Nail it! How to give yourself a pro manicure at home

08 April 2020 - 00:00
By nokubonga thusi AND Nokubonga Thusi
Nailed it!
Image: 123RF/Dariia Chernenko Nailed it!

Just because you can't visit your favourite nail salon right now, doesn't mean you can't have a professional-looking manicure. Just follow these simple steps when painting your nails at home:


It's best to use a non-acetone nail polish remover as it's less harsh on your nails and won't dry them out. Non-acetone removers do take longer to work than those containing acetone. One trick is to hold the product-soaked cotton wool over your nail for a couple of seconds before attempting to wipe the polish off.


Trim and file your nails. Place the file under the nail tip — it should face upwards towards you, not parallel to the nail edge — and gently run it along the edge of the nail to remove any sharp corners. Aim for a rounded oval nail shape as a rule of thumb.

3. SOAK 

Soak your fingers in warm water for about 2-3 minutes to soften your cuticles. Next use a cuticle pusher to gently push them back. A wooden cuticle tool is preferable to a metal one as the latter can cause the cuticle to tear if not used correctly.


Exfoliate your hands and cuticles using your favourite hand scrub or make your own.

To make a DIY hand scrub, simply mix ½ cup of sugar (brown sugar has a more granular texture than white), 1 tbsp olive oil and 10-15 drops of a fragrant essential oil (or lemon juice). Apply the scrub to your hands using gentle circular motions, then rinse it off with warm water.


Clean your nail beds thoroughly using a small piece of paper towel soaked in non-acetone nail polish remover. Leftover oil residue on the nail is the single biggest cause of nail polish peeling away faster than you'd like it to.


Paint your nails, allowing the polish to dry properly between coats. To prevent chipping, paint the free edge of each nail too. This is known as 'capping the tip'; watch the video below to see how.


One your nail polish is completely dry, moisturise your hands using a rich hand cream containing moisturising ingredients like vitamin E. Next massage a nourishing cuticle oil into the base of your nails to stop them becoming dry and promote nail growth.

• This article is adapted from one originally published on SowetanLIVE. Visit the SMag section for all the latest lifestyle news.