Make mani mistakes the stuff of beauty past with a little help from Adam Slee, talon-ted manicurist to the stars, official Rimmel spokesperson and all-round nail guru (cue rapturous applause).
'A good nail file is essential to achieving runway-ready nails. Friction is the biggest culprit for dryness as it causes heat and because nails are made up of several layers of keratin, like sawing through plywood, it can cause them to flake up. Speed is the thing that causes the most friction so take it slow and always file in one direction.'Marie Claire recommends: Nails Inc Glass Nail File, £17
Buff Love 'Don’t use polishing buffers more than twice a month as it removes the surface of the nail making them weaker.'
Well Oiled 'Oil is the most important thing you can do for your nails – you can never over-do it (especially as you creep nearer to 40 when the skin becomes drier as the natural oils start to deplete.). Use it on and around nails as often as possible especially during the day when it’s more likely to get washed off. I recommend slathering it on even if you’re wearing polish as your nail will still absorb the oil at the cuticle to improve flexibility. (Oil doesn't make the nails stronger but it does make them more flexible and ensures that the cuticle doesn’t stick to the nail bed as it grows out, helping to keep it neat.'Marie Claire recommends: Orly Cuticle Oil, £13.40
Patience Is A Virtue 'Never expect miracles overnight, nail treatments need to be kept up over a period of weeks rather than days before you are able to see any real difference to the condition of your talons, as the nail takes four to six months to grow from base to free edge. Damaged nails don’t repair themselves and will only improve with fresh growth, proving that good things come to those who wait!'Marie Claire recommends: L'Oreal Paris La Manicure 7in1 Saviour, £5.99
Lift Off 'Whatever you wear on your nails: be it polish, gels or acrylic extensions, removal of the product is as important as the application. Most people will bite, pick and pull off product and then complain their nails are weaker after wearing them but nails are naturally hard and although they will soften if they are covered for a period of time, exposure to the elements will ensure they harden up again.'Marie Claire recommends: OPI Original Nail Polish Remover, £6.40
Fix Up, Look Sharp 'Nails look great with colour but the key is uniformity so make sure they’re all the same shape and length and never touch the skin around the sidewalls as the colour will bleed and look messy. If your nails are in less than tip-top shape and you want an instant make-over, go for a textured look as it can hide a multitude of sins.'Marie Claire recommends: Ciate Nail Caviar (get your free sample now with our July issue!)
Don't Blow It 'Your breath contains wet air so never blow on your nails to help dry them as it will simply encourage bubbles.'Marie Claire recommends: Leighton Denny Miracle Mist, £11
Cuticle Care 'Although it’s fine to cut off dead bits of skin and neaten up, don’t cut the actual cuticle as although it may look good for a day or two, cutting it opens up the seal of skin which means that it’ll look worse in the long-term. If you need to do anything, push them back as it’s far more gentle.'Marie Claire recommends: Tweezerman's Pushy, £13
Shape Up 'Most people’s nails are a mirror of their cuticle shape so try and keep them as near to that shape as possible – it’s what will suit your hands best and will also keep them the strongest. Speaking of strength… Keeping the side walls running as parallel as possible will ensure the strongest shape. Too pointed weakens them as you’re taking off the side wall so they’re more prone to flipping over, whilst a square shape, although not the most modern, will ensure that the nails will stay very strong.'
Fake It 'The biggest problem with acrylics is the fact that the nail isn’t exposed to air which means that it’s not working as it should naturally, making them weaker. Nails don’t breathe (they don’t have lungs!), but the keratin needs air to harden up. Also if you go from really short to really long instantly, the skin at end of nail isn’t prepared to bear the extra weight (with naturally long nails it grows out gradually which is what makes them stronger).'
Staying Power 'Never put oil on before polish as it forms a barrier which means that the polish will come off quicker. If anything, apply it afterwards which will help to protect the polish and decrease the chances of it smudging. A base coat is your best bet because the surface of nail is porous, it will protect it from the oils coming out from nail bed as well as keeping the nail stain-free. (Some people’s nail beds are oilier than others which influences how long the nail polish stays on). Contrary to what many of us think, nail polish actually takes a total of 74 hours to completely dry - never attempt to dry it in direct sunlight as it will simply make the polish dry too quickly resulting in an uneven, gloopy finish.'Marie Claire recommends: Rimmel 5in1 Nail Treat Base + Top coat, £4.59
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
Taylor Swift reveals when she actually started dating Travis Kelce - and why she's refusing to hide their relationship
She's opening up about it *all*
By Jadie Troy-Pryde
Forget the South of France in summer, winter’s the time to go
By Penny Goldstone
The biggest dating trends for 2024 might just get you back on the apps
Feeling jaded by modern dating? Take a look at this
By Lauren Hughes