Don't get me wrong, I love a nice salon manicure experience. There is nothing like meeting a girlfriend up for coffee and heading over to your favorite nail shop for a mani-pedi. But, let's be honest here, it adds up and is it really something you can't do your self? I don't think so, and that is why I manicure my nails a few times a month in between salon visits. It used to be intimidating, but once I got the hang of it, learned some tricks, and stocked up on essential tools it got enjoyable. Now I have a nail polish collection and plan on learning fun painting tricks like these awesome weekly nail posts from The Dainty Squid.
You want to start by picking your nail polishes. Today I used: Base Coat: OPI Base Nail Strengthener / Colored Polish: Essie Bordeaux Polish / Top Coat: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear. Next you want to clean your nails by following the 6 easy steps below. What you'll need: nail polish remover, cotton balss, warm water, soap, small towel, toner or alcohol, cuticle nippers, nail clippers, nail buffer/file, and cuticle oil.
Step 1: Whether or not you have polish on clean your nails with polish remover. If you find it difficult to remove polish from under your cuticles take a fresh cotton ball with polish remover on it and press it against the nail. Let the polish soak into the cuticle and then rub it off.
Step 2: Soak your hands in warm water and soap for 5-10 minutes. Hand soap will work fine, but if you can I love Laura Mercier crème brûlée body soap. Feel free to then lightly lotion your hands. Follow by rinsing your hands with warm water. End by rubbing your nails clean with a dry towel.
Step 3: Clean your nails, cuticle cutter, and nail clippers with toner or alcohol. I actually use Kiehl's Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion toner.
Step 4: Add a drop of cuticle softening oil to each nail. You can pick one up for $5-$10 from a beauty supply.
Step 5: Clip your nails down to a preferred length and then file. Start by filing a shape you like, then gently buff the top of your entire nail. Buff your nails from the the outer corners in, not from the cuticle to the tip. I recommend a nail buff with gentle sides like this 4 sided nail buffer.
Step 6: Gently clip any hang nails and cuticles with a cuticle nipper like this one from Revlon. Please be very gentle! Save the heavy duty cleaning for the professionals. Simply nip clean your cuticles, leaving some cuticle between your skin and nail bed. After you're done coat your nails one more time with cuticle oil and buff the edges of your cuticles one last time. Then go back and nip any last snags. Once you're done wash your hands and repeat step 3.
Painting your nails: You would think that by 10-years-old we would all pretty much know how to paint our nails evenly and clean. Well it took be 23 years before I mastered this skill. So I thought it would be best to share a video I found to help us late bloomers. So here it is, click here (skip the ad). Once you've mastered this skill, paint one layer base coat, 2 thin layers of colored polish, and one layer of top coat. Wait 3-5 minutes in between coats.
Cleaning around the nails: Don't worry mess ups are normal. I use a 2-step trick when cleaning paint around my nails. While my nails are slightly wet I wipe off paint with the edge of a nail pick. Once my nails dry I finish by brushing the corners of my nails with a brush dipped into polish remover. You can buy one specific for nails or use a small paint brush.
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