Nail It Down
Beauty Tips on Managing Your Own Manicure
Our eyes are drawn to pretty and well-manicured hands. But regular visits to the nail salon can get expensive and take up a lot of your leisure time. If all you want is a basic manicure, you can save money and time by doing it yourself with these simple tips.
File your nails. Gently grind down and shape the edges of your nails with a nail file. If you want to trim your nails, do that first with a nail clipper and then file your nails. Trimming nails down with a nail file can cause undue stress to your nail and encourage breakage. Nail files may either be emery boards, ceramic, glass, crystal, plain metal files or metal files coated with corundum. Whichever you choose, promote good nail health by filing your nails correctly. When filing the sides of the nails, hold the file parallel to the side of the nail. Don’t edge the file into the corner; this can encourage breakage. Soften or round the corners to create a squoval or oval shape by gently filing edges at a slight angle. Do not file nails down roughly like you’re using a saw.
Wash and dry your hands. Ensure that your hands and nails are both clean and dry and free of old fingernail polish. Use a non-acetone polish remover to remove any old nail polish that may still be on your nails - this will help degrease your nails. Washing your hands will allow a smoother finish.
No bubbles in your nail polish. Bubbles give your nails a sloppy, unprofessional look. Avoid the bubbles by not shaking the nail polish bottle.
Apply clear basecoat. This is the foundation for a good manicure. It helps the polish stick to your nail more easily and creates a barrier that helps protect your nails from the damaging effects of nail polish. It also helps prevent staining and peeling, and gives your polished nails a smoother surface. Think of it as a primer.
Apply nail polish in thin layers. Three thin coats allow your nails to dry faster than one or two thick coats. To get a thin layer, take your nail polish brush, dip it in the polish just so you have enough polish on your brush to create a thin layer. Then, swipe on the nail polish with three thin strokes - one in the middle and two on the sides of your nail. Let your nail polish dry for two or three minutes in-between each coat.
Clean extra polish off cuticles. Pour a little nail polish remover into the bottle cap and dip the brush in the nail polish remover. Carefully go around the cuticle with the brush and clean up the excess nail polish. Afterward, wipe the brush on a napkin to remove the polish so you’re not spreading it around.
Allow some time to dry your manicure. After the last thin layer of polish, you will want to give your nails the appropriate time to dry. Although nails will appear to be dry within 20-30 minutes, it will actually take a full 24 hours for nail polish to fully dry. Many nail polish dryers do a decent job of drying the nails from 5-15 minutes after polish is applied. Hair dryers on the “cool” setting work well too.
Apply top coat. Top coats act as a sealant to the colored polish, lessening the chances of the polish to chip. It also adds a shiny, glossy appearance. Apply the top coat in the same manner as the base coat. Want to dry your nails faster? Choose a quick-dry topcoat to help nails dry almost instantly.
Restore moisture to cuticles. After the nail polish is dry, you will want to add a cuticle oil to your cuticles to restore moisture, especially if you're using an acetone-based nail remover because that can dry out your cuticles.
Avoid chipping. First, use quality nail polish. Secondly, ensure that you use a base coat. Then apply thin layers of polish, allowing each layer to fully dry before applying the next layer. Then ensure you use a top coat to seal it all in.