DIY Manicure

L-R: OPI Natural Nail Base Coat, Nails Inc Fashion Fix in Vintage Tee, Essie Quick-E Drying Drops and China Glaze Patent Leather Top Coat

Having nice looking nails makes me feel polished and put together. I always like to rock a mani so I’ve gotten good at doing my own nails over the years. It’s lovely to have someone do your nails for you but I also enjoy pampering myself at home with a DIY manicure. Here are the steps I recommend:

1. Remove Old Polish

I like to decant nail polish remover into a perfume bottle to make it look prettier on my vanity.

2. Trim Cuticles


I don’t use a chemical cuticle remover; I like to push mine back and trim them when they are soft, straight after a hot bath (or washing the dishes!!), alternatively you could soak them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.

3. Clip and Fileimg_2764

My preference is for short, round nails. Mine tend to grow like weeds so I usually need to clip them down and then shape with an emery board. If I’m short on time I’ll just file to neaten the shape up and use a sheer pink (I like Sugar Daddy from Essie) rather than an opaque shade which I’m not keen on for longer nails.

4. Buff

img_2767I don’t always do this step but I am starting to get ridged nails (one of the many joys of the ageing process!!) so using a nail buffer ensures polish goes on nice and smooth.

N.B. It wouldn’t be the worst idea to use the toilet after this step!!

5. Base Coatimg_7922

Again this is a step that I sometimes miss if I’m rushing. If you are using a dark colour however, you should never skip this step in order to guard against staining. A base coat will also make any polish go on smoother and extend wear time so is always worthwhile.

6. Colour

Starting a millimetre or two above the cuticle, layer on 2-3 thin layers of polish; Just enough for uniform colour and opacity. I’m basic AF when it comes to nails so my favourite colours to wear are pinks, nudes and reds:

Top row L-R: Nails Inc Gel Effect in Kensington Lane, Leighton Denny Nail Colour in Prim & Proper and Smith & Cult Nail Lacquer in Ghost Edit.

Bottom row L-R: Essie Nail Lacquer in Spin the Bottle, OPI Nail Lacquer in Cajun Shrimp and Nails Inc Nail Polish in Chelsea Green.

7. Top Coat

img_2765A shiny top coat makes nails look great. Essie Good to Go top coat works well as does the CND Weekly Top Coat pictured above. Let nails dry for as long as possible to prevent smudges. Reading a magazine on an iPad is a great way to spend drying time as swiping to read rather than turning pages makes smudging less likely.

8. Drying Dropsimg_2777

This step is optional, however drying drops are great if you’re short on time. I love Essie’s Quick-E drying drops to speed up the drying process. If you don’t have any drops I’ve read that submerging nails in cold water can have the same effect.

9. Cuticle Care

When nails are dry apply a softening cuticle oil or balm:

L-R: CND Solar Oil Nail and Cuticle Conditioner and Soap and Glory Melty Talented Dry Skin Balm

10. Hand Lotion

Finish off the experience with a fragrant and moisturising hand lotion. I love the iconic Soap and Glory scent of their Hand Food Hand Cream:


Applying an oil over the nail and nail bed daily revives the shine and keeps cuticles soft. Adding a thin layer of top coat every couple of days will extend the life of your manicure.


Essie, OPI, Soap and Glory and Nails Inc are available from

Smith and Cult polishes are available from

Leighton Denny Polishes are available from

CND and China glaze are available to purchase in salons is affiliated to Boots, Birchbox and Feelunique


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