Talon Treats

You know that when you get half a dozen people if you have gotten your nails professionally painted in one day, you're onto a winner. I owe a lot to my manicure routine which I have tried to perfect over the years of my nail-obsession which started in my junior high school days. I have paired it down to a simple 10-step process which takes a good 30-minute nail-athon to complete. Welcome to the one stop shop to beautiful nails...

1. Remove. Remove any previous nail polish from your tips. You're going to want a blank canvas to start from. I love the Cutex Strengthening Nail Polish Remover as it isn't as harsh as regular forms of remover which can strip your nails of vitality.

2. Wash. Wash your hands thoroughly to remove any grime from under your nails- it's so important to cleanse away the harmful bacteria and build-up from under your nails.

3. Shape. Get cutting with your nail scissors. I like to keep my nails cut relatively short so a once a week cut is in order here. Invest in good quality scissors as flimsy ones can be challenging to work with if you have strong/thick nails (especially toenails!).With your favourite nail file, file your nails is short strokes in one direction. See-sawing motions can damage your nails and softer, smaller strokes have more control. I like to go for a more rounder, almond shaped tip on most occasions but square nails look beautiful too.

4.Cuticles. Rehydrating and nourishing your cuticles is an extremely important step that is often overlooked. Having tidy cuticles give that extra 'you just had your nails done' look and create a polished look. I use the Seacret Cuticle Oil around the nail bed for approximately five minutes before pushing them back with a cuticle stick and wiping away with a cotton pad. 

5. Dehydrate. To do this, lightly swipe a nail-polish remove soaked cotton pad across your nails. This creates a better base for your polish to adhere to. I find that when I do this, my polish looks and lasts better than if I don't.

6. Base. Now for the base coat. My favourite base coat at the moment is OPI Nail Envy (I have a mini one here), which is a multi-action nail strengthener turned base coat. I apply a liberal layer and leave to set.

7. Colour. The most exciting part of the routine- but also the most tedious. I like to apply two layers of nail polish- ten minutes apart to allow them to dry properly. In the photo, I am wearing Essence's Colour & Go Polish in 125 'Absolutely Blue', which is a lovely lavender blue shade, depending on the lighting.

8. Lock. It is crucial to lock in your colour with a top coat, it adds a gel-like shine, prevents chipping and wear and tear and seals the deal. I love the Cutex Quick Dry Top Coat as it is incredibly long lasting and glossy- I find I can often go a week between colours. 

9. Fix. If you have made any errors around the nail bed, soak a cotton tip in nail polish remover and tidy up those edges! 

10. Nourish. To finish off, I like to run another tiny amount of the cuticle oil around the nail bed and protect my hands with a heavy duty hand cream for soft hands! Your nails won't be the star of the show if you have scaly hands (ew).

These are my ten steps to flawless nails! Now don't go picking anything up...

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