How To Give Yourself A Professional Manicure

By: Laura J Robinson

Every girl loves that feeling of gorgeous salon nails. If only we had the time and the money to go to the salon as often as we would like! With this ten step manicure guide, you can have gorgeous nails that only you (and maybe a few of your closest girlfriends if they can keep a secret!) know weren't done by a professional at a beauty salon.

You will need a Pack of cotton balls, some Paper towels / Makeup removal pads, Nail polish remover, some good quality Nail polish, a Nail file / Emery board, a Nail trimmer, and a Cuticle remover.

1. Preparing your Nails

Whether you have nail polish on already or not, the first step in a manicure is to wash your fingernails thoroughly in warm water. You should pay particular attention to underneath your nail cartilage. Whilst you are doing your nails check for any redness or irritation. If there is any redness or irriation you will need to stop and get your nails checked out.

2. Removing Nail Polish

Apply some nail polish remover to a cotton ball. Then you need to press this onto the nail to soften the polish. Now wipe the nail gently using the cotton ball. Start from the base and work towards the tip of the nail. By working from base to tip, you avoid smearing any of the old polish into the cuticle. Apply the nail polish remover to each of your nails until they are back to their natural colour.

3. Trimming your Nails

If you need to shorten your nails or reshape them, you will need to use pair of nail clippers or nail scissors. These should be small clippers, which are designed to fit your nail shape. You will probably need to trim your fingernails about once a month. When you trim them, do not trim them right up to where your nail meets your skin, this can make it receed!

4. Filing your Nails

To file down any rough surfaces on your nails and make them smooth, you will need an emery board or a nai file. An emery board is used for the tips of your nails, rather than the top. Using the emery board you should file the tips at an angle, so that most of the filing occurs on the under side of the nail. When filing each finger nail you should file from the corner of the nail towards the centre, making sure that you only file in the one direction for each side of the nail (don't refile an area in the opposite direction). Keep filing until they are a smooth consistent shape.

5. Removing Cuticles

Your cuticle is the layer of soft skin at the bottom of your nail, where your skin and your fingernail meet. When your fingernails grow, the cuticle stretches with it. Removing cuticles, or rather pushing the cuticle skin back keeps your nails healthy, and encourages your nails to grow.

Your cuticles need to be softened in a bowl of warm water. Then, with your cuticle remover, gently push back all your cuticles one at a time to leave smooth cuticle free nails. Pushing your cuticles back should not hurt, if it does you may need to see a doctor. If your cuticles don't soften easily, you may need to use cuticle remover cream before pushing them back. Once you have pushed them back, wipe your nails clean of any cuticle that has come loose.

6. Resting your Nails

For those that regularly polish their nails, you should try and let your nails breathe naturally for a couple of days in between polishes. Doing this helps to keep your nails healthy. Worth noting is that tapping your nails on a hard surface on a regular basis can promote nail growth.

7. Choosing a Colour

This may sound a little patronising, but don't forget when you are choosing a colour of nail polish, it is going to be on your nails for a while. So you may want to plan the shade your put on around the outfits you are planning to wear in the near future!

8. Applying Nail Polish

Your nail polish should come with its own applicator. Before applying the nail polish, you need to get rid of any excess nail polish from the applicator. Now, with a steady hand, brush from the base of your fingernails up towards to the tip of your nail using long strokes. Make sure you apply it evenly to each nail.

If you make a mistake, don't worry. Taking a paper towel or makeup removal pad, apply some polish remover to any excess polish, then reapply nail polish as applicable. If you really need to, you can always remove all the polish from the nail and start again.

9. Applying a Second Coat

Between applying your first coat and your second, you should wait about ten minutes. Some nail polishes dry much quicker, but it is always better to leave them for longer than necessary than risk applying a second coat before the first has dried properly. As tempting as it can be to try and speed up the drying process with a fan, this can actually cause the nail polish to move around a little and make the finish less even.

10. Apply Lotion

Once your nails are completely dry, apply lotion to moisturise around your nails.

Now you can sit back and admire them!

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