Whether it's because of the wide range of attractive colours available, or simply that we want to look our best in the longer evenings, there are certainly plenty of women who flaunt their glossy fingertips all through the summer and then carry the bright colours on into the autumn. But if you want to keep your hands and nails up to scratch, a weekly manicure session is essential. These are our recommendations for Hollywood hands:
- First, gather together the tools you're going to use: nail varnish remover, good quality clippers or nail scissors, an emery board, a small basin of warm water with a few drops of liquid soap, a soft towel, cuticle softener, orange stick, cuticle trimmer, moisturising hand cream, coloured nail varnish and transparent top coat.
- Start by removing all traces of old polish or varnish – you want to start afresh with a clean canvas.
- Trim your nails to the preferred shape, whether square, rounded or slightly pointed. Don't cut them too short or too close to the quick, and leave the fine shaping for the next stage.
- Use an emery board (gentler on your nails than a metal file) to file the nails. The emery board should be should be slightly tilted upwards and the movement should be from the outside towards the centre of the nail. Don't 'scrub' at the nail as it will weaken and may split into separate layers.
- Now for the cuticles: dip your finger tips into a bowl of warm soapy water for five to ten minutes. Dry them carefully, apply a cuticle softener and leave for a couple of minutes. Now take an orange stick and push the cuticle back, away from the nail. Carefully use a cuticle trimmer to remove the excess cuticle.
- Apply a moisturising handcream with a slight massage, paying particular attention to the area around the nails.
- Make sure there is no cream on the surface of the nails when you come to paint them. Apply the nail polish with uniform brush strokes; the colour should reach as close to the edges of the nails as possible and there should be no gaps.
- Finally, protect your nail polish with a clear top coat.