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The easiest way to nail your at-home manicure

Harper's Bazaar (UK) logo Harper's Bazaar (UK) 25/03/2020 Bridget March

a hand holding a banana: How to make hand and nail care a daily ritual, and get professional-looking results © mikroman6 - Getty Images How to make hand and nail care a daily ritual, and get professional-looking results Without access to our beloved nail salons, many more of us are doing our own manicures at home, and making hand care a daily ritual. 

Now, we're not talking professional-level gel application and removal here, but hassle-free manis, whether you choose to polish the nails or not.

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"I recommend you incorporate nail care into your regular day to day activities," says Rita Remark, editorial manicurist and global lead educator for Essie. Here, she and Peacći nail expert and educator, Helena Marimon, share their tips:

1/ Cuticle work

"Gently pushing back the cuticles will give you more room to paint the nail and also a much more professional finish," explains Marimon. She recommends investing in Lily England’s Luxury Manicure Set which has everything you need to trim, shape and clean up your cuticles.

Remark adds, "Push back your cuticles with a pusher when you're in the bath or a warm shower (maybe while your hair is conditioning)." Being soft from the water, this makes it easier to do – and less of a chore.

"Add a cuticle oil massage into your day and night skincare routine," she also suggests. Try the Essie Nail Care Cuticle Oil Apricot Treatment, which keeps the cuticles supple and surrounding skin soft for an ongoing groomed look.

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2/ Nail filing

Marimon says, "When filing into shape, make sure you file following one direction instead of filing back and forth, as this can cause the nail to split."

Remark feels that filing shouldn't be reserved for 'fixing' the nails, but to keep them in shape as you would your brows. "A light file every few days stimulates growth and prevents snags," she explains.

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3/ Polishing

When it comes to painting your nails, the general rule of thumb is to apply a base coat, two layers of your chosen colour, then a top coat. Marimon explains, "Using a base coat prevents your polish from staining your nails and increases the nail colour wearability. Peacći 2 in 1 Base Coat can be used both as a base coat and a hardening treatment to strengthen and nourish your nails all the while giving longevity to your mani." A top coat, such as the Essie Nail Care Gel Setter Top Coat, can help lock your colour in for long-wearing results as well as providing a high-gloss finish. 

However, if you're short on time (or patience) there are new fast-dry nail polish formulas out there that negate the need for base and top coats.

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Remark says Essie ExprEssie is ideal for an at-home polish for a few key reasons. "The angled brush makes polishing your dominant hand a breeze and prevents any awkward wrist extensions to achieve the perfect application. Also, the brush is wide, plush and contoured at the tip – so with the right light pressure, it applies across the whole nail with one stroke." The big plus, though, is that it is literally touch-dry in about a minute. "Smudges, nicks and smears are a big concern when polishing at home," she adds, so a quick-dry formula makes things much more foolproof.

4/ Hand care

To maintain the look of your manicure – and for the health of your hands in general – "apply lotion after every thorough hand washing," Remark advises.

Look for a hand and nail cream, such as the Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, which not only nourishes and protects the skin, but strengthens the nails, too.

If severe dryness in a concern, dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto explains how to spot hand eczema, here, and offers advice for at-home treatments.

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