27/08/2010 17:12 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Sophy Robson's Top Tips For The Perfect Home Manicure

manicured nails by Sophy Robson Courtesy of

After seeing Sophy Robson's incredible nail work backstage at Henry Holland's a/w 2010 show, we couldn't think of anyone better to help us perfect our at-home manicure technique. We asked Robson for her top tips on how to look after your nails, and here's what she told us:

Are there any particular tools that are essential for a home manicure?

A really good durable nail file and a 5-way buffer that has a surface rough enough to lightly scuff the surface of the nail plate. I always use a metal cuticle pusher to scrape off the dry skin that sticks to the nail plate around the cuticle.

Are there any steps you should take before you start painting the nails?
You should always ensure the surface of the nail is bump-free by lightly buffing it away with a slightly rough surface of a block nail buffer. This means any old polish or dead skin is removed, so the new polish will go on evenly and smoothly. You should also wipe the surface with polish remover or a nail dehydrator before the polish goes on to make sure it is grease-free. Then ALWAYS use a base coat!

Are there ways to ensure the varnish looks tidy, especially when using the less dominant hand?
I have found the trick to getting control of your polish is to make sure you have the right amount to cover the surface you wish to paint. This does take practice as judgement is needed! Secondly, control your weaker hand by leaning on something like the edge of a table to steady it.

If you do make mistakes, is there any way to cover them up?
I use a fine-tipped paintbrush dipped in polish remover or acetone.

What's the best way to remove polish without staining the nails?
If you use base coat, the polish will always come off much easier. Other than that, I always use the larger size of a cotton wool pad soaked in remover, place it on the nail and let it sink in to the polish for a minute so it comes off more effectively. The dryer the skin, the harder it is to get polish off.

Do you have any top tips to speed up the drying time and to ensure the nails don't chip once the polish is applied?
Always apply the polish as thinly as possible so it dries quicker and use a good quick drying top coat. Seche Vite or Chanel Quick Shine, for example.

What's the most common mistake made my people doing manicures at home?
Not using base or top coat.

Find out more about Sophy Robson's salon and to see more of her nail work, visit