1. File Your Nails
Make sure they’re completely dry – filing wet nails can cause splitting. Rounded nails (mirroring the shape of your cuticle) that extend just over the edge of the fingertip always look elegant.

2. Soak Your Nails
Apply a rich hand cream. Then soak your nails in warm, soapy water for five minutes to soften the cuticles. (One hand at
a time if you want to flip through a magazine or play with your iPad.)

3. Push Back Your Cuticles
Use a wet nail stone and push gently. If you have a hangnail, trim it – otherwise, don’t clip cuticles, as they protect nails from infection.

4. Apply a Base Coat
It helps the colour go on smoothly and last longer.

5. Brush on Two Coats of Colour
Wait a couple of minutes between coats. Use three strokes per nail – one on each half of the nail, then a horizontal swipe across the top edges to prevent chips.

6. Apply a Top Coat
It can cut drying time. Don’t forget to swipe the top coat across the tip of each nail as well, as you did with the colour.

Not Ambidextrous? Join the club. To minimise slip-ups, paint your dominant hand first (it’s even trickier to use your non-dominant hand when the nails are wet with polish), and always move from your pinkie to your thumb (which tends to rotate inwards as you go and could get smudged).