The top tip
When it comes to making your mani look amazing, it’s really in your tools. You want your nails to be in good condition before you do anything else.
“The best tip for a beautiful at-home manicure is to use a nail strengthener, cuticle and nail oil to keep your nails in good condition and only use a crystal nail file to shape/shorten” says Ruth at Perfect Formula.
When it comes to making your nail colour last, you can’t go wrong with a good basecoat and topcoat, as Lou from Orly explains: “A good basecoat, like Bonder, will protect your nails from stains, fill ridges, strengthen nails and aid durability. A topcoat, like Polishield, adds shine, prevents chipping and peeling and gives your manicure a flawless finish.”
Cloe from Nails Inc is on the same page when it comes to prep: “Always apply a good basecoat first, as it really improves the wear of your colour. Finish your manicure with the 45 Second Topcoat, it’s super speedy and gives a glossy, high shine finish.”
The must-have tools
We asked our experts about the nailcare tools they couldn’t live without, and from prep to that finishing touch, they’ve got you covered!
“Cutique and Pro Nail Pusher give a salon-quality treatment from the comfort of home,” says Lou, “the pair works to soften and remove excess cuticle, while removing staining and dead tissue from your nail plate for polish that sticks better and a longer-lasting, more polished look.”
Nails looking a little long? Ruth is a big fan of crystal nail files. “They are my saviour tools! I have the large one for my toes, the regular one for my fingers and a mini one in my handbag. They seal the edges of the nails and really help to minimise breakages and splits.”
If you’re polish has gone awry, Cloe knows just what to do: “A corrector pen is my favourite tool. It’s perfect for anyone new to painting nails as you can easily repair any polish mishaps. It’s also handy for perfecting your French (or new skinny French) manicure!”
A bit of TLC
In between polish, it’s good to use a treatment to help nails maintain a healthy look and feel.
“Daily Moisture Oil has kept my nails looking great by preventing brittleness and keeping my cuticles and skin hydrated. Be sure to apply the oil to the ends of your nails too (underneath the tips) – think of it like conditioning the ends of our hair.” Thanks for the tip, Ruth!
Cloe loves keeping her nails hydrated with oil too: “I have really focused on re-building my nail health this past year, using Superfood Repair Oil just twice a week really helps to strengthen and hydrate my nails.”
Can’t be without colour? Lou has you covered! “I always go for Breathable polish – it is a colour lacquer combined with a basecoat, topcoat and treatment! This formula allows the polish to “breathe” while you wear it, plus, it’s infused with argan oil, vitamin C and pro-vitamin B5!”
The post-gel recovery
Many of us have broken up with Shellac over the last year. Here’s what the experts have to say on getting over the post-gels blues.
Ruth says: “If nails are thin, and damaged nails, apply a thin layer of Repair Coat before using Gel Coat. This will give the extra conditioning post-gel nails need, and then Gel Coat will give the hard, flexible coating to help protect and polish nails as they grow out.”
“Start by going for a shorter more manageable length, to prevent nails from breaking low down. To help combat dryness, get into a routine of applying cuticle oil and hand cream. Top tip – if you apply the oil first and then the hand cream over the top, it will help the oil to penetrate deeper into the skin. Try a strengthener such as Nailtrition or Nail Defence. This will help strengthen peeling nails and stimulate healthier, faster growth.” Another great tip there, thanks Lou!
“I love Back To Life Treatment!” says Cloe, “I have used this continuously to re-build my nail strength after years of gels. You can use this as a basecoat or treatment, and I find it really refreshes my nails after just a week. The hint of colour gives your nails a healthy glow!”
The latest trends
Now you’ve given your nails a bit of attention, it’s time to paint them. We asked our lovely experts their favourite nail looks:
“Nude nails are always on trend. Experiment by using several nudes to create an ombre or a matte topcoat for a different spin. Orly has some classic nude shades, my favourite being Country Club Khaki. A classic French polish looks clean, crisp and sophisticated. I also like to use two complementary colours to create an alternative French, which is easy to do at home and looks fun, yet stylish.”
“I love our new leopard crackle topcoat (available at QVC). It’s a great way to have fun with your nails and create a nail art look in seconds. I also love creating an ombre look using a selection of nudes and tonal shades.”
“I love a natural look and as my nails are quite long, my go-to is Pink Gel Coat. It makes the whites of my nails look fresh as it contains an optical brightener and the hint of pink on the nail bed is natural-looking but well-groomed and pretty.”
There we have it! Give your nails a little bit of love, and be sure to check out the rest of our selection here.