(Drafted from http://www.dailytimes.com.pk on 22-Dec-2008 by Javeria Ejaz Khan)

Here are some steps for doing an affordable yet great-looking home manicure. Try it!

Jealous of Victoria Beckham’s perfectly manicured, precisely shaped, square cut nails, costing her $850 for one sitting? Don’t worry, I’ve got a smart simple easy way, you can curb your depression in under less than Rs 500 with beautifully home manicured nails all by yourself. All you need to do is follow this ten step procedure and your hands will look like a million bucks.. Guaranteed!

Step 1. Remove the old nail polish

Remove the old polish. Moisten a cotton ball with nail polish remover. The type of polish remover depends on your personal preference. Press the cotton ball over the nail for a few seconds to soften the old polish rather than scrubbing making a mess and making a complete mess out of it.

Wipe gently with the cotton ball on the nail starting at the base of the nail to the tip. This keeps old polish from smearing into the cuticle.

Step 2. Shape the nail

Shaping the nail is the next step. The fingernails should be filed into oval tips. Begin on the left hand with the little finger and work towards the thumb. Hold the finger between your thumb and the first two fingers of the left hand. Hold the fingernail file in the right hand. Slant the fingernail file so that the filing is done mostly to the under side of the nail. File each fingernail from the corner to the centre, going from right to left and then from left to right. On each side of the fingernail, stroke in one direction only. Remember the shape of the nail is not checked from the outside its checked from the inside. Dip your finger tips in a cup of warm olive oil to soften the nails; if nails are supple, they are less likely to snap off.

Step 3. Soften the cuticles

Softening the cuticles is accomplished by soaking the fingers in a small finger bowl filled with soapy water. A few drops of mild dish soap added to water in the finger bowl works well. Carefully dry the hand by holding a small towel and place, the hand on the towel. Dry the hand while simultaneously pushing back the cuticle and skin on each fingernail. Be very gentle.

Step 4. Remove the cuticles

Apply cuticle remover by following the directions on the cuticle remover tube or bottle. Gently loosen the cuticle with an orangewood stick or cuticle pusher. Keep the cuticle moist while working. Wash gently and dry.

Step 5. Clean under the edge of the nail

Clean under the free edge of the fingernail by dipping a cotton-tipped orangewood stick in soapy water and cleaning under the nail from the centre outward to each side. Do not go too deep while cleaning. Sometimes it is necessary to remove dead cuticle or hangnails with small scissors or cuticle nippers. Be very careful when you do this.

Step 6. Moisturise cuticle area

Apply cuticle oil or cream at the base of the nail. Brush nails gently in a soapy water with a downward motion. Dry hands and nails thoroughly. Next use a very fine emery board. Buff nails giving them a smooth bevelled edge. Wipe nails to remove any particles of cuticle or dead skin. Follow the steps on the emery board to bring out the shine on your nails.

Step 7. Apply base coat

Apply base coat using long strokes. When the base coat is dry to a light touch apply polish. Base coat has multiple purposes firstly, help prevents your manicure dry easily without making a mess of it and secondly, it helps your nails to stay the whitish colour by hydrating them thus preventing them from yellowing up.

Step 8. Apply nail polish

Apply polish lightly with strokes from the base to the tip. Excess polish on cuticle or nail can be easily removed with cotton tipped orangewood stick moistened with polish remover. This is a look that is very popular because it makes your nail look healthy and clean. It may take awhile to get the hang of applying the tip guides. However practice will make you perfect. If the classic French manicure is a little too conservative for your style, make your own colour combination.

Step 9. Apply top coat

Apply a top or seal coat. Brushing the top or seal coat around and under the tips of the nail will give the nail added protection. This has a function of not letting the manicure chip of very easily due to doing household works or even ladies working on computers.

Step 10. Apply lotion

The final step is to apply lotion. This can be done if time permits. Nails need to be completely dry. Start at the wrists moving down to the fingertips with light rubbing motion. This will make your hands looking soft and fresh.

If you live in the Manchester area and are looking for a Manchester based beauty salon call Re’Voil Hair & Beauty on 0161 950 9933 or visit the website at www.revoil.co.uk