6 Steps to a Perfect Manicure

I love painting my nails, and have an insanely large nail polish collection to prove it. But if there’s one thing I hate, it’s chipped nail polish. Especially when it happens a day or two after you’ve painted them! Over the years I’ve worked out a quick and easy manicure routine to ensure beautiful hands and long-lasting wear.

My 6 Easy Steps to a Perfect Manicure at Home

What you’ll need:

  • A hand scrub (a body scrub will do too)
  • A hand cream (the thicker the better)
  • Nail polish remover (acetone-free is possible)
  • A base coat
  • The nail polish color you want to apply
  • A top coat

6 Steps to a Perfect Manicure

I use Sephora base and top coats, but Mavala is also a really good brand for these items. I also have Sephora nail polish for this tutorial, but my collection mainly consists of Rimmel and Barry M, two brands which I highly recommend!


Before starting, ensure your nails are trimmed and filed to the desired length and shape.

1. Give your hands a good scrub to remove dead skin, dirt and oils. Rinse with water.

6 Steps to a Perfect Manicure

2. Lather your hands with a rich hand cream, ensuring you cover both sides, all ten fingers and even your nails. If you have time, let that cream sit there and get absorbed by your skin and nails slowly.

6 Steps to a Perfect Manicure Hand Cream

3. Now wipe your nails with nail polish remover to remove the thin greasy layer left by the cream. Make sure you leave the cream on the rest of your fingers around the nails, as its texture will make it easier to remove any stray nail polish!

6 Steps to a Perfect Manicure Nail polish remover

4. Apply a base coat on your nails and let it dry for 10 minutes (tip: before applying your base, color or top coat, don’t shake the bottle but rather roll it inside your two palms to stir and warm it up without creating air bubbles).

6 Steps to a Perfect Manicure Base Coat

5. Apply two coats of your desired color, pausing for 5-10 minutes in between the two. I use three wide strokes on every nail except my (very tiny!) pinkie. Should any color go overboard, simply dip a Q-tip in nail polish remover and gently brush the excess off your skin.

6 Steps to a Perfect Manicure Color coat

6. Check that your color is dry (tip: gently knock your two pinkie nails together and see if they stick to each other – a foolproof test that won’t leave any marks!). When it is, apply a top coat, and try to round off each stroke at the top of the nail. This will prevent chipping which is often caused by typing on keyboards all day!

6 Steps to a Perfect Manicure Top coat

My color usually lasts 6-7 days with this routine. But, as soon as nail polish starts chipping, don’t be tempted to paint over the chips, and most of all don’t scratch it off! Wait until you’re home, take it all off with nail polish remover, trim your nails, and start again when you have time.