I have an obsession with all things related to nails. I can’t help it. I think nail art is just so much fun. I love watching YouTube videos about nail art. I have done my fair share of simple nail art. I found after watching a TON of videos it isn’t as hard as it looks. Well… some of it really is that difficult… but dots and swirls really do go a long way toward completing one of a kind manicures.
My nails are in an ever-changing state of length, color, nail art, etc. I love the gel polish. I can never get it to last as long as when I go to the salon and have it done. I do have a home kit. I love playing with it. I generally make it too thick which leads to picking and peeling. (I may have a mild case of picking and popping issues too….) I love good old traditional polish. I have a difficult time paying for a manicure in traditional polish anymore now that I am a huge gel fan. I love having traditional polish on my toes and I love doing at home manicures with traditional polish.
The following are the steps that I take for a perfect at home manicure and some of my favorite tried and true products that I love.
You will need:
- Cuticle Eliminator- I love be natural’s this stuff is AMAZING! It pulls stuff off my nails I didn’t know was on there!
- Cuticle pusher- I have graduated to a metal cuticle pusher from an orange stick. An orange stick is a wooden stick with a flattened end used to push back the cuticle. Orange sticks work just as good. I just got tired of having to buy new ones every couple weeks…
- Cuticle nippers- I have some from Sally Hansen that are nice. Make sure that they are good and sharp. Nothing is worse than trying to nip a piece of cuticle and having to tug at it!
- Nail files and buffer- I use a coarse one, a medium one and a buffer to smooth out my ridges. I have very thick strong nails. I also find that if I lightly buff the tops of my nails (the ridges away) my nail polish lasts longer.
- Base coat- I like Instant Artificials by Salon Sciences if I am going to do a French Manicure. It gives a nice pink base that doesn’t look too fake. If I am not doing a French Manicure I pretty much use any clear coat. I like NailTek stuff. It makes me feel like I am doing a little bit more for my nails.
- Polish- I use Essie Marshmallow for the white tips when I do a French Manicure. I don’t like bright white tips. That my preference though. If I am doing all one color I like trying new thinks. I have Essie, O.P.I, China Glaze, Finger Paints… a little bit of everything. Use what you like.
- Remove old polish. I like to use Acetone to remove any old polish stuck on there. This stuff will take everything and anything off.
- File and shape nails. I like a “squ-oval” (square- oval) I like my free edge straight across and the edges rounded.
- Apply cuticle eliminator and let it sit for a bit.
- Use cuticle pusher to push back cuticles and dead skin cells back towards the cuticle.
- Use cuticle nipper and trim off the gunk that comes up once you finish pushing your cuticles back.
- Buff the ridges down if you have thicker nails. If you have thin nails you may want to skip this step.
- I wash my hands and wipe my nails down with acetone at this point. I think dehydrating the nails before applying any polish help make the polish last longer. When you wipe down the nail with the acetone you will notice that your nail turns white. That’s normal.
- Tape off the free edge of your nail. I use scotch tape. I find that any tape will work or you can use the little white strips that they sell at Walmart or CVS in the nail section. Make sure that the tape is sealed along the free edge. Otherwise it will let paint leak under the polish.
- Paint the tapped off free edge with your base coat and let it dry. Thin coats are always better. The great thing about taping off the free edge is that you don’t have to worry about how neat your paint job is.
- Apply second coat to the free edge and let it semi dry.
- Peel off tape SLOWLY. Take your time on this step. Allow it to create a clean edge for you.
- Apply a thin coat of the Instant Artificial from the cuticle to the free edge. Attempt to keep it off the white tip. Allow to dry.
- Apply a thin top coat. I like Sally Hansen Hard as Wraps. Allow to dry. This should smooth out any imperfections on your nails.
- Apply your favorite hand lotion or cuticle oil once your nails have dried.
These are the steps that I take for a perfect manicure. Tell me what your favorite manicure products are. Any special tips or tricks you use for a perfect mani every time?