Nail Beauty

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It’s often been said that your nails are your best accessories. When they’re perfectly polished, they do wonders for your entire appearance. Sporting a French manicure is both elegant and sophisticated, while a super bright polish communicates your fun-loving side, and a touch of nail art puts your adventurous and creative spirit on display. And, as a bonus, if you ever want to lift your mood and get pampered – you can always turn to nail beauty.

This section provides you with all you need to know about nail beauty. If you ever wished you could give yourself salon-perfect nails at home, follow our easy steps to a DIY Manicure or DIY Pedicure.

Nail shape is the foundation of any good manicure. Whether short or long, oval or square – each nail shapes create a different overall effect on how the nails and hands look. Read on to discover the most flattering nail shape for you.

Finally, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite nail beauty resources so you can learn how to do the latest nail art designs or get tips on which colours of polish suit your skin tone best – straight from the pros.

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Have you ever wished you could give yourself a perfect at-home manicure? We’ll show you how with the easy steps below.

  • Remove old polish: Start by removing any old polish on your nails with an acetone-free nail polish remover. Avoid acetone as it dries nails, causing them to become brittle.
  • File your nails to the desired shape: Make sure they are completely dry, as filing wet nails can cause splitting. See Find Your Best Nail Shape for tips on choosing a shape that compliments your hands.
  • Soak nails: Apply a rich hand cream then soak your nails in warm, soapy water for three to five minutes to soften cuticles.
  • Push back your cuticles: Use an orange wood stick or wet nail stone to push back cuticles. If you have hangnails, trim them. But be sure not to clip your cuticles, which can cause infection and damage the nail.
  • Apply a basecoat: A thin coat of the clear stuff creates a smooth surface for colour to cling to, as well as helps the colour last longer.
  • Brush on two coats of colour: Paint on two thin layers of polish with light-handed strokes, allowing colour to dry completely between coats. You should be able to cover each nail in three stokes – a stroke on each side and one in the middle. Don’t reload the brush in between strokes on each nail, as this will result in too much polish.
  • Don’t skip the top coat: Applying a layer of top coat smoothes away any flaws and leaves a super glossy shine. Try a quick-dry top coat, which dries your polish to the touch very quickly.
  • Clean up any smudges: Clean up any colour outside the edges of your nails with an orange stick wrapped in a thin layer of cotton and dipped in nail polish remover.
  • Air-dry nails for a perfect finish: While your nails are drying, avoid hands-on activities to prevent smudging. Take time to relax and let nature take its course.
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Follow our easy steps to a salon-perfect pedicure:

  • Soak your feet: Don't cheat yourself out of the foot soak just because you're doing your pedi at home. Soften skin by soaking feet in warm water for five to 10 minutes. Add a handful of Epsom salts or a few drops of essential oils to help soothe tired feet.
  • Exfoliate: Once you’ve pat dried your feet, it’s time to exfoliate. Use a dry foot file to slough off rough spots. Experts recommend choosing a file with a medium grit.
  • Trim and file nails: Using a strong steel clipper made specifically for toenails, cut your nails straight across to avoid ingrowns. Trim them to a length that hits just the tip of your toe. Slightly round square edges so they don’t catch on socks or sandals.
  • Moisturise: Apply a rich cream, made specifically for your feet. Using a circular motion, massage a quarter-size dollop of moisturiser all over your feet and lower legs. Concentrate on those extra dry areas such as your heels and cuticles.
  • Add polish: Remove any cream residue leftover from your nails with a cotton pad soaked in acetone-free polish remover. Apply a base coat, to prime your nails to hold on to polish longer. Then apply two thin coats of your chosen nail colour, saving your big toe for last so you’ll be less likely to smear it when you do the others. To prevent chipping and seal in colour, layer on a finishing topcoat.
  • Dry: Give nails at least 15 minutes to dry before slipping on open-toed shoes and wait at least two hours before putting on close-toed shoes.
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Nail shape is the foundation of any good manicure. Whether short or long, oval or square – distinct nail shapes create a different overall effect on how the nails and hands look. Read on to discover which nail shape is best for you.

  • Square: This shape is created by allowing the nail to grow out straight and then filing the tip straight across the top. Square nails are very popular these days, and with a French manicure finish, is an ideal nail style to fit any occasion. This is quite a strong nail shape that draws attention to hands, so often looks best on medium to long nails. Kept short, square shaped nails can make hands look stubby and heavy. The exception to short, boxy nails is when you’re looking to try a bold new nail trend. In that case, short and neat square styles offer a great base for dramatic lacquers.
  • Round: For subdued, natural-looking nails, choose a round shape. It’s a strong shape that makes a wider nail bed look more elegant. It’s also durable as a smooth, rounded tip is not easy to chip or tear making round nails ideal for those who have weak nails and like to keep them short.
  • Squoval: As done with square, file your nail sides straight, then file across the top like you’re going for the square shape but then gently blend the edges until you’re happy with the result. A softer look than severely square shaped nails and less likely to catch on clothing, most hands look great with a squoval shape. This shape provides maximum support for the nail and is particularly flattering on long nails. As an added bonus, if either side of the nail is damaged it can be filed into a slightly oval shape to maintain the length.
  • Almond: Thought of as the classical nail shape, the nail is filed away at the sides and softly pointed at the tip. It’s feminine, and makes the hands appear more delicate and fingers less chubby. However, it won’t allow your nails to grow to their maximum length as this shape is quite weak without the support of the nail sides.
  • Oval: Oval nails convey a feminine, classic look and tend to be universally flattering. File the tip of the nail into an egg shape, then file away some of the side of the nails. While this does weaken the nails slightly, it is ideally suited to nails that are thick or wide as it gives them a more delicate appearance. For someone with short, small hands, oval nails can also create the illusion of longer fingers.
  • Pointy: To create this shape, nails are filed away at the sides to a point at the tip. This shape is very weak as the sides of the nail (which provide the strength) are totally lost. More of a trend than a staple shape, pointy nails will elongate the hands and give you a fierce look.
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Whether you’d like to learn how to do nail art designs or are looking for tips on which colours of polish suit your skin tone best, we’ve put together a list of our favourite resources to give you a hand:

Sally Hansen, How to’s

Sally Hansen, the number one brand of nail care, offers a series of free step-by-step lessons to teach you how to get the latest nail art looks. The site lists whether nail art designs are beginner, intermediate or advanced – so whether you’re a newbie in the nail art scene or an experienced nail artist, you’ll find a gorgeous new design to suit your skills. To make things easier, Sally Hansen have also matched up their polishes and nail beauty tools and accessories with each look so you won’t need to waste time shopping around for products.

Orly, Technique (Videos and lessons)

Orly is a fashion forward, salon professional nail care brand offering hard-wearing, chip resistant polishes and nail art. The site has an easy-to-follow ‘Technique’ section, which offers a range of short educational videos, a behind-the-scenes glimpse of their campaigns, and lessons on how to create their fun and feminine looks. Visiting the Orly site is a great way to scrub up on your nail beauty skills.

OPI, Try-it-on studio

If you want to expand your nail polish collection, but aren’t sure which hues or colours to go for – visiting the OPI website is a must. We love OPI’s Try-it-on studio, which lets you select your skin tone and nail length online to digitally try their full range of nail colours by palette. With this feature, you will never make the wrong nail polish choice again!

Essie, Essie looks

Essie has a wide range of nail designs and looks on display. You can filter your search according to a variety of styles and occasions, then get details on how to create the look yourself, the products used for the look, as well as suggestions for similar designs. If you’re looking for chic yet subtle nail design inspiration, you’ll be spoilt for choice on the Essie site.

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