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How to Prepare your Nails for the Perfect Manicure

Perfect manicure

Preparing your nails is one of the most crucial parts of a manicure, but usually when we are doing our nails at home, we miss out this whole part of process. You can spend ages filing and picking the perfect base coat, colour and top coat, but I can guarantee you that your nails will look so much better if you prepare them properly.

You might think that you can only get this preparation process by going to your local nail bar or salon, but it is so easy to do at home, that I thought I would share my nail preparation tips with you.

Preparing the nails not only makes your manicure look better and last longer, but it can also improve the quality of your nails, but also keep your nails and hands looking gorgeous and healthy, even without polish!

Perfect manicure kit
Here is a list of things you will need:
Cotton balls/pads
Nail varnish remover
Antibacterial soap
Nail brush
Orangewood or plastic cuticle pusher
Cuticle remover
Cuticle nippers
Cuticle oil
Moisturiser
Acetone

Step 1 - Remove your old nail polish
Soak a cotton ball/pad in nail varnish remover and apply to your nails. Don't scrub the nails with the cotton ball, instead, try pressing the cotton ball onto the nail for a few seconds to allow the remover to soak in and then you should find that it slides off with ease.


Sally Hansen Strengthening Nail Polish Remover
Step 2 - Clean your hands and nails
Take a bowl of warm water and mix in the antibacterial soap. Use your nail brush to scrub underneath the nails and along the edges. This will help remove any oil or dirt.


Yves-Rocher Nail Brush, which was £3.50Carex antibacterial soap


Step 3 - Cuticle work
I find an orangewood stick much kinder than a plastic cuticle pusher, but both do the job just as well. Using your orangewood or plastic cuticle pusher, gently push back any skin growing on the nail. If you find the skin is not moving easily by just pushing, don't be too rough and force it. Instead, apply a cuticle remover. Some cuticle removers have different instructions, so make sure you read the bottle beforehand, but usually you would apply to the overgrown skin, leave for a few moments or even massage into the area and then start gently pushing again. Repeat this process until the nail is completely clear of all over grown skin.

I bought 25 orangewood sticks from ebay for just 99p and 59p delivery, which keeps me going for ages! I use Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover, which you can buy from Boots for £6.45.

Orange wood sticks Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover,


Step 4 - Tidy up
Now take a look at the skin around the nails. Do you have any hangnails (skin that has broken away) or other pieces of skin that are loose? Use your cuticle nippers to remove these. Essentially these work in a similar way to scissors. Put the loose piece of skin in between the cuticle nippers and press together. Try not to pull, or you may end up pulling away too much and causing cutting and bleeding. Gently trimming the skin, will make sure it can't catch and pull up more skin, and also makes the nail area look tidier and healthier.


Elegant Touch cuticle nippers


Step 5 - Nourish 
Wash your hands again using warm water and antibacterial soap. This will help remove any dirt, loose skin, oil or cuticle remover that is still hanging around the nail area. Once your hands are nice and clean, apply cuticle oil to your cuticles and around the edge of the nails and massage in. This will give a little bit of hydration to the nail. For an added boost, use a hand cream or moisturiser at this stage to give extra hydration and nourishment.

I use OPI Avoplex Nail and Cuticle Replenishing Oil, which I bought from Boots for £16.50.

My favourite hand moisturiser at the moment is the new Crabtree & Evelyn Caribbean Island Wild Flower hand cream, which was £15.

OPI Avoplex Nail and Cuticle Replenishing Oil,Crabtree & Evelyn Caribbean Island Wild Flower hand cream



Step 6 - Final stages
Finally, before you paint the nails, use a cotton ball soaked in acetone, and clean the nails. This can help stop polish from chipping or peeling which will hopefully make it last longer!

I bought my acetone from SalonServices and it was £2.59 for 500ml.



The products I have shown here are just the ones I use. You can buy so many different brands at so many different prices, so if an item I have listed here looks a tad pricey, or in fact you fancy spending a bit more, it doesn't help to have a little look around at the different options!

Let me know if you try this nail preparation out and I'd love to see all your beautiful manicures afterwards!

I hope this post on how to prepare your nails for the perfect manicure is helpful!


DollfaceBlogs | Top UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog
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18 comments

  1. Thanks for the tips. I'll have to give it a go. Especially the cuticle remover. Mine are terribly overgrown!

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    Replies
    1. The Sally Hansen Gel I use is great for overgrown cuticles. Be gentle with yours to start with but you will have gorgeous nails in no time :)

      Thank you for your comment!

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  2. I haven't done my own nails at home for years as always go and get acrylics done at the salon so wouldn't have had a cluw how to prep my nails if I ever decided to stop getting them done, so thanks for the post :) x

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    Replies
    1. I'm saving for a wedding and to buy a house at the moment, so I can't afford my nails to be done in the salon any more :( That's why I learnt to prepare them myself to make sure I still always had lovely nails :)

      Would love to be able to do my own gel or acrylic nails. I can do my left hand perfectly, but my other hand always ends up a mess!

      Thank you for your comment lovely :)

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  3. I love doing my own nails, so therapeutic and rewarding to see the end result. Thanks for the tips!

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree, it's really satisfying when they turn out beautifully!

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  4. Useful post - I must admit, I'm guilty of being quite lazy with my nails and cutting corners!
    Mel x

    melswallofmirrors.blogspot.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. I used to be the same, but once you have done this a few times, it really takes no time at all and you'll wonder why you never bothered before! There's always the odd time that I will forget to do this, especially when I'm in a rush, but I make an effort to do this at least every fortnight, if not weekly!

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  5. Great post thank you, my nails are in such a poor state at the moment so this was very useful! I love your blog and I have followed you with Bloglovin and GFC. If you ever get a chance to check out my blog I would be delighted, thanks!
    cococami.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment sweetie. I will take a little look at our blog this evening <3
      xxx

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  6. Great post will try all your tips. At the moment whatever base, polish and top coat (including seche vite) I use from higher end to budget, my polish always comes off (not chipping just the whole thing comes off in one piece) if not within a couple of hours of applying then definitely the next day. Do you think your tips will prevent this from happening or am I doing something else wrong do you think?Appreciate any advice as getting really frustrated. xxx

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    Replies
    1. It sounds like the nail may be a bit oily, or unstable before you apply your base coat. Having an uneven nail surface (i.e flaking or chipping of the nail) or oil on the surface, then the nail varnish itself won't stick as well as it should. Following the preparation process in this post will help to eliminate any oiliness on the nail plate. It may be worth adding in a stage after step 3 that involves buffing the nail. This will hopefully even it out and create a smooth nail plate.

      Also, make sure you let each coat of base coat, nail varnish and top coat dry properly before applying the next. Leaving them slightly wet and applying more encourages air to stay underneath and will eventually prize the polish away from the nail.

      Hopefully this is helpful hun, please give me a shout and let me know if this was useful. I'm thinking of doing a full post on a topic like this so would love to know if it helped :)

      xxx

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  7. Hi beautiful,
    I was just browsing through & stumbled upon your lovely blog - It looks gorgeous and it has interesting posts that I can relate to. I'm now following you via gfc, keep in touch love x

    Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment lovely! So nice to hear from new readers, I'm glad you are enjoying my posts!

      xxx

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  8. Great post! I wish I could stop biting my nails so I could actually do something nice with them for once! x

    Mapped Out | Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle

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    1. I used to bite my nails for years! I went through a stage of getting false nails done in the salon all the time and eventually this forced me to stop, because I couldn't bite the false ones! When I stopped getting false nails done, it seemed like I was out of the habit (although I had to do a lot of work to get them nice and healthy again after over a year of acrylics!)

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  9. I never think I prepare my nails properly! I'm going to save this post and re-read it when I'm going to do my nails! Gisforgingers xx

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  10. Great tips! I'm more of a newbie when it comes to doing nails, so this seems like something I need to get into the hang of more! Stopped by from Twitter :)
    <3 Pauline, ­­Addicted to Makeup

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