Monday, June 6, 2011

How to Pull Off a Professional Manicure at Home Part 2 - Technique to Beautiful Nails

Viola! My fave mani pic so far ;-)
I know it's been way too long for this post.  Ok so you have picked up all the products needed to get started on your DIY-professional manicure. Other products you may need include: cuticle/nail clipper.  Refer to Part 1 for the other products (  I usually block off an hour to hour and a half to actually do the manicure and allow it to dry. Now let's get started!

1. Start with a clean nail.
Even if you have clear polish on your nails, remove the polish.  Wet either a cotton swab or pad with the remover. Don't soak the cotton swab because doing that makes the polish run onto your finger which makes a mess plus it's a waste of remover. For simple removal, press the wet cotton pad firmly against your nail and slowly drag it so you can get most of it off in one swipe. Repeat if necessary. Repeat for all nails.

2. Cuticle time.

Push back your cuticles with the orangewood stick.  If you hanging (meaning almost completely off) skin or cuticle, feel free to remove with the cuticle clipper.  Refer to my Part 1 (I am NOT an advocate for completely cutting off your cuticles like some nail salons do.)  It puts you a great risk for infection and healthy nails need healthy and intact cuticles, PERIOD!

3. Time to shape and file down.
Don't know whether to go with square-shaped or oval-shaped?  Well look at the bottom of your nail and your lunula (half moon) and mimic that shape.  Most fall somewhere in-between...for beginners stick to the oval or square shape and leave the funkier shapes like pointed for my DIY-experts.  After you have shaped your nails, run your crystal file lightly across your nail plate to remove ridges.

4. Mix and scrub.
You don't have to get fancy with different hand scrubs.  Make your own with stuff around the house like used coffee grounds or sugar.  Add olive oil and a drop of lemon juice and you are good to go.  Scrub for about a minute or so then rinse. I usually moisturize with raw, unrefined mango or shea butter.  Your hands will feel brand new, I promise.

5. Start painting.

If you have a leftover pad with remover on it, use it on your nails to make sure no leftover scrub is on your nails.  The remover will get rid of any oil left over from the scrub. It is very important to start with nothing on your nails. Now time for the base coat.  I get a lot of technique questions regarding how I have such a perofessional-looking mani. It does takes practice.  Start in the middle of the nail and DO NOT go all the way down to the cuticle.  I repeat, DO NOT take the polish all the way to the cuticle. I leave maybe a millimeter of space between the polish and cuticle.  Once you have painted a stripe in the middle of your nail, curved over to the sides as well trying not to hit your skin with the brush.  I would also suggest using that technique when painting the base coat as well as your lacquer and top coats.  I told y'all it takes practice so why not practice with a clear polish like your base coat.  For most nail polishes, I usually apply three thin and even coats.  The key is thin and even.  Not too thin though, you don't want empty patches. If you get some polish on your skin, carefully use the orangewood stick to remove excess polish.  For stubborn polishes like white, either dip the orangewood stick in polish remover or use a Q-tip dipped in remover.   When using the Q-tip, remove excess cotton before soaking with remover.  Make sure you allow 3-5 minutes of drying time between coats to avoid bubbles and drag marks.  Apply the top coat after about 7 minutes of drying time.  All of these times are estimates.  Some polishes require more or less drying time.  Stay away from fans while doing your manicure. Air causes bubbles. 

6. Time to enjoy looking at your awesome manicure;-) 
Let me know how these steps helped you on the blog or on twitter (@polishingpeach). Pics are welcomed!

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