How to do your festive nails at home

How to do your festive nails at home


You can emulate the salon experience from the comfort of your home.

New coronavirus restrictions might mean you now can’t attend a scheduled nail appointment.

It might have been the end of year treat you were looking forward to, but you can still get your nails ready for Christmas and New Years with these easy steps put together by Lookfantastic.

You might even find nail art isn’t as hard as you thought.

Clean and soak

For the best chance of a long-lasting manicure, you need to make sure your nails are properly clean.

Use an acetone-free nail polish remover (as it’s gentler) to ensure any residual polish is gone then thoroughly wash your hands to remove any dirt stuck under the nails.

Follow this with a moisturiser to lock in hydration, but also to make this an enjoyable pampering session. You could massage any cream into your hands.

Toolkit: OPI Prospa Protective Hand, Nail and Cuticle Cream and Manicurist Green Nail Polish Remover.

Smooth and shape

While your nails are still soft from being soaked in water it’s a good time to trim them down with a clipper.

Cut your nails to the length and shape you want and make sure to trim off any broken or split edges.

Once done, use a nail file downwards to soften any rough edges left from trimming.

Then using a nail buffer, go over the top of the nail to softly file down any rough or uneven points. A smoother surface will make for a better finish with your nail polish.

While you’re doing this, take care of your cuticles too by pushing them back.

Be careful not to trim them though like you may have seen your beautician do – it’s easy to go too far and cause yourself pain. Your cuticles help to protect against bacteria, so they’re there for a reason.

Toolkit: Margaret Dabbs Manicure and Pedicure Set and The Body Shop Nail Polishing Block.

Base coat

To prevent staining and to get longer wear out of your nail polish, always use a base coat.

Think of it like a primer, but for your nails.

Toolkit: Nails Inc Nailkale Base Coat.


Start in the middle of the nail and use as few strokes as possible with your desired colour.

The thinner the layers of nail polish, the easier it is to build up the opacity without smudging or chipping later on.

They’ll also dry down quicker than thick heavy coats of polish.

To steady yourself when painting with your non-dominant hand, rest your elbows on a table.

If you’re going to attempt nail art for a festive twist, use hair slides and toothpicks to precisely add more to the nail as shown in the video below.

If your hand just isn’t steady enough, put a glitter coat over your ring finger nails so they stand out or apply glitter to the whites of your nails just as you would do a French manicure.

Follow this with a top coat to seal it all in and prolong wear.

Toolkit: Essie Trio Kit and CND Long Wear Top Coat.

Tidy up

If you’re working with gels, you must clean up any polish on the surrounding skin as the UV will heat up the gel and could damage skin underneath it.

The easiest way to tidy up is to get a cotton swab, add nail varnish remover, and go around the edges.

After this, apply oil to the nails to keep them soft. It’s a good idea to do this regularly as it will prevent the nail polish from cracking off too.

Toolkit: Nailberry Little Treasure Nourishing Cuticle Oil, Boots Nail Polish Remover and Slixir Hand and Polish Cream.

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