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How to give yourself a long-lasting manicure

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The most frustrating thing about painting your nails – apart from not being able to touch anything for half an hour – is when they chip the very next day. Making your home manicure last is all about keeping your hands healthy as well as perfect painting. Here’s our guide to keeping your talons looking sleek for weeks.

You will need:

Cuticle pusher – we like Eylure’s Elegant Touch Expert Cuticle Pusher

Base coat - we like Ciate’s Underwear base coat

Top coat – we like Sally Hansen’s Salon Manicure Top Coat

A corrector pen – we like Nails Inc’s Corrector Pen

Nail file/buffer – we like Champneys 6 way nail file and buffer

Before you start:

Put on some hand cream – relaxing your hands and cuticles means you'll be painting them when they're at their best, but make sure it has all absorbed before starting your manicure.

Take off your old nail polish, cut, file and buff your nails – your nails need to be a smooth surface ready to receive polish without creating lumps and bumps.

What to do:

1. Appy a base coat. Cover your nails all over even if you don’t like to paint up to the edges as it won’t show up, and it will make it easier to paint over.

2. Paint your first layer on. The easiest way to make sure it’s even is to paint three stripes, one down the middle and two either side

3. Dry your nails. Waiting between coats will stop them binding together and forming a gloopy mess. Essie Weingarten, of Essie nail polish, recommends waiting two minutes between layers.

4. Apply more layers, and finally a top coat. A clear, strong top coat will help protect your nails against chipping

5. Wait for your nails to dry. Dipping your nails in cold water can help the polish seal and dry a little faster. If possible, wait for up to half an hour before using your hands for anything that might damage the polish.

Dos and don'ts

DON’T push your cuticles too far back or cut them. The cuticle “serves an important purpose, which is to protect you from infection. Otherwise it's a point of entry for bacteria” says New York manicurist Simcha Whitehill, aka Miss Pop.

DON’T use quick-drying polishes. While they may dry more quickly, the polish will become gloopy and hard more quickly, meaning the next time they use them, it will be more difficult to get your manicure right.

DO file in one direction "Filing back and forth with an abrasive board will cause the nail's delicate keratin layers to peel away from each other," says Elsbeth Schuetz from Orly.

DON’T soak your fingers before a manicure. "When you soak your nails, they absorb water, which temporarily puffs them up — but they revert to their normal shape when the water evaporates. This expansion and contraction is the top cause of chipping, peeling, and cracking of polish," says Tom Bachick, executive vice president of the Young Nails Company

DO reapply a top coat every few days. This means exterior damage will only hit the top coat, not chipping your manicure.

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