Learn how to give yourself a professional and relaxing manicure in the comfort of your own home.
Going out to get a manicure can be both fun and relaxing. It is a chance to let all your worries slip away, to be pampered and come out looking beautiful. However, going out to get a manicure can also be a hassle. It gets expensive to do it frequently. In some places, it can be hard to find a reputable nail salon that does not book up months ahead of time. The traffic, the waiting and the inconvenience can all make frequent manicures seem less appealing. However, with a few simple tips, you can re-create the luxurious feel of a manicure out in the comfortable space of your own home.
1. To make sure that everything goes smoothly, make sure to get everything you will need together before beginning. You will not want to have to dig through a cabinet later with wet polish on each of your fingernails! Beginners should limit themselves to color (polish) only manicures – don’t worry though – there will be plenty of hand pampering without putting on your own artificial nails. Prior to beginning, you will need a good brand of base and top coat and the colored nail polish of your choice. Nail polish remover, Q-tips or cotton balls, a small dishtowel, an emery board, cuticle sticks, nail scissors, and lotion (with an optional dish of warm water to heat it in) are all also needed.
2. Though not essential, consider making your manicure a spa-like event by paying attention to detail. Put some light and relaxing music on. Light a few candles for their scent and ambience (though you will still need the light on to be able to see your work). Warm up the hand lotion before using it to moisturize your skin. Take a minute to pamper yourself; you are worth it.
3. To begin your actual manicure, first use the Q-tips or cotton balls to remove all traces of nail polish from your nails. Wash your hands afterward, using warm water and a mild soap. Fold the dishtowel into quarters and use it to rest your wrists while you work on your fingernails. While your hands are still slightly damp from the water, use the cuticle stick to gently push back your cuticles. Although many people advocate cutting your cuticles, it is extremely easy to cut too far into the skin and leave yourself vulnerable to infection; for all but the hardest and thickest cuticles, pushing with a stick will work as well or better than scissors. Trim your nails using the nail clipper; aim for a slightly oval shape on each nail. File the nails using the emery board to even out the shape and smooth its edges.
4. Before applying nail polish, make sure that you are satisfied with the shape and length of your fingernails. Begin by applying the base coat for the nail in smooth lines from the base of the nail outward. Some have suggested that laying a horizontal band of polish along the tip of the nail and then applying the polish from the base outward can help prolong chip-free wear. The technique is slightly more difficult to perfect, but may be worth attempting if your nail polish chips frequently. Apply the base coat on all nails (it is usually easiest to start by applying polish to the dominant hand using the non-dominant hand and then switching); let the base dry. Apply two coats of the chosen color on each nail, letting the coats dry fully. Apply the top coat last and let the nails dry again.
5. After making sure that your nail polish is perfectly dry, give yourself a mini-hand massage using the warmed lotion. Even if you forgo the optional heating of the lotion, it is important to moisturize your skin after a manicure. Some salons will massage the lotion in prior to painting your nails, but it can be easier to do it afterward to prevent the oils from getting on to the fingernails and preventing the polish from setting.