How to Give Yourself a Manicure
Nicely polished, trimmed and manicured fingernails can present the image of beauty and hygiene both for women and men. However, sometimes the cost of manicure and pedicure services in professional nail salons can be challenging. That is why you may benefit from knowing the basics of a manicure at home. A DIY manicure in the comfort of your home can keep your nails healthy and beautiful, at the same time keeping your wallet full.
What is a manicure?
A manicure is a cosmetic treatment for the hands and fingernails originating from the Ancient China and Ancient Egypt. A pedicure is a same procedure for the toenails and feet. Manicure and pedicure procedures may include soaking, cutting cuticles, shaping the nails’ edges, buffing, massaging the hands or feet, and applying nail polish.
The beauty and health benefits of manicures and pedicures
- Healthy nails – to stimulate blood flow to nails, make them stronger and healthier, consider buffing fingernails and toenails no less than twice a month. A one minute manicure without applying a nail polish can be a wise choice in this case;
- Well-groomed and beautiful appearance – during summer or when sunbathing at a beach, you may want to wear open-toed sandals. For this, knowing how to do a pedicure at home can be useful. Being able to care for your nails can make them look beautiful all year round;
- Skin moisturizing – soaking is one of the steps of home pedicure and manicure procedures. It helps get rid of dry skin and stimulate the growth of new cells making hands and feet look softer;
- Relaxation – manicures and pedicures may also include a massage of your hands and feet. A massage can be a good way of de-stressing, getting rid of tension and feeling more relaxed.
Essential manicure tools
Before starting a home manicure or pedicure, consider buying a professional manicure set or, at least, make sure that you have all necessary tools:
- Nail clippers and manicure scissors;
- Nail buffer and emery board;
- Cuticle nippers and pusher;
- Cuticle/callous remover;
- A special moisturizer for hands and feet;
- If you’re applying a nail polish – base coat, color polish, clear top coat, French manicure gel (only for a French nail manicure);
- A nail polish remover.
How should you choose a nail polish?
According to an investigation done by the New York Times, the chemicals in most nail polishes negatively affect nail salon workers in New York. The risks of using cheap and bad quality nail polishes may result in breathing problems, birth defects, and even skin cancer. To prevent these side effects, most popular nail polish manufacturers have decided to change the formulas to be healthier and more eco-friendly. When buying a nail polish, consider choosing a product with the 5-free formula. This means that there are no such potentially harmful components including camphor, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and toluene. There are also 3-free nail polishes that exclude only dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, and toluene.
In addition, consider choosing an eco-friendly and acetone-free remover pads based on soy.
Home manicure: basic steps and tips
Clip and shape your nails
The length and shape of your nails are up to you. The classic shapes are slightly rounded or square-rounded edges. But the latest nail fashion trends encourage to experiment with shapes. For clipping your nails, you may use manicure scissors or clippers.
Use an emery board for smoothing the edges
Consider using a mildly abrasive emery board or crystal nail file to replace the coarse metal files that may cause splintering. After clipping, the tops and sides of all nails can be smoothed with a mildly abrasive buffer to get an even surface. Keep in mind that a polish may slip off too smooth nails.
Soak the shaped nails
Pour warm water in a small bowl and add a bit of a face cleanser to it. Soak the trimmed and shaped nails to make cuticles soft.
Use a cuticle remover
After soaking, you need to cut away the thickened skin around nails called the cuticles. They may prevent the normal nail growth and blood flow. Gently push the cuticles back away from nails using the cuticle pusher from your manicure set. Pushing them too far can damage the nail and fray the cuticles. It may be a bad idea to pull, cut, rip, force, or tear into the cuticle. Instead, you can nip off the free edges with metal cuticle nippers. Cuticles protect the nail bed from different healthy problems, that is why consider removing only the free edges.
Moisturize the hands and nails
Your next step may be to massage the trimmed cuticles with a rich cream, oil, or a special moisturizer. This can help to hydrate and replenish the skin on your hands.
Paint the nails
Remove old nail polish layers before applying new ones. For this purpose, use a nail polish remover. Wash your hands and let them dry, then apply the moisturizer again. Then start painting the nails in such layers:
- The first layer is the base coat. If you have brittle or weak nails, consider using a ridge-filling base coat that may strengthen the nail. Also, a base coat may protect your nails from stains, especially if you prefer bright nail polishes;
- The second layer is a color polish that can be applied in 2-3 coats. Let each layer dry between the coats;
- The third layer is for gloss and shining – a single top coat. This last layer may cover all flaws and make your nails look glamorous and well-groomed.
Wait while your nails dry completely
Resist the urge to touch your new beautiful nails and just relax instead while they are drying. The drying process may take up to half an hour. You may shorten the time needed to dry by applying a small amount of oil on top of the nails. In salons they use an oil based spray, but at home you can use vegetable, coconut, or olive oil.
Use the moisturizer again
To finish your self-manicure, use the moisturizer again.
A few tricks for the perfect home manicure
- Use oil after letting your nails dry for 5 minutes.
- If you are a beginner at painting nails, try choosing the light shades of nail polish. They may help to mask mistakes.
- Daily, to refresh your manicure, apply a single layer of top coat. Doing this can prevent chipping and keep your nails looking like you just visited a nail salon.
With the right manicure tools, some patience and experience, eventually you will achieve great results in doing a self-manicure without leaving the house. And by doing this at home, you will save a significant amount of money.