Of course, as with all things beauty (ahem self-tan), preparation is key. If you want a home manicure that goes the distance you will need to ensure you have a clean and tidy nail plate. Here's how to prime your nail plate at home...
1) It may sound obvious but always start by washing your hands, especially if you have recently used nail vanish remover - this will give your new application of varnish longevity.
2) File your nails into your desired shape - square, oval, squoval or pointed - but be careful to only shape the free edge (the white section). Resist the temptation to go further as it will weaken the nail's structure and increase the chances of snapping.
3) Once your nails are clean, apply a small bead of cuticle cream to each cuticle and massage it into the surrounding skin gently. Next, take a wooden manicure stick and rub the slanted edge of it across the nail plate in circular motions to lift away any dead cuticle and flaking nail.
Tip: Apply minimal pressure. If you press too hard you risk denting your nail plate or jabbing the delicate skin surrounding it.
3) Pick up the cuticle cutters and carefully trim away any dead cuticle, skin or over hanging nail which has lifted. Be careful not to start cutting into the eponychium (healthy skin above the cuticle) - you will know if you do this as it will bleed.
4) Finally, wash your hands a final time to remove the dust from filing and any cuticle cream residue.
Your nails are now ready for your polish application, and we've compiled the very best gel-like and gel lacquers for a long-wear manicure...