottle or you will find that the lid may get stuck and your polish unusable
6. Lay down the base
A base coat acts as a primer to allow the polish to go down smoothly. It is also very important to prevent staining of your natural nails. The pigment from red and other dark polishes will leave your nails yellowed or stained with colour if you don’t protect them. I recommend that you invest a little bit of money in a good base coat.
7.Take it slow
Don’t rush through it, apply one thin coat  and let it dry. Don’t make the mistake of trying to save time and applying just one thick coat as you will most definitely flood your cuticles and end up with a messy finish that won’t dry properly. Don’t apply your second coat too soon after your first or you risk streakiness and tugging. Some polish formulas (eg jelly formulas) may need three coats while creme formulas usually require two.
8. Less can be  more
Your whole nail does not need to be completely covered in polish. Too often we see manicures that look terrible as the painter hasn’t cleaned up properly or wandered too close to the edges of the nail. Those with particularly wide nail beds can make their nails appear longer and narrower by leaving space on either side of the polish. When applying polish you need to start painting a millimeter or two from the cuticle and paint away from it and run the brush in long strokes to the tip of the nail. This is the difference between an amateur and a professional looking job.  If you slip and get polish in your cuticles on your skin then use a small brush (cheap eyeshadow brushes are the best for this) soaked in remover to clean up the skin.
9. Top it off.
Once you’re happy with the look of your polish it’s a good idea to finish it all off and seal your colour with a top coat. These days there are a number of different finishes including matte or super glossy and you might choose to apply a glitter top coat. If your mani starts looks a bit dull after a few days pop another coat of top cost on and see it come back to life! Top coats are also a good idea if your polish has glitter in it as it encases it and smooths it down. A good top coat will make your manicure last longer
10. Get creative
Check out the amazing nail polish artists on Instagram, the looks you can achieve with just a small collection of key colours polish is amazing. You can play with colours and textures and really express yourself through your designs. You can sponge, stamp or use decals, there are liquid sand, feathery or magnetic effects polish that can look really Impresive. You will buy shades that sit unused or you find don’t look as good on you as swatches so find other nail polish addicts amongst your friends and swap and borrow.
And that’s about it! I find painting my nails an almost zen like experience and do it twice a week. I hope this post has been interesting and has given you a couple of tips to perfect your technique
Leave a comment below and let me know .. What’s on your nails right now?
Lipstick 'n' Linguine
About me


giorgio armani luminous silk
January Beauty Favourites
January 30, 2016
New! OPI Venice collection
September 05, 2015
Delicious Donut Sprinkle nails
July 08, 2015
NaiMania – OPI Gwen Stefani Holiday collection
February 01, 2015
NailMania – A first attempt at ombre nails.
January 30, 2015
NailMania – On the run! Quick dry solutions.
January 26, 2015
NailMania – OPI Neons Collection
January 23, 2015
Quickie Galaxy nails ft OPI Comet in the sky
January 20, 2015
NailMania – The BEST OPI glitters
January 19, 2015

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.