Tuesday, June 6, 2017

How to do a Simple Manicure

Some questions I am frequently asked are "how do I do a simple manicure?", "how do I keep my polish from chipping?", or "can you recommend a base and top coat for me?" so I thought I would address all these questions in a three-part series starting today.  Enjoy!

How do I do a simple manicure?

These are the steps that I follow every time I give myself a manicure.  Usually, my manicures will last five to seven days depending on what polish I used - I have the best luck with Zoya and OPI polishes so that's why I use them so frequently in my manicures.

Step 1: Shape nails.  If I want to shape my nails I try to do it when I'm still wearing nail polish.  If I file my nails when I'm not wearing nail polish I can get distracted by my nail line and end up with a crooked nail bed shape.

Step 2: Remove old nail polish.  Using acetone I take off any old nail polish but I also don't skip this step if I'm not wearing polish.  If I'm not wearing polish for some reason there is still oil or lotion on my nail bed that could impact the adhesion of any nail polish I wear so making sure I've got a clean, oil-free nail bed to work with is important.

Step 3: Push back cuticles. If you polish over your cuticles you're going to increase your chances of having your polish chip.  Pushing your cuticles back helps to reduce the chance of this happening and I use a tool like this.  I think it also helps to create a more symmetrical nail bed shape but that's my personal preference.  I don't usually trim or cut my cuticles (which can be dangerous if you do it wrong) but if my cuticles are looking especially poor I'll use a chemical cuticle remover to remove the dead skin.   If I do use a chemical cuticle remover I'll go back over my nails with acetone.

Step 4: Apply base coat.  Generally, when someone asks me how I keep my nails from chipping I'll ask them what they use for their base and top coat.  They'll look at me like I've grown two heads and I look at them the same way back.  Don't skip this step!  For the last two years Zoya Anchor has been my favorite.

Step 5: Apply your color.  Probably the most exciting part of the process is picking out your color and putting it on.  Gorgeous cream?  Brilliant sparkling glitter?  Wear them all!  By the way, when you're applying your color I would really recommend that you wrap your tips with your color instead of just putting it only on the top of your nail bed.  What does this mean?  This means you hold your brush perpendicular to your nail bed and using the side of the brush, apply color to the very tip of your nail and a little bit on the underside of your nails.  What if you don't have nail beds that extend beyond the tip of your finger?  You're in good company because I generally have a nail or five that are short and don't go past my finger.  I try and pull the skin down and away from the nail which works ok, but I've resigned myself to having to clean up the tip of my finger with polish.  I also make sure that there is just a tiny bit of polish left on the brush otherwise the entire underside of my nail bed is flooded and it can look like a disaster.  I'll do a separate post to illustrate this better.

Step 6: Clean up.  Painting in the lines is hard.  Painting in the lines is especially hard if you're not ambidextrous.  Eventually, it gets easier to paint your dominant hand with your non-dominate hand (I'm right-handed and the majority of manicures on this blog feature painting by my left hand) but it is a skill that takes practice.  Fortunately, you can fake this by cleaning up around your cuticles with a little jar of acetone after you're done applying color!  Of course the more neatly you're able to paint the first time, the easier it will be to clean up.  I have a little glass jar that I pour some acetone into (remember - many grades of plastic are incompatible with acetone) and then I use an eye shadow brush to gently remove any nail polish that's on my skin or directly adjacent to my skin.  I don't wait for my polish to be dry before moving on to this step either, I find it much easier to do if the polish is wet or at least a little tacky.

Step 7: Apply top coat.  Just like base coat, when someone tells me they don't wear top coat my eyes bulge a bit and I wonder how they get through life.  Seche Vite is my favorite.

Step 8: Moisturize.  You know what helps keep your nails healthy and strong?  Moisturizing your cuticles and skin.  Grab your favorite lotion, cuticle oil, or both and slather it on your hands.

Step 9: Admire your work.  Great work, you.  Great work.

And that's all it takes!  Try out my steps and let me know what you think in the comments below.

*This post contains affiliate links*

1 comment:

  1. Seche Vite, Seche Vite, Seche Vite! Love that stuff.

    Thanks for including links to your favorites!



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