How to Manicure at Home

A home manicure isn’t difficult. You just need to know a few professional manicure secrets.

This step by step guide, complete with tips from a professional, shows you how to keep your hands looking fresh and youthful, the best ways to care for nails and cuticles and how to ensure chip free nail polish. At the end, you should have beautiful, well cared for hands that look fresh from a salon

Hand Care

A manicure isn’t just about nails. It starts with the hands themselves. Begin your manicure at home by preparing hands by washing and then exfoliating. Exfoliation is key. It removes dead skin cells, helping to promote soft, youthful skin.

Hand scrubs are easy to prepare at home. Neal’s Yard’s ‘Recipes for Natural Beauty’ suggests a simple but effective version which blends ground oats and rice with chamomile flower water to sooth and fragrance the skin.

Alternatively, you could buy a product. There is a wide range on the market from nature based remedies incorporating ground seeds and rejuvenating essential oils to professional products which contain loofah beads and ground diamonds to strengthen the nails.

Whatever you use, the technique remains the same. Take a large bead of your chosen scrub and massage into the palms and backs of the hands. It’s also important to massage gently into the cuticles to prepare them for the treatments to come. Rinse the hands and pat dry before applying hand cream.

Concentrate on the backs of the hands, advises Leighton Denny’s Tara Wells in Ragdale Hall Health Spa’s Self Help Video of Home Hand care. ‘The reason why we put hand cream into the backs of our hands is because this is where we age,’ says Tara. Her method for applying hand cream involves massaging the backs of the hands together, rather than rubbing in with the palm.

Nail and Cuticle Care

Once the hands are prepared, it’s time to concentrate on the nails. Nail care involves filing, treating the cuticles and finally buffing the whole nail bed. To ensure a professional look, try the following tips.

  • To avoid splitting the nails when using an emery board, don’t file backwards and forwards. Instead file from side to centre in one direction only.
  • Soften cuticles before shaping to avoid damage and a messy appearance. Choose a product with natural fruit enzymes which help dissolve the cuticles. You can make your own using cocoa butter and lemon oil or choose a product containing appropriate ingredients. Dab generously onto the cuticle area before wiping away. The, gently push back the cuticles with a cuticle stick, if required.
  • Buffing. Buffing the nails stimulates nail growth and exfoliates the nail bed and cuticles as well as giving them a natural shine. Use a three sided buffing board to smooth out ridges and to give your nails a gleaming finish without nail polish.

How to Paint Nails.

Whether you are finishing off with clear varnish or opting for colour, the rules for applying nail varnish are simple.

First apply a base coat. Choose a product which helps eliminate any ridges in the nails. Dry before applying the varnish.

Whether you are using colour or clear, less is more with nail varnish. Don’t overload your brush and nails with the first coat. Instead, apply sparingly in layers.

Begin above the cuticles, in the centre of the nail, stroking the varnish smoothly from base to tip. Then fill in the sides. Wipe away any spills with the side of the thumb or the edge of a soft cloth. Once the first layer has dried, apply the second coat. Finish off your painted nail with a final protective coating.

How to Avoid Chipped Nail

Your manicure is now complete. But what about chipping? Tara Wells offers a tip to prevent this. She suggests painting over the filed edge of the nail with base coat and varnish. This is because nail varnish wears off from the edge of the nail. Sealing in the free edge of the nail helps to delay this wear and tear and preserve a professional looking home manicure.

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