There's nothing more satisfying than a fresh mani. And there's nothing more annoying than one that ends up botched! Editor Trudi Brewer shares her best beauty hacks to keep your hands and nails looking in top shape.
The best way to prep your nails before polish
First buff the surface of the nail, to smooth out any bumps, so the polish will go on evenly. Next, rub a little nail remover over your clean nails before applying the polish. It's a simple prep step, that gets rid of any excess oil on the surface of the nail, which helps to make the lacquer last longer. Invest in acetone-free remover to protect and nourish your natural nails, such as Sally Hansen Nail Polish Remover Pot Acetone-Free, $12.
Avoid hot water for 24 hours
Post gel-manicure or painting your own nails, avoid soaking your nails in hot water for 24 hours after your mani. Including washing dishes, baths, spas, and hot saunas. Although gel polish layers dry under the UV lamp, hot water can get underneath the gel when your mani is fresh, causing them to peel and lift. Also if you're cleaning, always wear gloves, chemicals such as bleach can cause discolouration.
Cap your nails
Just like a professional manicure always cap the free edge (or tip) of each nail with base coat, and then the colour polish, followed by the topcoat. This helps to seal your polish, and strengthen the nail, which ultimately prevents chipping and makes your mani last longer. For unrivalled shine try Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat, $20.
Fix smudged polish
Don’t panic. Simply dip your finger into a bottle of nail polish remover, and while it's wet smooth the smudge with your finger. Then once your nail is dry, re-paint again with a topcoat.
Paint nails in thin layers
Keep your polish really, thin, and never apply more than two coats. Load just enough polish on the brush to cover the entire nail in one sweep, before applying another thin layer. This will make sure the polish dries quickly, and won’t bubble or peel easily. Pictured an everyday wearable soft pink shade, OPI Nail Lacquer Be There in a Prosecco, $20.
Roll don't shake your polish
If your polish has been sitting for a while, roll it between your hands to mix the formula. Don't vigorously shake the bottle, this can cause air bubbles in the polish. Rolling the bottle helps you achieve a smooth-looking finish.
Hand cream is a girl's best friend
At BEQ HQ, hand cream is as ubiquitous as our iPhones and laptops. There are tubes scattered on our desks, in the beauty lockup, and in almost every handbag we own. My favourite formulas are always within arms reach. And my recent obsession is Burt's Bees Shea Butter Hand Repair, $30. Why, because it's effective enough to help repair even the driest of hands (like mine), it absorbs in seconds, and it's 99.9 percent natural, that means, it’s free from nasties such as parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, and the detergent SLS (sodium laureth sulfate).
The ultimate gel mani
If you like a salon-applied gel mani, try The Gel Bottle. I am guilty of getting the same shade monthly, which is Builder in a Bottle, Dolly (pictured above). It can be applied to natural nails, or used as a base coat under colour, or as an extension to build the length of your natural nail. I have tried most UV-cured gel polish brands, and this one offers amazing strength and durability to the natural nail. But best of all it’s not removed by soaking the nails in acetone (which does dehydrate them and cause peeling). I can stretch out my mani for four weeks thanks to this ultra-natural, brilliant finish. The prep and application are both speedy, which is brilliant for busy women, with no dehydrators, and no primers required. Applied in three very thin coats (almost like applying polish), each layer is cured under a UV lamp, which takes around 30 minutes (unless you need removal), and you're good to go. Learn more, or to find a stockist here