Here are 7 tips for a beautiful at-home manicure.
Remove all traces of nail polish. Sally Hansen Pro-Vitamin B5 nail polish remover with vitamin E and hydrolyzed wheat protein is gentle enough for soft, thin nails; 340 mL, $2.99. For on-the-go removal, try Andrea Nail Polish Remover Pads; package of 12, $4.70. If you're in despair over yellow nails, Orly Salon Nails Nail Whitener effervescent treatment promises to soak those stains away; two 12 g packets, $10.99.
Deborah McQuaid, a nail technician at the Estée Lauder Spa in Toronto, says that the most flattering nail length is about 3 millimetres past the fingertip. “Gently shape nails by filing tips from the outside corners in,” she says. If nails are long, clip before filing. Witchcraft Emery Boards are washable and last longer than cardboard emery boards; $1.39 each.
"Exfoliating the hands rids them of dead skin cells, allows moisture to penetrate deeply and results in younger-looking hands," says Monica Ardiel, spa manager at Absolutespa Nail at Holt Renfrew in Vancouver. Try Dermaglow Miracle Manicure, which leaves hands wonderfully soft and silky smooth; 85 g, $13.99.
Tidy cuticles are the key to a good manicure. Almay Well-Conditioned Cuticle Scrub contains an exclusive fluoride strengthening complex and jojoba buffing beads to soften and remove excess cuticles and dry skin; 25.5 g, $6.99. For portable cuticle care -- and an instant manicure pick-me-up -- try Olay Total Effects Cuticle and Nail Moisture Treatment, which comes in a nifty, no-mess click pen; $12.99.
Battle brittle nails and dry skin with a two-in-one hand-and-nail moisturizer such as Vaseline Intensive Care Manicure, which contains keratin to help strengthen nails; 525 mL, $7.99.
Strengthen and smooth
Prevent splitting and breaking while filling in ridges for perfect polish-ready nail surfaces. Witchcraft Nail Repair with vitamin E and nylon offers a smooth, long-lasting protective shield; 10 mL, $4.99. Almay Organic Fluoride Plus 4-in-1 contains vitamins A, C and E, calcium and other nutrients and is tinted for a pretty finish; 14.7 mL, $8.99. Base coats that fill in ridges can prevent nails from yellowing or staining from dark polishes.
"When applying polish, paint in three even strips, beginning on one side of the nail,” advises Tiffany Almada, an esthetician at Fiorio Bayview in Toronto. “For a smooth finish, avoid going over an area more than once with wet polish. Wait two minutes before applying a second coat, then finish with a high-shine top coat. Applying a new coat of clear, fast-drying top coat is a quick and easy way to refresh your manicure if you find that your polish job looks a bit flat after a few days.” For spring-fresh classics, try Essie nail polish in Ballet Slipper ($10), or O.P.I. lacquer in Coney Island Cotton Candy ($13.75).
Most products available at major drugstores; Essie and O.P.I. are available at select salons.
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