The Low Maintenance Mani: Short Nail Tips And Ideas
The Low Maintenance Mani: Short Nail Tips And Ideas

The Low Maintenance Mani: Short Nail Tips And Ideas

5 minutes read

Long or short, wide or narrow — all nails are created equal and deserve to be loved as they are. But longer nails seem to have a reputation for being the glamorous ones, while short ones often get labelled as merely functional. While their functionality cannot be denied (they’re easier to keep clean and don’t interfere with basic life tasks like buttoning a shirt, typing or wearing contact lenses!), they also offer a unique aesthetic value: they’re chic without ever seeming like they’re trying too hard.

Whether you wear your nails short by choice or otherwise, here are the best short nail tips to keep them looking their best.

Short nail tips

Care for your cuticles

Your nail beds are longer than they seem. To reveal their true length, you need to push back your cuticles. First, soften them by soaking your fingers in warm water. Next, dry off, apply a lightweight oil on your cuticles and let it sink in for a minute. Once they’ve softened, gently push them back with a wooden cuticle pusher.

Buff and file

To get the most out of an at-home manicure, polish your nails with a buffing tool. This will even out ridges and add shine. Use your nail file to smooth the edge and create the shape you desire. You can file your nails regularly, but keep at least two weeks between buffing sessions to avoid over-buffing and to preserve the health of your nail.

Tip: Filing your nail into an almond shape (rounded with a subtly pointed tip) gives the illusion of a longer nail. 

Cleanse and dry

Before you begin painting your nails, make sure to wash your hands well to get rid of any oils and creams that could be lingering on the surface of the nails. These could interfere with the nail varnish and decrease its longevity. Dry your hands too — wet nails are no good either!

Apply nail varnish in thin coats

Thick, gloopy coats of nail varnish are the main reason for chips. Instead, layer multiple thin coats till you reach full opacity for even colour that lasts well.

Seal the deal with a top coat

If there’s one step in a DIY manicure you shouldn’t skip, it’s the application of a top coat. This is what makes the nails look hyper glossy and polished. Plus, it prevents chipping and fading. You could also choose a matte top coat, if you prefer shine-free nails. 

Hand care tips

Don’t forget to exfoliate

Give the backs of your hands a good scrub with a gentle exfoliating product like the Exfoliating Body Scrub. This will help get rid of any dry patches and dead skin, leaving you with smooth, rejuvenated skin.

Moisturising is key

After you exfoliate, it’s time to inject some moisture in. Use a nourishing cream with a non-sticky formula like the Hand and Nail Treatment Cream. It contains sesame oil and Japanese mulberry extract that soften and shield the skin from the elements. Smooth it over the backs and then the insides of your palms, and then massage your fingers and nails.

Protect your hands from the cold

Cold weather can dry up your hands. During the winter months, keep your hands moisturised and gloved so that they’re not exposed to the harsh temperatures.

Sun care is important

SPF isn’t just for your face. The skin on the backs of our hands is thinner and therefore more prone to sun damage. In addition to being a health risk, sun exposure could lead to dark spots and textural changes on the hands. 

Keep them covered

The weather isn’t the only factor to be wary of. Make sure you wear protective gloves when you’re washing up, cleaning or exposing your hands to any chemicals.

Short nail manicure ideas

Whether you’re DIY-ing your mani, getting your nails done at a salon or looking for some short acrylic nail ideas, here’s some inspiration for you: 

A classic French manicure

a french manicure
Instagram: @mytownhouseuk

You can’t go wrong with a French manicure. They look best on short nails and trick the eyes to make them appear longer. Apply on a nude base shade and use a thin brush to paint the white crescents. 

Little dots

Manicure with dots
Instagram: @shoreditchnails

Minimalist designs look great on shorter nails. All you need for this one is a natural base colour, a darker nail varnish and a dotting tool. You could even use a toothpick to create the little dots at home.

Shades of nude

Manicure with different shades of nude nail polish
Instagram: @ldn_grace

Short nails are chic as they are, but should you want to make them appear longer, a nude manicure is the answer. It works just like skin-toned pumps that make legs look longer. Alternatively, you could apply different shades of nude to different nails for a fun, grown-up take on the Skittle manicure trend.

Metallic details

Nail with a metallic accent
Instagram: @drybylondon

The advantage of short nails? Small details make a big difference. Add a metallic accent on each nail by painting a small crescent close to the cuticle. Low effort, high impact.

Dots and dashes

Nails with dotted manicure
Instagram: @imarninails

This delicate, constellation-inspired mani is perfect for short, dainty nails. Compliments are guaranteed. 

Candy colours

Short nails with bubblegum pink manicure
Instagram: @wenaildit

Pastels don’t have to be saved for spring. They look great all year round, especially on shorter nails. 

For more tips on how to get your hands glowing, read our complete guide to healing dry hands.

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