Give Yourself A Professional Mani With These 7 Steps

We all love walking out of the nail salon with shiny, perfectly manicured fingernails, right? But then, after 5 or 6 days your cuticles are looking dry, you have a couple hangnails and your manicure has lost its shine. Well, I'm here to tell that you can easily do your own nails just as good (if not better!) than a professional with the right manicure tools and products. It can be much more rewarding and even relaxing! So, here's a list of the best manicure tools and products you will need to get a perfect set of salon looking nails!


"The nonliving epidermis that surrounds the edges of fingernail or toenail"


The cuticle, NOT to be confused with the "eponychium" is the very thin layer of dead tissue that moves up the nail plate as the nail grows to form a seal/barrier of protection between the eponychium + nail plate. This barrier acts to keep pathogens from infecting the matrix area where new nail plate cells are keratinised to form the nail. For that perfect salon look, and a smooth base to paint your nails, you must gently remove the cuticle using a cuticle tool/pusher. Don't ever cut your cuticles or attempt to use nippers as cutting the proximal nail fold of the eponychium will lead to infection.

You will need 

I love CND Cuticle Away. That's the gel in the little clear jar in the photo.. my CND bottle broke so I use a Q-tip to apply. This stuff is truly amazing as it dissolves cuticles in seconds making it quick + easy to remove the dead skin attached to the nail leaving them clean and tidy! Apply to the whole cuticle area of all 5 nails and by the time you've applied it to your thumbnail, you can get to work on your little finger.

 Hold the cuticle tool or orange stick at a flat angle, in line with your finger to avoid damaging the nail plate. Gently push from the middle of your nail bed all the way down to the eponychium. Repeat this across the nail bed getting right into the sides. The dead tissue/cuticle will come off easily when using a cuticle remover.

Now flip the pusher and use gentle scraping motions to remove all the dissolved cuticle from the nail with the knife looking end of the tool. Repeat on the other hand. *Note* I never soak my hands when doing a manicure because water weakens the nails.  


When filing natural nails use a fine grit/100-180 grit nail file. Try to file in one direction only, from side to tip, as opposed to a sawing back and forth motion. Hold the file flat against the nails edges to avoid thinning the nail by filing at an angle. Don't file too far into the side of the free edge as this can weaken the stress points causing breakage. Also, don't over file your nails unless you are changing the shape or you have a tear.


Sanding blocks and 4-way buffing blocks are a great way of smoothing any ridges in the nail and getting rid of leftover dead skin. They can also remove discolouration from the nail plate without damaging the surface. Buff the entire surface of each nail without too much pressure or for too long as to avoid thinning the nail.


You've removed + cleaned your cuticles, shaped and smoothed your nails. Now its time to scrub! This stage is optional, you may just choose to wash your hands. But I like to use a sugar scrub as it's a great way of removing any dead skin that's left on or around the fingers + nails. Plus it will leave your hands silky soft!   Click here for my free DIY sugar scrub recipe ebook! Alternatively washing your hands and using a nail brush will work just fine too.


Buffing your nails is the final touch of your manicure to make them salon perfect. Start by buffing nails with the matt side to smooth, then turn it over to the super shiner side. Get yourself a good buffer like this Super Shiner by The Edge Nails. If you are painting your nails using this super shiner will give you an amazingly smooth base to paint on. Or, if you're leaving them natural (I highly recommend keeping a nail hardener/strengthener on your nails at all times) then this will give you that perfect salon smooth finish.


Applying oil to your hands + nails on a daily basis is vital for strong, healthy nail growth. Keeping your cuticles moisturised + hydrated in-between manicures means less work next time. Plus, stimulating the matrix area through massage creates blood flow to the cells in this area, encouraging nail growth. Make sure you check the ingredients of your oil before you buy! I recommend Simon + Tom's Oil Saviour. Alternatively, you can make your own. Check out my DIY organic cuticle oil recipe here to see how cheap and easy it is to make yourself. And guaranteeing there will be no nasty, harmful ingredients.


Finally, if you want to avoid breaking your nails I highly recommend using a non-toxic nail hardener + strengthener. And coat that stuff on every day! I apply a coat of this every morning and night. Layer up, ladies! It truly keeps my nails protected and prevents breakage. Even if I'm painting my nails I always put Nutra Nail nail hardener or strengthener on first. If your nails are long and you keep breaking them, or you are having nail growth issues then go through my checklist of how to grow your nails strong + long.  

I know it may all sound like a lot written here, but I actually do my nails in about 20 minutes these days. Once you start doing them yourself, you will become fussy about how the lady in the nail salon does them too, so this will save you time and money! If you love your nails and treat them well, they will grow long and beautiful!