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How To Give Yourself A French Manicure

How To Give Yourself A French Manicure

What makes a manicure French? Find out how to achieve the perfect French manicure on your own hands, every time. Add a touch of class to your hands without spending a fortune.

Step 1: You will need

4 types of nail varnish;
- a base coat or ridge filler - a colour varnish
- a top coat - white or cream tip varnish
- Cuticle oil or any edible oil
- A cuticle stick
- An emery board
- A cotton pad
- Hand and nail moisturiser - Nail varnish remover

Step 2: Make some time

Don't rush your manicure, you will make a mess.
Give yourself some time and do it right.
It will last longer in the end.

Step 3: Nail Varnish Remover

Get rid of any old nail varnish using some nail varnish remover on a cotton pad.

Step 4: Cuticle oil

Put on some cuticle oil and massage it in.
Leave it on whilst filling to soften your nails.
If you don't have cuticle oil, olive oil or any edible oil will work just as well.

Step 5: File your nails

There is no point having beautifully varnished nails that are ragged.
Take an emery board and run it along the nail tip, only in one direction, until you get the shape you want.

Step 6: Tidy up your cuticles

Cuticles are the skin that overlaps onto the nail.
It is a natural part of the nail, but oil in the skin means that the nail varnish will not stick to it for long.
So to soften your cuticles soak your nails in warm water, this can take up to 15 minutes.

A great alternative to this is to apply cuticle remover to your nails, give your hands a generous coat of moisturiser and wrap in cling film for 15 minutes.
This softens the cuticles and moisturises your hands.

To remove the dead cuticle, rub a cuticle stick around in very small circles so that the dead cuticle is rubbed off.
You can then push the rest of the cuticle back.

Step 7: Wash your hands

Clean away all of the nail dust and grime so that you don't seal it in.
Wipe the nails down with a little nail varnish remover once again to remove any oil residue, as it will cause the varnish to flake off.

Step 8: Put on a base coat

Wipe off the extra on the side of the bottle.
Brush on in 2 or 3 careful strokes.
The base coat protects your nails from being stained by the pigments in the coloured varnish.

Step 9: Put on the tip

You can you use a pink, white or cream colour for the tip.
Cream has a more natural look than white.
Carefully draw a thin line of varnish across the natural white tip of the nail.
If the line looks uneven initially, let it dry, and if you need to, put a second neater line over it.
Make sure it is fully dry before putting on the next layer of nail varnish.

The white tip can be tricky.
Some manicure sets come with stickers that you can paint the tip over.
They guard against putting on a crooked line.

To make the tip application easier, take a small piece of cardboard and cut out a diamond shape.
Put your nail in it and brush along the white tip.
It will stop the varnish going on your skin.

Step 10: Apply the colour

Brush on the colour varnish next.
Again make sure there's not too much on the brush.
You can put on more layers if you need to deepen the colour.
Wait until the first layer is dry to touch and then put on a second layer.
The classic colour to use for a French manicure is a transparent pink or beige.

Step 11: Put on a top coat

The top coat is a hard, clear layer. It seals in the colour and protects the nail.

Step 12: Let it dry

If you want a good French manicure you should leave it at least 5 minutes before even checking if it's dry.

To check if it's dry you can lightly touch a nail with your tongue, if you taste nail varnish it's not dry.

If you're afraid your nails are still tacky, put a little cuticle oil on them to prevent lint from your clothes sticking to them.

Step 13: Tidy up

If you smudge the top coat or tip you will