Giving yourself a manicure takes surprisingly little time and can even be done while you’re pampering yourself with other beauty therapies, like facials or hair treatments.

What You’ll Need:

  • A bowl of warm soapy water.
  • A nail brush.
  • An emery board.
  • Cotton wool.
  • An orange stick.
  • Nail polish remover.
  • Cuticle oil.
  • Hand cream.
  • Base coat
  • Nail polish in a color of your choice.
  • A towel.

Step #1: Cleanse

Wash your hands, scrub your nails with your nail brush and then dry your hands with your towel before removing any nail polish with your nail polish remover and some cotton balls.

Step #2: File

Take your emery board and file the fine side across your nail at a 45 degree angle so you’re filing from underneath your nail. Always work from the edges of your nail to the middle in only one direction to prevent your nails from splitting. When you’ve filed your nail into shape, bevel the edge by holding the emery board upright and brushing in light downward strokes in the same direction to seal the layers of your nail plate together.

Step #3: Prepare

Next, rub some cuticle oil into your cuticles and then soak your nails in a bowl of warm soapy water for a few minutes to soften. Soaking your nails in warm peanut or maize oil can be used as an alternative to the cuticle oil and water and will remove your cuticle as well as nourish your nails at the same time. To complete this step, dry your nails and then rub in some hand cream before wrapping the pointed end of your orange stick in cotton wool and then dipping it in cuticle remover and gently pushing your cuticles backwards.

Step #4: Apply Base Coat

Remove any traces of the cuticle remover with a tissue and water and then apply your base coat to protect your nails from being stained by any bold nail polish color choice and to help prevent your polish from chipping.

Step #5: Apply Nail Polish

With your nails clean and prepped, carefully apply 1 coat of nail polish on top of your base coat. To ensure a streak free finish (especially for dark nail polish tones), use the bare minimum of strokes needed, for example, one stroke down the middle of your nail and then one on either side of the middle stroke to cover the entire nail and then another stroke down the middle again to cover any brush marks. When the first coat has dried, apply a second coat of polish using the same method to prevent streaking and ensure your nails have been evenly covered in the colored polish. A third and final coat can be added if required.

Step #6: Final Touches

To finish, add a topcoat or sealer over your nail polish and under and along the tip of your nail to guard against chipping and seal your polish. To mop up any nail polish that might have gotten onto the edges of your nails and cuticle, dip some cotton wool wrapped around your orange stick in nail polish remover and then gently work it over the polish.

To give your hands some extra pampering, see our beauty blog, Skin Care Tips: Looking After Your Hands and beauty article, Beauty Masks for Your Hair, Face and Hands.