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8 essentials tools for the perfect mani
When you sit down to do a manicure, how often do you just have your nail colour with you? Maybe a base coat and top coat if you’re being really good?
Well, if that’s the case, you’re doing it wrong. Not completely and utterly wrong, but not completely right, either.
If you want a manicure that looks as if it’s been professionally done and will last longer than a couple of days, then these are the tools and products you’ll need, um, handy during your at-home mani session.
A GOOD PAIR OF NAIL SCISSORS OR CLIPPERS
It’s always a good idea to give your nails a good cut (or trim if you want to maintain the length) before you paint your nails. Why? Having nails that are the same length gives your manicure a uniform and polished finish. Plus, trimming your nails regularly will keep them in mint condition.
A NAIL FILE
No matter how good you think you are at cutting your nails, you’ll never be able to cut your nails for a perfectly smooth finish. And that’s where your nail file comes in. File your nails to get rid of any snags or unwanted jagged edges, as well as use the file to shape your nails. For a square finish, position your nail file perpendicular to your finger. For a rounder finish, angle your file up and move it down and around as you file. For a squoval shape (square with rounded edges), file your nails at an angle just at the corners.
A 4-WAY BUFFER
Once you’ve filed the tips of your nails, it’s a good idea to buff and shine the surface of them. This will deal with any ridges, and leave your nails smooth and ready for a fresh coat of paint. Use the fine side to gently buff your nails, then use a different side to smooth the surface out, and finish with the panel that will add shine.
A CUTICLE PUSHER
You’ll need one of these for two reasons: 1) to remove any gunk from underneath your nails, and 2) to push your cuticles back off your nails. If you really want to do a brilliant job with pushing your cuticles back, soak your hands in some warm water for a few minutes. This will help soften the skin and make it easier to push it back. Add some moisturiser to your cuticles and gently (and in small movements) push your cuticles to the base of your nails. Don’t scrape too hard or too fast.
A LONG-LASTING NAIL COLOUR
If you want a manicure that truly lasts, then it’s in your best interests to use a polish that’s been formulated to go the distance. And if you have one that’s a colour and base coat in one, then you’ve hit the jackpot. Not only does this combo mean you can skip out a whole extra step in your manicure, but it means your polish is going stay put and remain chip-free for a while.
A NAIL CORRECTOR PEN
Show me a woman who can avoid getting nail polish on her skin and I will gladly shower her with a thousand 24k gold medals. It’s almost impossible to avoid this completely, which is why you’ll want to have a nail corrector pen nearby. Designed to look like a pen, the acetone-soaked nib will help precisely remove any unwanted polish without ruining the rest of your manicure.
Mecca Polished Up Mani-Pedi Perfector, $24, meccacosmetica.com.au
A TOP COAT
A top coat will really help ensure that your manicure remains chip-free for much longer, so it’s a step that should never be missed. Some top coats have been formulated to work best with a corresponding polish, so it’s worth using a duo if you can. Oh, and why not use one that can add extra strength and shine, too?
A QUICK-DRY SOLUTION
When you paint your nails at home, you’re more tempted to do things (like scratch your nose or read a book) than you are at a salon. And the more you move around, the more you’re likely to smudge or scratch your nails. Eliminate all chance of this happening by finishing your manicure with a few drops of a quick-dry solution that’ll help your polish and top coat dry in seconds.
ADDED EXTRA: CUTICLE OIL
Really want to be an over-achiever? Once your nails are dry, place a few drops of cuticle oil on your cuticles and gently massage the formula in. This will help repair any cuticle damage and help keep your skin soft and nourished.
How many of the steps would you usually do when doing a DIY manicure? What’s your can’t-miss step when doing your nails?