MAKEUP: BEAUTY BUZZ

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Tips & tricks for a DIY salon manicure
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Can't make it to the nail salon? No problem. We asked Phally Eap, founder of Sydney's Door No. 18 salon, for her top tips to achieving a professional mani at home.

PREP

Start by shaping your nails. "This is such an important step," explains Eap. "If your nails are all different lengths, try trimming the longer ones so they fall in line with the rest." Using a good quality nail file always file in one direction only, using long, light strokes. Next, cuticles. Soften them, either by soaking your fingers in warm water for three minutes, or with a dedicated cuticle treatment like Butter London Melt Away Cuticle Exfoliator, and then use a cuticle stick to gently push them back (never cut them!).

BASE

A clear base coat, like OPI Infinite Shine Pro-Stay Base Coat or Butter London Horse Power Nail Rescue Basecoat, is essential for a number of reasons - it fills in any grooves on the nail bed, to ensure a smooth surface, it protects the nail bed from colour pigment, so you’re not left with stains, and it offers a good base to ensure a longer-lasting mani (just like a makeup primer extends the wear of your foundation). But before you apply a base coat, Eap recommends wiping nails down with nail polish remover, like OPI Acetone Free Polish Remover, to ensure there are no lingering lotions or oils on the nail bed. Now you're ready for a base coat.

COLOUR

"Try to select a nail polish with a flat, wide brush - this enables you to paint the whole surface of the nail with fewer strokes," explains Eap. Don't be afraid to experiment with colour on your nails. For a fresh modern neutral we recommend Butter London Patent Shine 10x Nail Lacquer in Royal Appointment - the creamy dark taupe is surprisingly versatile. All polishes require a minimum of two coats, but make sure the first coat has completely dried before going in a second time. Finishing with a clear topcoat, like OPI Infinite Shine Pro-Stay Top Coat, "not only prevents chipping, but gives the nail a glossy look and keeps colour vibrant, so nails don't look dull," says Eap.