Meet our experts
Bryony McMillan is a nail expert and educator at nail company OPI
Leighton Denny is a leading celebrity nail technologist, visit www.leightondenny.com
- Start by soaking your hands in warm water to soften your skin, adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil. After two or three minutes, smooth on a gentle scrub to buff away dead skin cells, then rinse and pat your hands dry. TRY Champneys Pure Touch Hand Scrub (£6/75ml).
- Next, massage in a nourishing hand cream. TRY Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Eventone Age Spot Hand Cream (£3.99/60g).
- Now tackle your cuticles while they’re soft from the warm water. Never cut them – you risk trimming them back too much, which can lead to infections. Just push your cuticles back gently with a soft-tipped cuticle stick. TRY Boots Essentials Manicure sticks (£1/60g).
- Shape your nails with an emery board (never a metal file) in short sweeps rather than a seesawing motion, which can make nails fragile and prone to breaking. Long, pointed talons are ageing. “Keep nails short,” advises leading nail technician Leighton Denny. “And file them into a rounded shape as square nails can make fingers look wider. Ridges can appear on your nails with age so buff these smooth with a nail buffer.” TRY Leighton Denny Quatro File and Buffer (£5.50/60g).
- Apply a protective base coat to help your polish last longer and prevent staining. You could take it over the tip of your nail to prevent polish chipping at the ends. TRY Essie First Base (£8.99/13ml).
- Choose your colour. “You may be tempted to choose a natural shade so as not to draw attention to your hands, but bright colours work better,” says Leighton. “Avoid varnishes with sparkle and go for bold brights.” Look for punchy corals, reds or pinks, and avoid dark tones.” TRY Leighton Denny Expert Nail Colour in Viva La Diva (£11/12ml), or Revlon Nail Enamel in Cherries In The Snow (£6.49/14ml).
- To apply nail polish, use three long strokes – down the centre, then one either side, avoiding going right down to the cuticle. You may need two coats, but wait until the first coat is completely dry before applying the second. Finish with a top coat, which ‘seals’ your polish, making it last longer. TRY Mavala Colorfix (£11.50/10ml).
For more anti-ageing beauty ideas, pick up the latest copy of Yours Magazine