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Nail Care

  • How to remove your Gel Manicure

    Whoever invented the gel manicure was a genius. Two-plus weeks of chip free, perfectly shaped nails..yes please! Sadly though, they represent a slightly higher level of commitment than your average manicure. If you don’t remove them in the right way,  you could end up with damaged and weak nails. Fear not! I can help you understand the safe way to remove gel nails and make sure you can maintain healthy nails to keep on enjoying that gel look.

    Step 1: Nail file time. The grittier the better. Gentle just wont cut it. Think sand paper (just please don’t use actual sand paper). Start to buff off the first shiny layer of polish so that the nails look matte and scratched. Don’t be afraid to buff. Remember that there are several layers of gel between the file and your nail, so don’t be afraid of damaging your nail, that’s not going to happen.

    Step 2: Acetone baby. Get prepared with acetone, 10 cotton wool pads and 10 rough squares of foil. First,  soak a cotton wool pad in acetone, and I mean soak. Fold the cotton wool into a semi-circle and place on your fingernail, covering completely. Wrap over the cotton wool with the foil. Make sure it’s tight. Top tip – make sure the shiny side of the foil is in contact with the cotton wool. Carry on until you’ve completed the whole hand. I find it easier to complete one hand at a time, otherwise things can get tricky.

    After about 15 minutes, check to see how much you’re flaking. Some polish will flake right off. Others might require a little more encouragement. What you are looking for is for the gel polish to start lifting and rolling up in the corners. Once it looks like they are ready, grab an orange stick and push the polish off your nail-bed horizontally and gently. Be careful not to dig in on stubborn spots. If it’s not coming away easily, pop some more acetone on some cotton wool and re-wrap the nail. Repeat.

    At this stage, your nails will look dry, but don’t worry. It’s only temporary. After a round of nourishing cuticle oil, your nails will be gleaming and healthy.

    Once you’ve removed all the gel, I like to take a moment to wash my hands to get rid of any excess gel flakes. Then you can get on with a DIY manicure to get your nails back into shape. File your nails down slightly if you want to lose some length. Then my go-to product is the Nailtiques Formula 2 Kit. This contains everything you need to keep your nails healthy and ready for another gel manicure. Start by applying the Formula 2 polish. Apply 1 layer per day for 1 week before removing and starting again. This will give your nails the nourishment they need to stay healthy and strong. The kit also includes a cuticle oil known as Oil Therapy and Cuticle and Skin Gel. Use the oil daily on the cuticles just before bed and rub the gel into your nail-beds in the mornings. You nails will thank you for it, trust me.

    If you take one thing away from this post though, please for the sake of your nails, don't peel the gel off. EVER. I know it’s so tempting. It's occasionally satisfying, but it also can take off layers of your natural nail in the process. It’s not worth it. Yes it might save time, but it will cost you healthy nails. If you want to avoid the hassle, you can always book in with your salon who will remove them perfectly for you.

    So there you have it. How to remove your gel manicure the safe way. Give it a try and let me know how you get on.



  • 10 steps to the perfect at home pedicure

    We’ve all been there. You’ve kept your feet covered up in the winter months, applied the occasional coat of polish on your toes, only to be faced with the flip flop fear. It’s a sunny day, perfect flip-flop weather, but your toes just aren’t up to scratch. Don’t stress, follow these 10 easy steps to get you feet in to tip top condition.

    Step 1. Make sure you buff your feet when dry, not wet. This will help to really shift the dead skin. Use a sturdy foot file and focus on the heels, balls of feet and edges of toes.

    Step 2. Fill a bowl with warm water and add a reviving foot soak, such as Essie Spa Marine Sea Salts 56g. Soak your feet for 10 minutes as this with help to soothe and soften your skin.

    Step 3. Using a foot scrub, massage your feet to get rid of the last dregs of dead skin, then rinse. I love Essie Spa Sea Mineral Glow 56g

    Step 4. Apply a foot masque. Wrap your feet in cling film, followed by a warm towel and relax for 10 minutes, then rinse. My favourite is Essie Spa Hydro-Masque.

    Step 5. Dry your feet thoroughly (even between your toes) and gently ease back your cuticles with a cuticle stick.

    Step 6. Cut your nails straight across with nail clippers. Make lots of little snips, rather than all at once, or you might break your nail. Top tip: It’s important not to create a round shape to your toenails as this can lead to an ingrown nail.

    Step 7. Massage your feet with a rich foot lotion to lock in the moisture. I usually opt for Nailtiques Avocado Foot Cream. It smells amazing and leaves your feel feeling silky smooth.

    Step 8. For the ultimate treat, apply foot lotion before bedtime, wrap them in cling film as before, then add some socks and hop into bed. Essie Spa Kirby Cream is perfect for this

    Step 9. If you want to add some colour, wipe off the foot lotion from your nails using a damp cotton wool pad. Then add your base coat, two layers of polish and a high-shine topcoat.

    Step 10. Cuticle oil is key to maintaining healthy nails. Use a roll on variety for ease and to keep any mess to a minimum. Try Nailtiques Cuticle Oil Roll-On.

    So give these steps a try and say goodbye to flip flop fear for good.


  • The secrets to healthy nails

    Nails are important. The right shade of polish can really make or break an outfit. If my nails are well shaped, have a bit of length and my varnish is chip free, it’s one of those moments where I really feel like I’ve got my s**t together you know? Of course you know. Trouble is, I, like many of you, have nails that just don’t want to play the game. Unless I cover them in shiny gel armour, they split and break and snag constantly and look, how do I put it? A mess, frankly. I’m fighting back though and have sought the help of one of our resident in-salon manicure queens to discover the fixes to all my nail woes. And, because I’m a giver, I thought I’d share her secrets with you.



    Dry and Ragged Cuticles

    Apparently this is inevitable for all of us (oh joy) and is mostly a result of ageing. Fear not though, there are things you can do to help combat the problem. A cuticle oil massaged into the nails overnight will go a long way. It has the added bonus of boosting blood flow to help encourage nail growth (win win). I’ve been using Nailtiques Cuticle Care Oil 10ml.

    Flaking/Splitting Nails

    As before, cuticle oil treatments will help to prevent flaking over time. If you find yourself in a job that calls for your hands to be in water constantly like me, that’s your culprit right there. Rubber gloves are your friend here. It’s also advisable to avoid acetone based polishes for obvious reasons. That said, acetone based removers are preferable as they are more efficient at removing polish and prevent the endless rubbing associated with their non-acetone counterparts. Oh, and NEVER, ever buff your nails if your nails are weak. Nope, not ever.

    Nails that snap

    Overly dry, brittle nails will simply break. Again, oil treatments help (in case you’re not getting it…oil is good for nails. Check) Here, it’s recommended to use nail strengtheners, or protein formulas. I love Nailtiques Formula 3. Apply this clear varnish daily for 7 days, then remove and repeat until strength is restored.


    This is the most common nail ailment apparently, so fear not, you’re not alone. Length-ways ridges usually respond to very gentle buffing. Make sure your nails are varnish free and buff lengthways, but never to the point where you create any heat. Then apply Nailtiques Nail Moisturiser 28g. And, of course, oil obviously.


    Just like with your skin, your diet has a huge bearing on the health of your nails. Try to consume oily fish (such as sardines or mackerel) two or three times a week for the Omega 3. Alternatively, if you’re not a fish lover, try a supplement with fish oils. Also ensure you get enough protein for the iron content. You know Popeye had good nails right?!


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