Mani Essentials: Nails 101

Nothing compliments a great outfit better than an amazing manicure. Ladies, we have to make sure that we take care of our nails! I am often asked what I use to care for my nails, so I thought I would give you all some tips and tricks that have been useful to me.

Here are what I deem to be Mani Essentials:

Mani Essentials…

10 Step at Home Manicure:

  1. Soak your hands in soapy water for five minutes or apply a cuticle remover to soften your cuticles. I would suggest Sally Hansen’s Instant Cuticle Remover Gel because it is quick, and easy to use. I use it about once a week.
  2. Push your cuticles back. I normally use a metal tool to do this, but you can use your fingernails instead if you don’t have one.
  3. Exfoliate your hands with a scrub. I would recommend the One Minute Manicure in Classic Mint or any other exfoliant that is specifically for the hands and feet. Massage the exfoliant into your hands, and be sure to include your cuticles. You want to remove as much dead skin as possible. I do not recommend that you cut your cuticles, as their purpose is to protect you from infection.
  4. Moisturize your hands with a cream or cuticle butter. I use Burt’s Bees Lemon Cuticle Butter (pictured above) every day, several times a day. Moisturized cuticles will make your manicure look more polished.
  5. Shape your nails. I use either a crystal or regular nail file when shaping my nails. When filing your nails, remember to file in one direction. Do not file back and forth, which can cause peeling.
  6. Apply a base coat to the nail. Base coats protect your nails from staining and also help your nail color to last longer. I would recommend Orly’s Bonder or CND’s Sticky Base Coat. If you need a nail strengthener, try OPI’s Nail Envy (which I am using at the moment) or Nailtek’s Foundation II.
  7. Apply your nail color. You should apply at least two coats of nail polish. Be sure that you paint the edges of your nails to avoid premature chipping.
  8. Apply a top coat. I recommend Seche Vite’s Fast Drying Top Coat (pictured above), Sally Hansen’s InstaDry, or INM’s Out the Door Fast Drying Top Coat. In addition, OPI, and many other brands, have drying drops that can speed up the drying process.
  9. Clean up your cuticles. Be sure to clean any access nail polish that may have gotten on your cuticles with a corrector pen (pictured above) or precision Q-tips with nail polish remover on them.
  10. Finally, when removing your nail polish, be sure to use a nail polish remover that has some type of moisturizer in it so that you don’t dry out your cuticles. Do not use pure acetone! If you are going to use acetone, at least use the one that has wheat protein and/or vitamin E in it. I use the Beauty Secrets Acetone from Sally’s Beauty Supply (pictured above). I’ve also heard good things about Zoya’s Remove +.

I hope these tips help you to care for your nails at home! If you should have any questions about any of these tips, feel free to post them below. XX

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