We all know someone who always has perfect Manicure. Their polish is always perfect and shiny, and their nails are strong and healthy. How do they do it? How are their nails so perfect? I know their secret, and here is a hint, it doesn’t require a weekly professional manicures. Here is the thing, having a professional shape up your nails and pushing back your cuticle will give you a head start. This is especially true if you do not know how to correctly shape your nail to the desired look but once the shape is there its all maintenance. Don’t be intimidated by the number of steps for a home manicure. You will find that once you do this a few times it will become second nature since each steps seems to roll into the next.
Lets get into the details of home manicure that will make your friend with the perfect nails ask you for tips!
First gather up what you will need for your at home spa manicure:
Nail polish remover-full strength acetone works faster
Glass or plastic bowl-deep enough to soak your fingers in.
Half a lemon
Cuticle pusher- can be metal,wooden or plastic.
Base and Top coat.-or OPIs Nail Envy doubles as both!
Polish of your choice.
First you want to remove any old polish you may have on your nails. The best way to remove the old polish is by soaking a cotton ball in acetone then placing it over the nail and holding it there for 5 seconds, then glide the cotton ball with firm pressure straight down to the tip of your nail. By pulling straight down the nail and not wriggling the cotton ball back and forth it reduces the smearing of the polish onto your skin.
Next comes filing your nails. Try to avoid a sawing motion on the nail. Sawing motions can crack your nail also make it more difficult to create a shape. Filing from the corner or the nail to the center in one swipe is more gentle and you have more control over what shape the file creates. Just continue this step on both sides of the nail until the desired shape and length is achieved.
Wrap a small piece of cotton around your cuticle pusher and dip it in a small amount of peroxide and run it under the free edge of your nail. Doing this is optional but it does help clean under your nails and it also helps to whiten your free edge naturally.
Here is the “spa” part of the manicure. Grab you bowl fill it half way with warm water and squeeze half a lemon into the water. Soak your nails in the lemon water for at least 5 minutes to allow the cuticles to soften. Adding the lemon is not necessary but it does have a brightening effect on the nails and hands and it also smells nice and fresh.
After you soak, dry your hands and grab your cuticle pusher. You want to be gentle while pushing your cuticles. The idea is to move the cuticle off of the nail bed so you have more exposed nail to polish. All you have to do is gently push on the cuticle to move it back off the nail bed. You may not be able to push it back as far as you like the first time but each time you attempt it you will be able to move it back further. Work your away around the nail pushing the cuticle until it is off the nail bed in a smooth line.
Add a drop of olive oil to your cuticles and hand lotion to your hands and rub it in well. Moisturized hands and cuticles are important to keep your cuticles from cracking and becoming sore. It also helps to make the cuticle more flexible so it can be pushed back further the next time you use your cuticle pusher.
Last and most important is the polishing step. The order of the polishing step is, base coat, 2 coats of colored polish and then top coat. Using a base coat is important for a few reasons. It helps keep your nail clean under the polish. Ever notice how after wearing red polish your nails look yellow when the polish comes off? That is because the polish stained your actual nail bed. Using a base coat prevents staining and it also acts like double sided tape for your polish color. It helps polish adhere and therefor last longer! I love using OPIs Nail Envy as a base coat because it does all of the above as well as strengthen the nail.
Giving each step of polish time to dry in between steps will help achieve a faster drying time. If you have time to let each coat dry before proceeding that would be best, if not, one minute of drying time in between each coat will help immensely.
Apply all polish in three stripes. One down the middle of your nail, one down the left side of the nail and one down the right side of the nail. It takes practice but once you can achieve the three swipe technique you will notice your polish nails looking smoother and cleaner than random jabs of polish.
Once you have two coats of colored polish on you can add the top coat.
The top coat seals in the polish and keeps the polish shiny. You can buy separate base and top coats but like I said before I really love OPIs Nail Envy and it works great as a base and top coat.
You can add drops of olive oil to your nails everyday if you like, to keep those cuticles moisturized as daily maintenance. Doing so also help keep your nail polish flexible and more resistant to chipping.
That’s it! That is all that you need in order to have strong healthy well manicured nails!
-Amber Rockwell, Manicurist at Brooke Rockwell Hair Design