Manicures are the ultimate luxury, however, let’s face it, when does it ever go right? Either you go professional and it’s both costly and time consuming, or you do it yourself – resulting in one perfectly elegant hand, while the other is covered in red spots pretty much anywhere other than your nails. More and more people are choosing to go it alone - having a perfectly polished pair of paws is a treat that you can definitely DIY, following these really simple steps.

1. Prepare to pamper

Merle Brown, freelance journalist and beauty blogger of the 5pm Health and Beauty blog, says that it is especially important in the colder months to moisturise our hands to ensure they look and feel as smooth as possible. "Cold weather combined with indoor heating make nails dry, brittle and more prone to breaking or chipping.” As the autumn months start kicking in, make sure you’re making the most of your moisturiser by using one that’s natural – rich in vitamins and free of harsh chemicals.

2. Perfect the length

Using either nail clippers, scissors, or a file, trim your nails down to the desired length. Any length is fine, but some beauticians recommend somewhere between one and two centimetres is ideal.

3. Soak to success

Soak your fingertips in a mix of dishwashing liquid and warm water for ten minutes. This gets rid of any hidden dirt or dust under the nails, as well as softening up the cuticle.

4. Grab a cotton bud

Next, use a simple cotton bud to push down the cuticle (the skin at the very base of the nail).

5. Paint

Instead of just plunging straight into the pot, dip the brush in and then revolve it around the rim. This gets rid of any excess polish, prevents clogging on your nails, and leaves your manicure smooth and even.

6. Admire

This is the bit where most ladies go wrong. Instead of staying still for a mere thirty seconds before busying yourself again, wait and admire for at least five minutes. This ensures that the nail varnish has properly dried, reducing the risk of chips or other mishaps.

Posted by Laura Andrews