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A manicure is a treatment for your hands.

(I know, most of you know this already, but I was asked the other day so I do need to add it!)


Manicures range from a simple tidy up of your nails to deep exfoliation, moisturising, cuticle treatments, shaping and, of course, application of varnish or even false nails.  There are also a number of manicures popping up exclusively for men (which don't involve varnish or nail extensions).


I'm not a huge fan of manicures

simply because I am a pedicure addict, so if it's a choice between one or the other I'll usually opt for the pedicure.  Very often my manicures come as an add on to a pedicure, especially in US nail bars where I will walk in for a pedicure and whilst a massage chair and foot bath are doing wonderful things to my body I'll say yes to any extra treatment I'm offered.


The most important tip for getting a great manicure

with traditional varnish is quite simply do everything you have to with your hands before you begin.  Either pay in advance or have cash to hand (particularly if you're not sure about adding a tip until the end), deal with your keys, sunglasses and avoid having to zip or unzip your handbag once your nail varnish is applied.  If you can, arrange time to sit with a magazine in the salon or spa after your manicure so you've got the best chance of your varnish drying without smudging.


There have been huge developments in the range of nail varnishes and treatments that help avoid the smudging problem.


Stick on nails,

from the kind you can buy in Superdrug to the more expensive salon option are very popular, but do think about the damage these might do to your nails in the long term.  If your nails are particularly dry and brittle I would always recommend looking to your general health to try and improve them, as some nail treatments can make them worse.  (I think it's a bit like layering foundation and powder on blemished skin, you can actually make your skin worse by blocking your pores, whereas a good facial may cause a few initial spots or redness but give you healthier skin in the long run.)


I recently tried Gelish nail varnish,

which was awesome as it's treated to dry like a rock.  I also chose a colour I could touch up easily so my nails lasted for weeks.


Unfortunately when they finally came off my nails were quite damaged, so I'm keeping them naked and healthy for now!


For great shiny nails without damage try the Sally Hansen range of strengtheners, and don't be afraid to take your own favourite varnish into a salon if you want a professional manicure with your own flavour.



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