Getting a manicure is a great way to relax and an even better way to catch up with the latest gossip! But what if you want to do it yourself? Kreol offers eight tips to help you be a better manicurist.

Neatly trimmed nails with tidy cuticles give a well-groomed finish to your overall appearance. A full manicure is both practical and luxurious, and it is easy to do.

To prepare for your manicure you will need to gather nail polish remover, cotton balls, Q-tips, emery boards, cuticle remover, hand cream, nail hardener, nail colour, topcoat, hoof stick and orange sticks.

Tip ➊: Remove

Hold a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover against each nail for few moments, then wipe it off with a single stroke. This allows the remover time to dissolve the polish so that it comes off easily and doesn’t smear all over your fingers. Remove stubborn polish that remains around the cuticle or sides of the nail with a Q-tip dipped in polish remover.

Tip ➋: File

Use the fine side of an emery board to shape your nails. Hold the board at a 45-degree angle, so that you are filing from slightly underneath. Use light strokes in one direction only, from the sides towards the centre. Avoid filing the nails to a point. Aim for straight sides, then round off the tip so that it echoes the oval shape of the cuticle. Don’t rush, as bad filing can contribute to breaking and splitting.

Tip ➌: Bevel

Nail layers tend to separate slightly during filing; they will soon dry out and peel if left in this condition. Smooth down the edges of your nails by bevelling, so that the outer tip is slightly angled. Hold your emery board upright and “brush” the top nail layer downwards and the bottom layer upwards.

Tip ➍: Condition

Apply a little cuticle conditioning cream to the base of each nail and massage it in gently. This moisturises and conditions the skin so that the cuticle becomes more supple and less likely to crack. It also helps to treat nails that are dry and brittle. The massage action helps to stimulate healthy growth and gives a rosy blush to natural nails. If you run out of nail conditioner, use a little hand cream or body moisturiser.

Tip ➎: Shape

Starting with the little finger, apply a small amount of cuticle remover to the base of each nail. Allow time for it to work, then return to each finger and gently nudge back the cuticle with a hoof stick or orange stick wrapped in cotton. If there is a large build-up of cuticle, be gentle, as it may take several manicures before you create the desired shape.

Tip ➏: Harden

Apply hand cream generously to your hands and work in well. Wash your hands to clean off any cuticle remover or excess grease, as nail polish will not adhere well to an oily surface. Dry carefully and apply nail hardener according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Over-using hardener can make nails hard and brittle. Some hardeners are only meant to be applied to the nail tip, while others shield the entire nail.

Tip ➐: Coat and Polish

Before applying nail colour, brush a base coat over the entire nail. This acts as a barrier and helps prevent nail polish, especially dark colours, from staining your nails. Also, by acting as a primer, it helps your nail polish last longer. Heavily ridged nails can be smoothed with special ridge-filling base coats, while fragile nails can be strengthened with special protective coverings.
Paint on the nail colour in three strokes, starting with the middle and working out to the sides. Brush from the cuticle to the tip. If you wipe the brush on the side of the polish bottle first, there should still be enough polish for all the nails on one hand. Most nail polishes require at least two coats.

Tip ➑: Finish

Paint on a clear top coat and reapply it every day. Top coat prolongs the life of your manicure, protects against chipping, and adds a glossy finish. Your manicure will become dry to the touch within 15 to 20 minutes, but may take up to five hours to become solid. Avoid artificial drying, with cold water or a hair-dryer, as this can cause your polish to chip easily.

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