Ask the experts

Ingredients for a pro-look manicure

Cult Beauty nail expert Andrea Fulerton has some brilliant tips to help avoid the trashbag, Winehouse look when attempting an at-home mani. Here is what you will need:

1 cuticle oil, 1 cuticle scissors

1 nail file, 1 nail buffer, 1 orange stick

1 basecoat, 1 colour nail varnish, 1 topcoat

1 nail corrector pen

½ hour without ANY interruption

One of the most important factors in creating a good manicure is making sure your nails are healthy and strong before you start. Strong Nutrients do a good supplement called Antarctic Krill, which will strengthen both your hair and nails.

For best results, time your manicure for after bath time when your cuticles are perfectly softened and your nails are clean or if you don’t have time, use a cuticle oil to soften the area. Remember that less is more when trimming or pushing back cuticles and buffing your nails. Don’t overdo it otherwise you’ll create more work for yourself. The skin is there to protect.

No matter what the season or trend I always file the nail corners making them softer/slightly rounded to avoid catching and tearing the nail. As long as your nail file isn’t too abrasive (you’ll feel it vibrate down your finger) then filing in both directions is fine. Just remember to run the buffer over the freshly filed edges to ‘re-seal’ the nail from water saturation or dehydration.

Before painting, always ensure your nail is squeaky clean by removing any excess oil as this will act as a barrier between the nail and varnish and limit the life of your manicure. Just wipe a little nail varnish remover over your nail bed.

Steady your less dominate hand by anchoring it down on the table at the wrist.

When painting your nails aim for three thin strokes each and don’t overload your brush. Less is more as the thinner it’s applied the faster it’ll dry – and without pesky air bubbles too. Thin fast base coat, two coats of colour, then a fine brush of top coat to ‘seal the deal’. Make sure your varnish products aren’t too old. After 18 months most start to go gloopy and the results will be terrible.

Keep a corrector pen or concealer brush, nail varnish remover and tissue to hand in case of mistakes. Once you finish the colour coats, run the tip along the sides to give nice straight lines. Then add the topcoat to seal your handiwork.

Do nothing for 20 minutes!!!! I mean nothing.

In the summer months I tend to give my fingernails a rest, let them get lots of Vitamin D from the sunshine and recover from the drying effects of chemicals. In winter when toes are wrapped up for months I trim them down short, remove my otherwise all-year-round nail varnish and oil them 2/3 times a week. Whatever you do, remove the varnish once it becomes chipped to avoid a trailer park look!

Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...