You may not always have the luxury of time to visit the salon to have your nails fixed, but the good thing is that you can do it yourself and with time and practice, you will get better at it.

1          Prepare your nails. Remove previous polish by rubbing a cotton ball dipped in nail polish remover on your nails; opt for an acetone-free formula.

Dip your hands one at a time in warm, soapy water for not more than 3 minutes, dry thoroughly with a soft towel. Before soaking your fingernails in water, either cut them or file them into shape. Avoid soapy or detergent-filled water, which only dries the skin and damages the cuticle. This is because when fingernails are wet, they are more prone to damage than when they are dry. Then, put some sugar or salt in a dish and pour on some olive oil. Massage the scrub into your hands, rinse then dry. If you want, you can rub extra oil (without sugar) into cuticles.

2          Apply a base coat. This is recommended because it helps the staying power of the manicure. Use a cuticle remover to push back your cuticles very gently. Avoid pushing the cuticles too far as this can damage nail growth or fray the cuticles. Avoid tearing, pulling too deeply or forcing into the cuticle in any way. Trim only the free edge of your cuticles.

3          Apply polish. The best method for painting nails is painting in vertical stripes; first a stripe down the middle and then down each side. Polish your nails in layers, allowing them to dry between coats. A minimum of four coats; base coat, two coats of colour, and a top coat is recommended. If your nails are weak or fragile, place one or two coats of ridge-filling nail polish on the nail as the base coat; this is the best way to shore up the nail. Next, apply two coats of a coloured nail polish, followed by a top coat to add shine and lustre.

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4          Allow your nails to dry. Allow the polish to dry completely. For pedicure, you can wear toe spacers or pedicure sandals. In a bid to get the polish to dry quickly, some use quick-dry polishes or quick-dry top coats. The disadvantage of these products is that they often contain alcohol, which can cause the polish to peel and chip more easily. Using a quick-dry oil or spray after polishing is a great way to remove smudges, but these won’t prevent nicks or dents in the polish, so be careful.

Once the polish is dry, massage a moisturizer or balm onto the cuticle area to enable healthy nail growth and protect the cuticle.

Avoid drying your nails with a blow dryer or any other heat source. Heat causes the polish to expand and detach from the nail.

Touching up polish every other day with a layer of top coat can help make a manicure last longer.



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