How to achieve a professional-looking manicure at home – Good Housekeeping

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Nail artist to the stars Roxanne Campbell shares her secrets
There’s so much to love about a trip to the nail salon: the endless array of colours, the high tech tools and of course, the sheer delight of having an expert tend to your fingertips.
That said, we’re big fans of the DIY home manicure too. Blocking an hour in the week to do our nails allow us to focus on ourselves, and there’s something therapeutic about taking careful steps to properly buff, paint and nourish our nails to perfection.
“Doing your own nails is an accessible way to be creative, which can reduce cortisol and raise serotonin levels,” agrees manicurist and founder of nail concierge service Revarnish, Roxanne Campbell (who counts celebs such as Alicia Keys, Adele and Dua Lipa as clients).
With more nail products and tools available on market, giving yourself an enviable mani is easier than ever. Read on to find out how.
Roxanne starts every manicure with a quick swipe of nail polish remover to to get rid of natural oils and remnants of old polish.
Then, trim your nails with a sharp clipper and tidy the shape with a nail file . “Always file in one direction and never back and forth, which can split and weaken your nails and encourage your polish to chip,” says Roxanne.
Carefully treat your cuticles and never trim the ‘living’ skin, which can lead to infections. Instead, soften with a cuticle remover, push them back and use a specialised nipper to snip any white bits of protruding dead skin. Follow with cuticle oil.
Once the oil is absorbed, buff your nails to remove ridges, scuffs and oils, and gently buff underneath the tips to remove any excess filings. Finish with another swipe of remover to remove dust and fluff.
Base coat is the key to a long-lasting manicure, says Roxanne; check out the GHI’s top recommendations here.
“A layer of base coat not only helps your colour cling to the nail, but also protects your nails and prevents any staining, especially when using bright or deep colours,” she explains.
Once you’ve chosen your colour, turn the bottle upside down and roll it between your hands to prevent air bubbles.
“It might be tempting to load the brush with polish but this will flood the cuticle and run everywhere. On the other hand, too little product will leave your manicure streaky and uneven,” says Roxanne. She recommends dragging the brush along the neck of the bottle, leaving only half the product on the bristles.
Paint your nails in three vertical strokes – one in the middle followed by one on either side. For the smoothest finish, place the brush onto the nail about half way up, then push the colour down towards the cuticle (leaving a small gap of bare nail at the very base) then pull the colour up to the tip. Repeat for a second coat if needed.
Dip an angled eyebrow brush in nail polish remover to neaten the edges. Once your polish is dry to the touch, apply a light layer of top coat to add shine and provide a protective layer against chipping.
“After 2 days, you can top up the seal by using your nail brush with a small amount of topcoat along the free edge. This should do the trick for lasting colour!”, suggests Roxanne.

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