Step #1 / Prepare
When it comes to nailing your manicure, the old adage 'fail to prepare and prepare to fail' couldn't ring more true.
"A manicure is only as good as the time and effort that goes into the preparation and protection. Remove any excess nail polish and check the state of your cuticles. If they are dry or ragged, apply an intensive cuticle cream or oil to nourish and soften the area. For overgrown cuticles, apply a cuticle remover and gently push back overgrown cuticles with a hoof stick to create a neat nail contour," says Tracey.
Tracey also recommends using a targeted nail scrub like Mavala’s Lightening Scrub Mask to "exfoliate impurities and dead skin from the nail and its contour, smooth the nail plate, and soften cuticles." You'll also want to ensure you prep your hands by using a scrub all-over and finishing with an intensive moisturiser.
Mavala Lightening Scrub, $26.95, available at mavala.com.au
Salt By Hendrix Grapefruit + Vanilla Body Polish, $39.95, available at adorebeauty.com.au
Step #2 / Buff and shape
To shape the nails, Tracey recommends using a high-quality emery board in long sweeping curves from side to centre.
"Never file back and forth in a sawing motion as this will heat the nail, fray edges and encourage flaking," explains Tracey.
"When buffing the nails, use light delicate movements in one direction on the nail plate only. Nail polish holds better on a smooth surface. Buffing also activates blood circulation on the nail bed, stimulating growth and aiding the penetration of treatment products."
Step #3 / Paint
Next up, it's time to grab your polishes - beginning with a nail treatment.
"The paint job is only as good as the foundation you lay, so a treatment product and base coat are mandatory for a long-lasting manicure. Apply a quality, natural nail hardener to protect the nails from peeling and breaking. Try Mavala’s Scientifique K+ a penetrating nail hardener that binds the nail plates together and contains crystal resin tears, from the pistachio mastic tree, to support the natural keratinization process (or formation) of the nails," says Tracey.
"After this, it's essential to use a barrier or base to provide a screen between the polish and the nail plate to make your manicure last longer."
Tracey's top tips for ensuring the polish goes on smoothly?
"Don’t shake your bottle too hard before application, as this creates tiny air bubbles affecting the finished result. When you apply, avoid dabbing and rather use long, even strokes. It’s best to apply nail polish in thin layers (two is ideal) as it will dry quicker and last longer."
Mavala Scientifique K+, $30.95, available at mavala.com.au
Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat, $15.95, available at priceline.com.au
Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Carnal Red, $52, available at myer.com.au
Step #4 / Finish
For an ultra-glossy look with longevity, finish with a high-shine topcoat. Tracey also recommends trying a quick-drying spray to help avoid smudging.
"Wait at least two or three minutes between each coat. Another tip is to reapply the topcoat every second day to stretch out the manicure lasting power," says Tracey.
Sally Hansen Ultra Wear Topcoat, $15, available at priceline.com.au
OPI Rapidry Spray, $17.95, available at adorebeauty.com.au
Want even more beauty? Tune in to Get Lippy, the podcast that lifts the lid on all things beauty from the editors at InStyle, marie claire and BEAUTYCrew.
Hit play below or search for Get Lippy wherever you podcast: