Giving Yourself a Manicure
Caring for your Hands
Pamper yourself and make your hands and nails look great at the same time by giving yourself a manicure. Follow these steps and you will be able to give yourself a professional looking manicure without spending a fortune:
- Trim, smooth and shape your fingernails if they need it. Popular shapes are square with round edges (squoval), rounded or pointy. If your fingernails are shaped, then use an emery board to make sure they are shaped well and the edges are smooth. If your fingernails are not shaped, or you are a man, then use a pair of fingernail clippers to trim them. Remember to trim them so that the ends of your fingernails are cut straight across. Finally, smooth the edge of each nail with an emery board. Try to file in the same direction to avoid damage to your nail; don’t go back and forth you may leave some ragged edges.
- Remove any polish that may be on your nails by using nail polish remover. Most polish removers are made from acetone which work well to remove the nail polish, but this is very hard on your fingernails. Try to find a nail polish remover that contains aloe vera, vitamin e or some other additive that moisturizes your nails at the same time as removing the nail polish. Alternately try to buy polish remover that doesn’t contain acetone. Wipe the polish off along with the remover by using cotton balls. This is a good time to examine your nails for signs of problem areas. If your nails are ridged you can gently buff them to smooth out the ridges. If your nails are brittle or break easily it may be from a lack of nutrients in your diet. You may want to ask your Dr about this.
- Use a buffer block (a four sided block with different buffing surfaces) Start with the most course buffing surface. Rub this surface back and forth until your nail looks smoother. Then move to the finer buffing surface and repeat the process. Finally buff your nail with the finest buffing surface until your nails shine. The smoother your nail is the better your polish will adhere to the surface.
- Prepare a small bowl. Fill it with warm, not hot water and a drop or two of scented oil. You want something that will help soften your nails. Mix the oil into the water. Put your fingertips into the bowl and soak then for a few minutes. You don’t want your nails to be soggy. You could use a nailbrush at this point to make sure your nails are clean both on top and underneath.
- Remove your hands from the water and dry them thoroughly on a soft towel. Put cuticle oil on your cuticles. Let the cuticle oil soak in for a minute. Then use a cuticle stick to gently push the cuticles back on every fingernail. Do not push the cuticles too far back, just back far enough so that they are off the base of the fingernail. If you are a man or a woman who chooses not to paint their nails, then you are finished with your manicure.
- If you are applying nail polish remove the cuticle oil from the nail with some nail polish remover. All coats of nail polish should be applied very thinly. Start by applying a basecoat. This will protect your nail from discolouring from the polish and it will help the polish adhere to the nail. Allow the basecoat to dry for 5 minutes. Apply a coat of the nail polish you have chosen. Allow it to dry for 5 minutes. Apply another coat of nail polish and allow it to dry for 5 minutes. Finally apply a topcoat and allow to dry for 20 minutes. At this point if you have got any nail polish on the surrounding skin take a q-tip and nail polish remover to clean it up. The nail polish will feel dry to the touch but it does need to cure or really harden. This could take up to 2 hours, don’t freak out, it just means that you have to be careful with your nails and avoid doing the dishes or going to bed for a while. You should apply topcoat everyday to protect the nail polish and keep your manicure looking good.