This afternoon it’s a ‘beating the January blues’ kinda post, because what can possibly cheer you up more than a slick of colour on your nails?
You may be a regular getting your nails done, or have never ever had them done, either way, there’s always a time when you might need to paint them. For a special night out perhaps, or maybe you’re a regular polish addict and want to save some pennies by DIY-ing at home sometimes. For anybody who needs it, this is my DIY guide to painting your nails with success and the top products that I use each and every time to make it last.
I am a firm believer in painting your nails properly. That means using a base coat and a top coat and I have 2 great recommendations for you.
First up. Leighton Denny Base Coat. This dries matte and I have no idea how it makes the colour cling on so well to your nail, but I couldn’t be without it. It’s quick drying too so needn’t add any time to your routine. It’s a little more than your average nail polish in terms of price but I’ve had mine for 3 years and it’s still going strong.
For a top coat, it’s the cheap and cheerful Rimmel Pro Super Wear Top Coat. This has 2 great actions – firstly it really makes a difference when it comes to chips and making the polish last, but it also gives a wicked shine to any colour. (Please note, this polish is clear, but mine has taken on the colour of the polishes I layer it over, most notably Rouge Noir.)
On the left here, you’ll see my Leighton Denny Miracle Drops. These are a must for people who smudge out of impatience. You drop them onto the nail as soon as you’re done with your top coat and the chemicals suck the oxygen out of the polish making it dry quicker. You can apply several times if you’re in a hurry and it really works.
You will also see I have photographed a cuticle oil that I use occasionally. It’s cheap and moisturises the nails well -I used one before my wedding and dip in occasionally now, worth a try if you struggle with yours being dry or scraggy.
First up, start with clean, filed nails. I use the Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File and prefer mine short and square-ish. I bought the mini file (£12) over a year ago and it’s supposed to have a lifetime guarantee. It’s also make light work of the job – I hate filing my nails, surely we all have better things to do with our time?
Apply your base coat first coating the whole nail from the cuticle up and right to both edges.
Once that has dried, start applying your colour. The trick to looking like your nails were done professionally is all in the base of the nail. Try to make a straight line with a millimetre or two’s gap from the cuticle. I like to press the brush onto my finger half way up the nail then edge it down to create this line, before swiping it along the length of the nail. I do each nail in 2 quick strokes. Be decisive! It’s when you stress over getting it straight that you wobble! Like the base of the nail, don’t paint right to the edge of the nail either, it helps avoid mistakes and elongates the nail if yours are short.
If you’re messy (and it happens to everyone) just use the nail of the other hand to scrap it off, or wrap a bit of tissue tightly around a cocktail stick and wipe away – you can also do this at the end to tidy up if you dip it in a bit of nail polish remover.
I applied 2 coats of this fab metallic white gold colour from Topshop – it’s like molten metal on and I’d recommend it for this time of year – it’s bright enough to look cheerful for spring, but also wintery with it’s glitzy edge.
Next apply your top coat. The Rimmel one has an extra wide brush so you should be able to do the whole nail in one coat, try to take it a tiny bit wider than the actual colour and slightly lower, to really seal in the edges.
Finish with the Miracle Drops and Voila!
(I took this photo less than 2 minutes after applying the miracle drops and you can see they are touch dry already. They wouldn’t take a big knock or swipe but the drops are incredibly good.)
Let me know if you like DIY-ing and found this useful or of course if you have any recommendations for products to try that make a DIY manicure easier.
Lots of fancy-fingered love,