Manicuring 101

Manicuring 101

Maddie Warren

A fresh manicure helps a person look more put together and is a great way to relax. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, keeping your nails neat is something that you should make a habit of for yourself. Nobody likes to see dirty fingernails or toenails that poke through your socks. There are many different types of manicures and pedicures to keep your nails looking fresh.

First things first, moisturized cuticles make for healthy nails. Whether you have acrylic nails that are several inches long or if you’re opting for a more natural look, cuticle oil is a product that you should add to your regimen. At least once a day, run the oil pen across your cuticles and massage it in for several minutes before rinsing the excess oil off your fingers. In addition to keeping them moisturized, you should also keep them pushed back. This is easiest to do with a washcloth or tool after a bath or shower when the cuticles are soft.

When giving yourself a manicure, you want to first start by clipping your nails. A little overhang from the finger is considered aesthetically pleasing, especially for females, but there are several people who keep their nails shorter than this either for their work or just because they prefer it that way. Once you have your desired length, file your nails with a fine grain nail file. For shorter nails, an oval shape is best. The next step wholly depends on whether you plan on having fake nails or if you’re keeping them natural.

If you’re keeping them natural, you can buff and shine the nails with a four-sided nail block that you can find at any drug store. At this point, you could paint a nail hardener on top, but keep in mind this needs to be removed and reapplied about every three days. You could also apply regular nail polish at this point. Look for toxic-free brands. Some dermatologists even say that regular nail polish could be healthy for your nails because it keeps the nail cells from expanding and shrinking as we wash and dry our hands. This process of expanding when wet and shrinking when dry can damage nails over time.

If you’re planning on applying press on nails, acrylics, tips, or gel polish that requires a light to be cured, it’s best to clean your nails of excess oil with rubbing alcohol and gently file the top of your nails until they have that thin layer of white dust on top. Brush off the excess dust. By not smoothing them and making them shiny, you allow for nails products such as glue to adhere to your nail better. Press-on nails are cheap and can be found at any drug store. These are entirely plastic nails that can be applied with nail glue and last about a week. Gel polish consists of a base coat, color coat, and topcoat that each need to be cured under light and typically lasts two weeks. Acrylic nails can be applied with tips that are glued to the tip of our nail or not. Acrylic nails are applied by dipping a small brush into the acrylic liquid and then into acrylic powder to form a small ball that can be applied to the nail and shaped to will. This polymerized liquid sets up quickly and forms a hard artificial nail that is bonded with your real nail and a full set lasts about 2-3 weeks. After about two to three weeks, your acrylics should still be on and you can either go get the space between your cuticle and the acrylics filled in or you can have them soaked off in acetone. Dip nails are similar to acrylic nails but they are applied by painting a bonding step to the whole nail and then dipping it in an acrylic powder several times. Dip nails cannot be filled like regular acrylic nails and also need to be soaked off with acetone.

When taking off regular nail polish, soak a cotton ball in acetone and rub off the polish. When taking off press on nails, soak in oil and water until the nail glue becomes loose enough to peel the nails off. Gel polish, acrylic nails, and dip powder nails all need to be soaked off with acetone. Many people are not patient enough to soak their nails off, but ripping them off without this step can be painful and will peel off layers of your natural nails. Make sure to moisturize your nails with oil after taking off any artificial nails and let them rest a few days before reapplying anything. You can do all of this at home with proper supplies or you can go to your local salon and relax.