When it comes to beauty maintenance, we women spend an enormous amount of money on hair stylists, spa treatments and splurging on that newest wonder face cream! However, according to a recent survey, we’re spending most of our time and money on our nails in 2014 devoting an average of $63 per month to keeping our nails up to scratch (up to ‘scratch!’ Ha!). This isn’t particularly surprising considering the majority of us are constantly trying to emulate celebrities with their perfectly groomed talons!
The fact is our nails say a lot about us! They’re an extension of our personality, allow us to express ourselves and really do need the same amount of TLC as our skin and hair! However, you don’t actually have to pay the pros to keep your nails looking healthy! You don’t even need to visit the nail salon to keep them beautifully painted! You really can treat your nails just like the pros from the comfort of your own home, so check out our 10 helpful tips and save your pennies once in a while!
(On the flip side of these pennies – if you have never visited a nail salon in your life and do not look after your nails at home either then these tips are for you too! Start taking care of your nails today!)
#1 Set Aside Some ‘You Time’
There’s nothing worse than having to rush your manicure! You will feel unnecessarily flustered and will more than likely end up with uneven lengths, smudged polish and untidy cuticles so take your time and put some love and care into it. It’s actually quite relaxing to listen to music or watch TV whilst working on your nails and even more satisfying when you’ve completed them so enjoy your ‘you time.’
#2 Perfect Nails Need Proper Prep
Sure it’s exciting to pick out the latest season’s nail polish colour and rush home to try it out; however, you need to make sure your nails are prepared properly first so don’t be too hasty! Be sure to gather everything that you’re going to need and start from the beginning – you won’t have to scramble around looking for things with wet nails if you’re prepared from the start.
Think about putting foundation on greasy skin without removing all the makeup, dry skin and oils from the day before (yuck), you just wouldn’t do it right? Well don’t do it with your nails either! Simply rub some nail polish remover over your nails to remove all traces of oil. The polish will adhere to the nail much better after a clean too! Bonus!
#4 File Correctly
Filing ensures your nails don’t split or have rough edges and it’s essential in getting that uniform shape that makes your nails look like they’ve been done professionally. Most people file incorrectly, however, so stick to these guidelines:
- Always file when your nails are dry.
- Stay away from metal files opting for an emery board instead!
- Make sure you file in one direction! That sawing motion we’re all guilty of actually weakens and splits the nail!
- File from the edge downwards at an angle until you get the shape you want (square nails with rounded edges are in style at the moment) However, it’s generally a good rule to follow the natural shape of your nail bed to prevent catching the edges of your nails on everything!
#5 Care For Your Cuticles
Do not cut your cuticles! Contrary to what some cuticle haters will tell you, they do actually serve a purpose and that is to protect your nails from infection! Instead:
- Soften cuticles with a cuticle cream, though bath or even olive oil will do the trick!
- Push them down with a wooden cuticle pusher.
- Use cuticle oil once a day to prevent hang nails. I recommend China Glaze Orange Cuticle Oil!
#6 Buff And Shine
Buffing smoothes out any uneven ridges, rids the nails of discolouration and gives them a healthy shine! You might not need to buff if your nails do not have uneven bumps or if you always wear matte coloured nail polish, but if you like to leave your nails bare or if you are a little short for time then:
- Use a buffer block and rub it over the nail in short strokes from the cuticle to the tip.
- Don’t get carried away and buff too often or too hard as you will damage your nails! Buffing only needs to be done once a month anyway to prevent weakening the nail.
#7 Apply a Base Coat
Always apply a base coat before your colour to prevent staining and peeling. It also gives the nail polish something to cling to making it last longer! I suggest choosing a base coat that has protein and Vitamin E within it to hydrate and strengthen the nail. Julep Nail Therapy Base Coat for instance is a very popular choice and promises dramatic results in just three days!
You can even buy ridge filler base coats that work as primers for the nail and excel in smoothing out the nail surface! So, if you have reached your buffing limit for the week then give the highly praised OPI Ridge Filler a go instead!
#8 Shop For Some Shades
Why visit the professionals for a quick paint when you can buy the whole bottle for half the cost and apply it yourself? It makes much more sense to have the option to instantly change your polish at the drop of a hat right? More conveniently, if it chips you won’t have to trek all the way to your salon to sort it out! Plus, adding nail polish to your collection is fun! It’s like being a kid in a candy store looking at all the beautiful colours on offer! Invest in brands such as OPI, Essie, Jessica, Seche and China Glaze for salon quality colour and application.
It takes a little practice to paint your nails perfectly so persevere with it! Simply place a drop of the nail polish at the bottom of the nail and gently push the drop toward the cuticle. Then drag the brush upwards 3 times, once up through the middle and once either side. Remember to apply thin layers of polish so it’s easier to keep the strokes even.
#10 Maintain With Clear Polish
Apply a thin coat of clear polish a couple of times a week to seal the colour in and keep it from chipping. Don’t use it too frequently though or your nail polish will end up far too thick and more likely to chip! Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat and China Glaze No Chip Top Coat are professional favourites.
So set aside some ‘you time,’ turn your home into your personal nail salon and treat your nails like the pros for half the cost! Don’t get too carried away with your new DIY skills though, it’s probably still best to leave your hair cut and bikini wax to the professionals!
Cover photo: tumblr.com