Finding the time to go for a manicure or pedicure can be a problem with increasingly busy lives. But that doesn’t mean you have to let your nails go naked if you are a colour lover – there are so many nail polishes on the market which promise you a professional look from the comfort of your living room. The problem is longevity. For some reason home manicures and pedicures seem more likely to chip and fall apart. So how can you get that salon look which will last? We caught up with Jackie Mason from SensatioNail for some tips.
Make sure you start with thoroughly clean hands. “Wash your hands in washing up liquid before a manicure,” recommends Jackie. “Many hand soaps contain moisturisers – great for hands but terrible for nail polish adhesion!” Then you need to prep your nails. “There’s a reason professional manicurists spend time on this – it makes a huge difference to how long your polish lasts,” explains Jackie. “Make sure you shape nails, filing in one direction only, gently push back the cuticles and buff away any natural shine, then wash your hands and dry them thoroughly.”
Making sure your cuticles are in check and well-trimmed will also make your manicure look more professional and tidy. First soak your nails in water, then push back the cuticles and use a cuticle trimmer to snip off any excess. There’s no point trying to use nail scissors as they won’t get in as tightly. Also do not try and rip them off! You risk damaging the area and will be left with a rough and ugly result anyway.
Did you know you have a ‘nail type’? Just as we have a hair type, our nails can be naturally oily or dry too. Knowing which type you have means you can approach your manicure differently and could be the reason your home version tends to chip more easily. “The easiest way to tell your nail type is how long polish usually stays on,” says Jackie. “If it comes off too easily – your nails are on the oily side so make sure your nail is gently buffed all over to remove any shine/natural oils. After use a cleanser to dehydrate the nail plate and use primer all over the nail. If your polish usually sticks like glue your nails are on the dryer side; you don’t need to buff as much and can just use the primer in an ‘0’ shape around the edge of your nail, or skip it altogether.”
There is something about the application in a salon which is so much tidier than at home! And some of the little tricks are why the manicure lasts longer. “Use the manicurist method for not getting polish on your cuticles,” says Jackie. “Instead of trying to start as close to the bottom of your nail as possible, start about ¼ of the way up. Pull polish up the centre, then up each side. Finally push the polish slowly down towards the cuticle – much easier to get a neater edge.”
As well as taking a bit more care on the bottom of your nails, it’s worth using a little trick on the tops too. “Always ‘cap’ your nails recommends Jackie. This means running the brush horizontally across the tip. “This seals the colour and helps prevent chipping and peeling.” And if you make a mistake – don’t panic. Clean it up with the end of a cuticle stick or a cotton bud dipped in a little nail varnish remover.
If you are a fan of a gel manicure there are now ways to get the look at home with kits which include the UV lamps found in salons. Lesley says there are some specific rules to follow when you are using this unique type of nail polish.
“Don’t try to apply gel polish outside – the sun in the biggest UV lamp going and your polish will harden on the brush!” says Jackie. It’s also worth checking out how powerful your lamp is and also which type of bulb it uses. “Don’t judge all lamps on their wattage – for example a 4.5w LED lamp will cure colours in 30 seconds as LED bulbs are far more efficient. A 36w UV lamp would take 3 minutes – 6 times as long!”
To make sure your gel manicure lasts make sure your nails are completely oil free. Wipe them over with a nail polish remover and don’t be tempted to use a cuticle oil as this will prevent the polish sticking. Make sure you follow the instructions for curing under the lamp carefully so they have the time they need to set. Rushing this part will just leave you needing to do them again sooner than you would like.
If you’re worried about wrinkled hands, we have put together a few tips to help them to stay looking young. And, if you feel that your hair could do with a change, why not try these simple look younger styling ideas.