Previously, it was believed that soaking our nails in water was the best way to begin a manicure and soften cuticles – this is a myth! Soaking our nails causes them to absorb water and expand, so the nail may not contract back to their true size for another 24 hrs. Polishing right after could mean less wear. Water also puffs out our cuticles, preventing a thorough clean up and it can also spread infection if you happen to have a cut on your finger. For many reasons, go water-less!
One-by-One Manicure Step
Remove Nail Paint:
Begin your at-home manicure by first removing nail polish, if any. Avoid rubbing back and forth. The best and easiest way to remove stubborn nail colors is to press the nail polish remover wipe onto your nails, wait 5 seconds for it to loosen the nail polish, and wipe down the length of the nail. Repeat this step a few more times to remove any excess.
Cleanse and Sanitize Hands:
Once your nails are polish free, wash your hands with soap and water (or sanitize) to start with a clean canvas!
Trim your Nails :
If your nails grown too long, begin by giving your nails a trim. With your nail clipper , trim the nails using small clips working from one side of the nail to the other. Never begin clipping your nail in the center because it can put stress on your nail plate.
Don’t forget to File them:
Once you have your desired nail length, file your nails in shape with a soft nail file. Always file in one fluid motion with long, light strokes in one direction. Start from the outside edge and continue in a side-to-center movement. This method will create a smooth finish and give you more control over the shape, too. Filing back and forth weakens nails, making them prone to splitting.
Buff Before Polish:
For nail color that lasts well beyond three days, it is essential to eradicate all traces of dirt, oil, and polish residue to give it a clean base to cling to. Buffing is essential for perfectly prepped nails. Be gentle and sparing, using a soft and smooth four-way block or buffing file. Buffing brightens, smooths, and creates natural shine in addition to removing ridges, giving you a perfectly prepped base to paint on.
Get your Cuticles in Shape:
To soften your cuticles, apply a drop of cuticle oil to every nail. With an orange wood stick or a clean stainless steel cuticle pusher, gently guide any overgrown cuticle back into place. Always remember that our cuticles are a protective barrier, preventing bacteria from entering our bodies. Some people have thin, barely visible cuticles while others naturally grow thicker, but both are healthy when cared for properly, so don’t over push!
After you’ve trimmed your nails, hydrate the skin with a moisturizer focusing on dry areas. Once absorbed, wipe nails and use nail polish remover to clean the beds for the fun, color part.
Apply your Base Coat:
A base coat provides a barrier between nail polish and your nail, preventing stains. It also acts as an anchor to nail polish, holding it in place like glue and preventing chips.
Apply 2 Coats of Color:
Select your nail polish shade and apply two thin coats of nail color, waiting 2 minutes between each. The aim of the first coat is coverage and the next is to achieve full depth of color.
Whether a special occasion or just a day to treat yourself, picking a nail color should be fun – but even for pros, applying nail polishing on your own hands can be challenging, especially when it comes to your non-dominant hand! Steady your hand by keeping both of your elbows on the table.
For novice polishers, it’s helpful to begin with the hand you’re least comfortable with to ensure a less-than shaky start.
Finish with a Top Coat:
Whether you’re walking out the door in less than 60 seconds, want a gel-like shine or matte finish, choose a top coat.
Following these nail tips will give you a professional quality home manicure that you can proudly show off!