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Posted on April 24, 2014

There’s a really relaxing, almost meditative air you can cultivate when you curl up on the couch to paint your nails and marathon watch your televisual poison. Something about the rhythmic brushing of your nails and then waiting until they’re bone dry as you zone out is just so satisfying.   But not every at-home manicure is created equal – believe it or not there is a right way and a wrong way to file your nails, here are the biggest at-home mani no-nos to avoid...

1) The right way to file

If you want to keep your nails healthy don’t just grab any old nail file and grind away willy nilly. How do the professionals do it? “So as not to jeopardise the strength of the nail, one should use a fine grit file designed specifically for natural nails and file edge to centre only,” advises Carvalho.

2) Pick a seasonally appropriate shade

Of course you can choose whatever colour takes your fancy, but as a general rule as the season shifts from summer to autumn the brights and neons are being packed away to make room for more classic shades, with Carvalho saying fires engine reds, blacks and nudes are proving particularly popular. She also says she finds most of her customers are choosing matte, opaque finishes over sheerer formulas.

3) Don’t rush

We’ve all been there – glopping way too much polish on the nail brush then cursing when it won’t dry properly. The key is to non-tacky, dent-free nails is to take things slowly. “Aim for two to three thin coats of polish, rather than overloading the brush and trying to get the job done with just one,” advises Carvalho.

4) Always use a base coat and top coat

“Base coat primarily helps to protect the nail bed so there is no staining from the lacquer,” says Carvalho. “You will also find polish easier to apply when base coat has been used.” She says that finishing off with a top coat is essential too, as it can make all the difference in protecting against chips and keeping nail lacquer looking shiny.

5) Don’t overestimate your skills

While getting out your polishes or dabbling in some amateur nail art is a lot of fun, some things are best left to the professionals. Carvalho names one of her biggest no-nos as attempting to use systems that were designed for professional use (like acrylic or gel nails) in your own home. “While some of these systems may even be sold as ‘easy enough to do at home’ they require a level of skill that should be left to the nail technician professional.”