We do not always have time, or desire, or money to go to a nail salon. But doing the manicure at home does not mean doing it wrong. The following 9 steps will teach you how to do a manicure yourself at home. Try to give yourself a manicure every week, whether you finish with polish or just a buffer. Nails need looking after and a manicure does not have to take long. Collect everything in advance so that you do not have to keep fetching things and follow the diagrams and instructions. You will need: bowl of soapy water or warmed oil tissues, cotton wool, orange stick, cuticle clippers or scissors, oily polish remover, base coat, buffer, polish, sealer, nail repair kit.
Before starting, wash your hands and scrub your nails with a nail brush. Then you can settle down with a folded towel on the table and all that you need within reach.
How to Do a Manicure Yourself: Remove Old Nail Polish
Remove old nail polish with cotton-wool balls and polish remover. Clean carefully especially round cuticle. Use an oily polish remover so that there is as little drying as possible and never be tempted to use acetone to save money: it will ruin your nails. Smudge-free remover makes the job easier and uses enough cotton wool to prevent fingers staining.
How to Do a Manicure Yourself: Use an Emery Board
Use the fine side of an emery board, never a metal file, and holding it at an angle of 45° to the nail so that you are filing from just underneath. Work from edges to middle in one direction only to prevent layers of nail plate separating. Never file right into corners of free edge of nail, as support is needed three to prevent nails breaking.
How to Do a Manicure Yourself: Bevel the Edges
When the nail is filed into the shape you want, it is essential to bevel the edge. Beveling is smoothing the edge of the nail by holding the emery board upright and brushing nail edge with light, downward strokes, using the fine side of the board and working one direction only. This helps to seal the layers of the nail plate together and prevent layering.
How to Do a Manicure Yourself: Use Cuticle Oil
Rub a little cuticle oil into cuticles and soak nails for a few minutes in a bowl of warm, soapy water to soften cuticles, or do two jobs in one by soaking nails in a tiny bowl of warmed peanut or maize oil. Oil works as an inexpensive cuticle remover and is good for nails, too, as it keeps cuticles soft and supple. Dry nails and rub in hand cream.
How to Do a Manicure Yourself: Use Cotton Wool
Wind a wisp of cotton wool around the pointed end of an orange stick and dip in cuticle remover or oil. Carefully work around cuticle to loosen it from nail plate and push back gently. If cuticle is stubborn, use the bare blunt end of the orange stick, taking care not to dig into the matrix or you will damage the growing nail and cause tiny white bruises on it.
How to Do a Manicure Yourself: Remove Dead Skin
Clip away dead skin on cuticle or hangnail with cuticle clippers, taking care not to cut cuticle itself which can cause a painful infection and make cuticle tougher. Massage cuticle cream, lanolin or petroleum jelly into cuticles each night to keep the soft and detached from nail plate. Push cuticles gently back from nails with towel after your nightly bath or wash.
How to Do a Manicure Yourself: Wash off Surplus Oil
Wash off cuticle remover or tissue off as much surplus oil as possible. Polish will adhere without wiping nails with polish remover, which would undo the good of the oil soak. If you have a broken nail, wipe it with polish remover before applying patch. Apply base coat to nails before polish, to prevent staining and help protect polish from chipping.
How to Do a Manicure Yourself: Use Cream Polish
All varnishes, nail enamels and nail-polish removers are drying to nails, but cream polish is marginally less harmful to weak and splitting nails than the frosted type. One, two or even three coats of nail polish can be applied on top of the base coat, using as few strokes as possible to prevent streaking, particularly with darker tones of polish.
How to Do a Manicure Yourself: Apply Sealer on Top
A top coat or sealer on top of the colored polish will take longer to dry but will help the manicure to last. When applying sealer, run brush along and under tip of nail to seal in polish and help prevent chipping. Dip a little cotton wool on an orange stick in polish remover and carefully clean off any spots of varnish around edges of cuticles or sides of nails.
For a perfect finish to your manicure, allow time to apply polish carefully. Make sure your hand is supported so that you are not aiming at a moving target. Put polish on with as few strokes as possible to prevent brush marks. Paint first stroke up middle of nail. Second and third strokes fill in underneath and up either side. Wide nails can be fined down by not taking polish to full width of nail. The fourth stroke is straight up the middle again to even out any brush marks. Add a second coat to get full color of polish and to prevent streaking. Apply sealer coat and spray nails with quick-dry spray or stroke on a thin layer of oil once nails are no longer tacky. The surface of the nails will feel dry after ten to fifteen minutes but the layers will not be hard for several hours, so take great care not to scrape or dent them during this time.