Once you’ve mastered the art of at-home gel manicure removal, it’s time to tackle creating a new look on your bare nails. With few plans on the horizon and hours to kill, honing this particular skill will give a satisfying sense of achievement now, and could save some money in the future. Plus, a fresh mani is a surefire way to make you feel batter about yourself. Here, nail artist to the stars Michelle Humphrey reveals how to achieve salon-worthy nails at home.
What To Do About Your Cuticles
‘Cuticles tend to look nicer when they are pushed back as it elongates the nail bed’, says celebrity manicurist Humphery, whose designs are well worth a look on Instagram. ‘It’s not always essential to do them, though. Everyone is different’. If you are someone who likes a neat cuticle, she recommends pushing them back using a cuticle stick, and clipping any loose hangnails cuticle nippers: ‘If you’re unsure about what you can and can’t nip, though, then leave this step, because over-cutting can leave your cuticles prone to infection. They will then often grow back jagged’.
Do You Need A Base Coat?
It might feel like an unnecessary step, but for staying power, a base coat is essential. ‘It anchors down polish and prevent chipping’, explains Humphrey.
Try Shorter Nails
If you usually favor length talons and tend to go for acrylic or gel nails at home, use this time to try a shorter nail. ‘Take your length down. Shorter nails are more hygienic and during this time in which you can’t go to the salon, you’ll have more time to spare if you don’t have them’, says Humphrey, who also points out that extensions are more likely to break than shorter nails.
How To Paint Nails Evenly
Are your hands less than steady? There are some simple rules to follow to avoid polish ending up all over your fingers, instead of your nails. First, choose your polish wisely, avoiding any that have gone thick and gloopy. Next, ‘Give your polish a good shake before you start painting. It will even out the pigment and help if colour has separated’, says Humphrey. ‘Paint in thin layers, even if the first coat looks streaky. The second coat will cover any patchiness’. After that, make sure to use a top coat to help smooth out any unevenness and create a uniform finish. Opt for bright, uplifting colors. ‘I’m a huge fan of natural and neon or pastel combinations’, says Humphrey. ‘Negative space nails are super chic and great for spring’.
Experiment With Nail Art
‘Nail art is a really broad subject and there a whole of different designs you can try. If you want to try it at home, I would suggest searching YouTube videos for ‘DIY nail art ideas’, says Humphrey. You don’t need lots of tools, either. From using bobby pins to create dots, to (clean) fine eyeliner brushes to paint design details, the possibilities are endless. ‘You can also order nail glue online to stick on crystals, but be warned that adding glue to the mix can make the removal process a little bit more difficult’.
How To Avoid Chips
Home manicures often don’t last very long, which is one of the many reason why a lot of us simply don’t bother. To prevent chips, Humphrey recommends apply cuticle oil on the nails and surrounding skin daily. ‘This will help to keep the polish and nail plate more flexible and therefore help to prevent chips’, she says. You should also reapply your top coat here or four days after your manicure, to help reseal the nails. And finally? ‘Wear gloves for any cleaning or washing up tasks at home’, says Humphrey.