Not everyone has the time to spend hours in a salon having a professional manicure, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have great looking nails. It is nice being pampered once in a while, but with just a little bit of effort and knowhow, you can save yourself a load of time and money and do your nails yourself. If you are going to do your own home manicure, read on, because we have ten great manicure tips for you that will help you get the results you want, the easy way.

1. Remove all traces of old nail polish

The only way that you are going to get that smooth, perfect finish, is to start with a completely clean canvas. Remove all the last traces of any old nail polish with a cotton pad and nail polish remover. Don’t rush through this step, because even the tiniest fleck of polish could ruin the look of the new polish.

2. Exfoliate your hands

Once the old nail polish has all been removed, it’s time to give your hands a bit of gentle scrubbing treatment. Gently exfoliate your hands using the mix of olive oil and sugar, and it will remove any dead skin and leave your hands soft, smooth and super clean.

3. Soak your hands in warm water

Give your nails a good soak in warm water for two or three minutes. This will soften the cuticles and the nail and make the next few steps a lot easier. Don’t have the water too hot, though, and don’t leave your fingers in for any more than a couple of minutes. If you do, your nails will expand slightly and, when they will contract again, that can affect the finish of your nail polish.

4. Prepare your nails

Once you have dried off your hands, you can now prepare your nails by taking care of the cuticles. Don’t trim your cuticles, because they are there to stop bacteria getting under your nails and, if you cut them back, it can also cause hangnails. Just push the cuticles gently back toward your finger.

5. Trim and shape your nails

Decide on what shape of nail you want, it could be oval, rounded or square, and then, trim your nails if they need it, and file them to the shape that you want. If you have any discolouration of the nail, then buff your nails with a nail buffer to brighten them up.

6. Apply a primer

Applying a coat of nail primer prepares your nails for the polish that is to follow. It removes any last traces of oils and it also creates a surface that nail polish will adhere better to and stay on for longer. It also has a slightly dehydrating effect, so it will remove any moisture from the nails that could react badly with the nail polish when you apply it.

7. Apply the coloured nail polish

When you apply nail polish, it is easier if you start from the middle of your nail and work your way out. Always apply two coats of colour to your nails and that will make sure that the colour of the polish really comes through. If you get any polish in your skin, remove it carefully with a cotton bud dipped in a little bit of nail polish remover.

8. Seal the tips of your nails

To stop your nails chipping, wrap your nail polish around the tips of your nails, and it will stop water and oil getting between your nail polish and your nail and breaking the bond. That will make your manicure stay looking perfect for much, much longer.

9. Apply a top coat

Let the nail colour sit for a while, so it dries and doesn’t smudge, and then apply a top coat. Just one layer of top coat is all you need and it will add extra shine to your nails and make them tougher, so your manicure will last longer. The other advantage of top coats is that some of them are quick drying and they will make the whole of your manicure dry faster.

10. Give your nails time to dry properly

There are ways to speed up the process of dying your nail polish, but the best way is to let them dry by themselves. Give them enough time to dry properly and then you can be sure that they have hardened all the way through. So, sit back, put your feet up, and admire your beautiful nails for half an hour!