Florence’s DIY Mani-tips

Hello lovelies!

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.

The Products:
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.

Leighton Denny Base coat

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.) πŸ˜‰

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.

Bodyshop Almond oil nail and cuticle treatment

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.

The How-To:
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 (Β£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.

How to paint nails

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. πŸ™‚

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,

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20 thoughts on “Florence’s DIY Mani-tips

  1. I think my nails actually repel polish, I shall be giving this a go as frankly after all the Christmas parties I can’t be splashing out on more manicures. I did get slightly addicted to the Shellac ones, which frustrated me slightly as they only lasted maybe 10 days max before they started peeling off. Then I tried a Jessica one, really impressed as it lasted a little bit longer, about 18 days, but at Β£30 a pop it’s not entirely economical. Let you know how I get on. x

    • I had Shellac nails for my wedding and loved them and you can now get a home kit called The Red Carpet Manicure from Harvey Nicks and it’s only Β£60 for a starter kit. Waiting til after payday to get one and give it a go!

    • i always had the problem of my nail polish peeling right away, especially after expensive manicures. i found the best way to avoid this is to soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover and applying it to all of my nails before putting any coats on. this removes any oils left on your nails (natural, or from cuticle creams and lotions) making the polish last over a week without chipping. also, i swear by Essie’s “to dry for” top-coat. it protects the polish, adds shine, and dries your polish in minutes. hope this helps!

  2. Rebecca, you have inspired me to paint my nails this evening!!

    Love wearing nail polish, but hate the peeling that happens after a few days. I’ve had the Nails Inc Three Week Manicure which is fab, but isn’t cheap… so I am in search of the perfect top coat!


    PS loving the Topshop colour!

  3. I hate not having painted nails, and I always do them myself at home. Having tried Chanel, Nails Inc, OPI etc I still find Rimmel to be up there with the more expensive brands with their thick brushes and long lasting finish. Sporting an aqua/green colour today… love it!! πŸ˜‰

  4. great tips! and the nails look yummy shame I have to stick to neutral shades for work but the insider tips are excellent x x x

  5. Agree with Gemma – big fan of Rimmel, especially LycraPro. Love their range of shades, the texture and the wide brush. Rebecca- they have a dark purple shade that is you all over!

    If I want to splash out, I think OPI or Jessica brands are the best out there. Currently sporting OPI’s “A Good Man-darin Is Hard To Find” (poooossibly just for the name…)

    In terms of base/top coat, I use Sally Hansen base AND top coat in one – it’s pretty decent and costs Β£6 – a good budget option for those watching the pennies.

  6. I use the OPI base and top coat in 1 which dries quickly too but I’m definitely going to try those drops!

    I also use this pen for little mistakes (if it’s the 2nd hand I end up making a bigger mess if trying to use my nail to remove the mistake and never quite managed with tissues/toothpick) http://reviews.avon.com/5588/30999/reviews.htm

    Gemma, my nails are aqua/green today too!

  7. Really like this shade, may have to check out Topshop nail polish. Bit of a plea here, i’m searching for the perfect non-shimmery navy nail polish. Closest I’ve seen so far is Nails Inc the Serpentine but I’ve only seen it online so not sure how it looks in real life. Any suggestions welcome!
    Also, I would recommend eyes lips face nail varnish. I wore one for my wedding nails (Moonlight) and it stayed on well even without a top coat and was the perfect oystery colour I was looking for. Added bonus is it’s only Β£1.50!

    • I’ve got a navy blue polish although it is so dark it’s almost black and has a tiny shimmer but it’s more evident in the bottle than on the nail – that’s from No.7 Have a look and see if it’s what you want?


  8. Linsey – how about Rimmel ‘Blue Vogue’?
    Has anyone else found that their nails are weak as anything when the ‘everlasting’ manicures are removed? Shellac don’t seem to be as bad but I hate having paper-thin nails.
    Rebecca – how lovely is your wedding ring? Serious bling envy here!

    Anna xx

  9. Lovely colour nails!! I’d love to do mine more often, but between DIY efforts and work (I’m an engineer) I always seem to chip them within 5 minutes so it doesn’t seem worth it!

    PS was admiring your lovely ring too – very sparkly!

  10. Hi Rebecca-I love painting my nails-it’s very theraputic and makes me smile everytime I look at my nails 

    Right now im wearing Orly’s ‘Act Your Shoe Size’ (am loving the name!)-it’s a lovely light browny/purply colour.

    I love to have a professional manicure-but they can be expensive so I’m determined to do my own nails-every week! Am loving this DIY post-it has really inspired me!!

    I know they are on the expensive side but I do love Chanel polishes. They only need one coat and do last for ages. I wore Chanel on my toes throughout our honeymoon and it lasted for over 2 weeks.

    My favourite summery shade is Chanel Miami Peach (it’s such an amazing colour!) and my new favourite winter shade is Chanel Dragon-a deep red polish that looks great

  11. Some great tips there Rebecca. I tend to go nail happy for a couple of weeks then forget about them for the next few of months, fail! My current excuse is that after a poor diet over the Christmas period they are very flaky and prone to breaking at the drop of a hat. Once they’ve grown out a bit and I’m not attached to the file reshaping them I promise I’ll get back into a routine. There you you, thats my belated New Years resolution (better late than never!)

  12. Ooh Shell I have that Chanel Miami Peach – Agree that its a fab colour! I’ll get my nails done for special occasions but also do like to diy in between! I really rate Models Own which has a great range of colours for only Β£5 – love their gold and champagne! Also love OPI and Chanel for when i’m splashing out!

    Love Shellac but just couldnt resist the temptation to peel them off ! (i’m a biter so not used to having long nails!) Gonna try it on my toes for the wedding/honeymoon too. Not sure about nails yet!
    Rachie xo

  13. Inspired by this post I painted my fingernails last night -I always have my toenails done (it’s the only thing that makes my ugly feet look more pretty!) but rarely paint my fingers. They are now a pale shimmery pink and I’d forgotten how much it cheers me up when my hands look nice. Thanks Rebecca!

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