Nails need attention? Time for a 15-minute mini-mani-makeover
An acetone-free polish remover like OPI Acetone Free Polish Remover with Aloe Vera, £7.10, will cleanse the nail without damaging the nail bed.
The quickest way to do it? David Barton, international nail guru, recommends three clean sweeps. 'Place the cotton pad onto the nail, apply pressure for a second and then drag it down towards the tip,' says David. 'This breaks down the colour without it bleeding onto the surrounding skin or inflaming the cuticles.'
Then it's time to shape up. 'Choose any file with a fine grit - glass, crystal or emery. Avoid metal files as they can tear the nail plate. Start at either side and file in towards the centre, mirroring the shape of your cuticle,' David advises.
Buffing will then seal the end of the nail to prevent peeling. 'But buff just once every six weeks otherwise you'll weaken the nail,' he adds.
Ms Manicure Block Party 4 Way Buffing Block, £1.99, makes quick work of a file-and-buff with all you need for a smooth, shiny nail in an instant.
You need to replace the vital moisture that life takes out.
Lanolips Rose Balm Intense For Very Dry Hands & Nails, £8.99, contains Medical Grade Lanolin and vitamin E for concentrated moisturisation. Keep it by the sink and apply whenever you wash your hands.
Soften cuticles with Jessica Phenomen Oil, £12.55, gently massaging them back from the nail. 'If you don't keep cuticles soft, they'll dry out and split, causing white spots to appear down the nail,' David advises.
'It's a myth that white spots are a sign of calcium deficiency, they actually show where the cells haven't formed normally due to injury such as picking at dry cuticles. Massaging them will help and increase circulation.'
A diet rich in calcium, essential fatty acids and vitamins ensures healthier nails. But here's a little cheat: try Imedeen Hair & Nails, £22.95 for 60, with water. Since nails grow up to 1.2mm a week, improvements in strength and colour can be seen in just four to six weeks. Easy!
'Squeak' each nail with polish remover to clear excess oil, then seal the nail with Nails Inc Air Street Oxygenating Base Coat, £12, which contains fortifying vitamin C and calcium.
'A base coat gives extra structure to the nail, as well as anchoring colour and preventing stains,' explains David. 'If you don't use one, moisture can get in between the layers of the nail then evaporate, causing the nail to peel.'
Paint on your colour using David's neat three-stroke routine: one down the centre and one either side.
The new Orly Precious colours, £8.75 each, are free from formaldehyde and toluene so are a good option if you are concerned about unnecessary chemicals. Add another drop of Phenomen Oil to each nail to nourish and reduce drying time, then apply No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Day Hand Cream SPF15 £11.50, to protect the skin from sun damage and winter chapping.
Smart Beauty Awards 2013: Best Nail Colour Winner
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