Q. How long should a salon manicure/pedicure last?
A. A standard manicure should last a fortnight – but you’d be wise to use a top coat every other day, to maintain shine and strength. ‘If you use your hands a lot – or go without gloves when doing housework or washing-up – then don’t be surprised if it chips sooner. With a pedicure, your toes should stay perfectly sandal worthy for around four weeks.


Q. I’m new to manicures: I want to wear polish, but I’m finding no matter how carefully I apply, it gets onto the surrounding skin. Is there a quick and easy way of removing the messy edges without destroying the varnish?

A. Can we point you in the direction of the very clever OPI Nails Refillable Nail Polish Corrector Pen, which has a nib that can be used to very precisely ‘lift’ off smudges? It arrives with four nibs, in all (so you can replace when they start to fray). Genius.

OPI Nails Refillable Nail Polish Corrector Pen, £10.25 at www.johnlewis.combuy here


Q. How can I make nail polish dry quicker?

A. Manicurist Renée Rainbird shares these insider tips… ‘The worst thing you can do is shake your hands and blow on them; the movement will move the polish, setting back the drying process,’ says Renée. ‘A cold environment will help to dry nails quickly, so blast after 2-3 minutes under a very cold running tap. Séche-Vite is the fastest- and best-drying top coat around – a true classic. But apply thickly for a glossy finish and be sure to cover the whole nail. Then – hey presto – nails-to-go.

• Séche-Vite, £9 at www.zuneta.com – buy here (and you’ll get an exclusive 10% discount if you enter the code ZBEAUTYBIBLE at the checkout)


Q. Do you know where I can buy OPI nail polish in London – West End/Oxford Street area? I know I’ve seen it but can’t remember where!

A. Yes, you’re bound to have seen OPI in one of the many places that stocks this brand. You could head for John Lewis or Selfridges. OPI is available nationwide so if you’re not in London call 01923-240 010 for more stockist information, or visit www.lenawhite.co.uk.


Q. How can I make nail polish last longer on my nails?

A. Jessica Vartoughian is still the hottest manicurist in Hollywood. Her secret for manicures that truly go the distance? ‘Use oils and creams to take care of your hands, yes – but these need to be washed off with a nail brush and a little detergent before you put on any polish, to provide a clean surface for the polish to attach itself to. Put on two coats of base coat right up to the tips and over the edge, to seal it. Use a generous amount of colour – dollop it on! Do at least 11/12 brush strokes of colour on each nail, for each coat. Allow to dry thoroughly and then apply another layer of colour in the same way. Once this is dry, use a top coat.’ Follow her tips, Jessica promises, and a manicure should last for two weeks…


Q. Please can you tell me if there are any brands of nail products that don’t use the following: toluene, formaldehyde and phthalates?

A. Yes, there are now many ranges that avoid those ‘Big 3’ ingredients, all of which have ‘health question marks’ over them. You’ll be pleased to hear that phthalates have been banned from nail polishes sold here – though quite a few still feature formaldehyde and toluene.

One natural range which completely avoids them is the excellent Santé range (originally from Germany), which comes in seven terrific shades (including some great reds); you can find them in a wide range of shades. Suncoat Polishes are another option, also offered in an impressively wide range of shades. Jo bought several shades of polish that avoid those nail ‘nasties’ while in New York, at Priti Organic Spa on 35 East 1st Street (info@pritiorganicspa.com), and they will ship.

All the above are more ‘natural’ polishes – but you’ll also want to know that the following mainstream brands now trumpet their ‘3-free’ credentials: Butter London, NARS, Sally Hansen, Zoya, Revlon and OPI. Hallelujah.

Santé Nail Polish, £9.74 is available from www.survana.co.uk – buy here

Suncoat Polishes, £5.99 at www.gooodnessdirect.co.uk – buy here

Priti Nail Polishes are available for shipping to the UK,  buy here
I am really interested in organic products, having read Jo’s book The Ultimate Natural Beauty Book. I am interested in making my own nail care products, e.g. cuticle oil, polish remover, nail polish etc. Can you tell me how to go about it?

Alas, natural nail polish and remover are impossible to make at home; even the more ‘natural’ ones contain some chemicals that need very careful handling. On the polish front, though, you might like to know about a range called Santé which is free of phthalates, rosins, formaldehyde, toluene and coal-tar derived colourings; it’s the most natural range we’ve found, so far, and you can find the polishes in some larger natural food stores, and on-line. Cuticle oil, however, is easy to make: Jo likes to infuse sweet almond oil with horsetail herb (you can use it fresh, or dried), and you’ll find the recipe for this Nail Booster Oil on p. 128 of The Ultimate Natural Beauty Book, which you can buy on-line if you click here. If you’ve strong nails, try oiling them and then gently buffing them with a nail buffer, for e beautiful, healthy, and chemical-free shine.

Santé Nail Polish, £9.74 is available from www.survana.co.uk – buy here

The Ultimate Natural Beauty Book is available on-line from www.amazon.co.uk – buy here