Give yourself a professional manicure

If the credit crunch has got you tightening your purse strings, you might think a manicure is a luxury you just can’t afford. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get your nails looking good, in fact you don’t even need to step into a salon. 

You can get your nails looking salon-great in the comfort of your own home, with little effort, expense or time. Simply follow the four steps below to achieve salon-perfect talons. All you’ll need is: nail polish remover, cotton wool pads, cuticle remover, cuticle stick (often called a hoof stick), an emery board and some clear or coloured nail polish.

1. Clean your hands

The first thing you need to do before you start a manicure is make sure your hands and nails are nice and clean. Using the pointed end of a cuticle stick, dig out any dirt from underneath your nails, taking care not to jab your nail bed.

2. Remove cuticle 

Once your hands and nails are clean and dry, apply some cuticle remover to the cuticles which is the skin that covers the top of the nail. Let the remover sink in for a few minutes and then gently push back the moistened cuticle with the cuticle stick. This should not be painful, if it is then chances are you are pushing too hard with the stick.

3. File your nails

Once your cuticles have been carefully pushed back you can start to file the nail ends. Make sure to move in one direction from the end of the nail to the centre and the same on the other side. Moving your emery board back and forth along the edge of your nails will weaken them and may cause them to split. Aim to create a natural looking oval shape, that is neither too square nor too pointed but in line with the natural shape of your fingers.

When you are pleased with the shape, gently brush the nail file in a downwards movement across the end of your nail to get rid of any excess nail ends.

4. Apply nail polish

Once you are happy with the shape of your nails, apply a coat of clear or coloured nail polish to each nail. Pick up a small amount of polish on your brush and paint one stroke down the centre of your nail. Your brush should hold just enough colour to accomplish this. Next, gently apply a stroke of polish to the sides of the nail. The nail should be completely coloured in three strokes. Allow to set for a minute or so before applying the second coat.

If you wear polish regularly it is advisable to take it off and leave nails bare for at least two days a week to ensure healthy growth.

Picture caption: Give the salons a run for their money with a home manicure