Many people like having natural nails and looking after them at home. If you are one of them, then here are some tips on how to do a home manicure.Firstly, an assessment of the type of nails you have is a help. Many think that because their nails split or flake their nails are weak – this is incorrect. Using a hardener on dry or strong nails will simply make them brittle. Nails that flake or split normally do so because they are dry. Dry nails need a good cuticle oil to be rubbed in at the cuticle and over the nail to help make the nail more flexible and less likely to split.

A weak nail is soft and tends to ‘tear’ rather than split. For this type of nail, you need to ‘feed’ the new nail that is growing so that it is stronger, whilst also helping the nail that has already grown. Using a nail builder and an oil will ensure a definite improvement in the new growth. Use the two products together and rub in daily at the cuticle. Penetration of these products at the cuticle will feed the nail at the matrix where it is still soft and new and can be improved. A nail hardener can be applied in the same way a base coat is. Layered on daily for seven days is a good way to go; remove at the end of the week and start the process again.

Orly, OPI and LCN have good products for this job.

If your nails are problematic, keep them short. File them instead of cutting them and keep the shape as natural as possible. A squarish shape is the strongest, whilst the more oval you go, the weaker the nail shape becomes and the more likely to break. Be careful to use the correct file for shaping, not too harsh and not too soft. Don’t apply too much pressure, let the file do the work for you….

Having a 6 Way Buffer is ideal. This is a file which has six different surfaces to use on the nail. The two long sides are to shorten and shape whilst the other four surfaces are to be used on the nail plate. The first side smoothens any ridges or bumpy surfaces, the second side refines the surface. The third and fourth give a high shine, a protective ‘silicone’ type of layer to the surface which makes it look like it’s been covered with a base coat. Buffing once a week is extremely good for your nails. It encourages the blood to the surface, which in turn regenerates new nail and encourages growth – don’t over-buff though as this will result in thinning….

Don’t forget to push back your cuticles. You can use your nails to do this, pushing them back whenever you remember. This will ‘train’ the cuticle to stay back and in place. Avoid cutting the cuticle. The cuticle is there to prevent infection and bacteria from entering the body, when you cut it you break this seal of defense. Only cut in case of excess cuticle that is dry and dead.