Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lacquered Up!

For the first beauty post, I’m giving a tutorial on how to give yourself a manicure that will help maintain your nail’s health, strength and beauty for less than what it would cost you in time and money to visit a nail salon.

Begin with a clean nail. Use nail polish remover and cotton balls to take off old polish. Now would also be the time to clip your nails if necessary. Though be sure not to clip too much; you want to leave enough nail to be able to file and shape them without making them shorter than desired.

File your nails to the desired length and shape. It is a good idea to use a metal nail file. They are cost effective since they seemingly last forever and are gentler on nails. It is vital that nails are filed in one direction to prevent tearing and breakage. I recommend using a buffing block which has 4-types of grit to file nail tips, remove ridges, smooth nails and buff for a natural shine.

Wash your hands and moisturize with lotion. Once finished rubbing in the lotion, use cuticle oil on each nail to moisturize dry cuticles.

Apply cuticle oil any time your cuticles look or feel dry. I use it twice a day, minimum. I like apricot cuticle oil by essie.

Push cuticles back gently using a metal cuticle pusher. The flat square side is intended for pushing back cuticles while the cupped side is for cleaning underneath nails. Notice that I do not use, or suggest using, a cuticle cutter - you risk exposing your nail bed to bacteria if you cut incorrectly, which can lead to an infection!

Use a nail primer. This helps remove any oils from your nail bed and prepares them to receive the polish. I recommend this primer by Deborah Lippmann.

Consider using a nail strengthener. This is an optional step, however, if you feel that your nails are weak consider purchasing one to use. I have yet to find a real difference between brands.

Apply a base coat before using color. This will keep your nails from becoming stained and make removing polish easier. Here I am using first base coat by essie. Let it dry, then continue to the next step.

Polish nails using the color of your liking. I am using Gris Montaigne by Dior, which was on runways last New York Fashion Week. Shades of gray are extremely popular right now and for a girl on a budget, designer nail polish is a way to have a bit of luxury without taking out a loan.

Let the polish dry, then apply a second coat.

Top it all off with a top coat. I swear by Seche Vite which is a quick-dry top coat. I promise, this top coat dries in 2 minutes or less!

Recommended daily maintenance. Use cuticle oil to moisturize as needed and reapply a top coat every 2 to 3 days until you're ready to start the process over again.

Expect regular posts on the subject of nail care, maintenance and nail art among other posts on beauty. Until next time, enjoy playing in polish; your nails are one of your most important accessories!

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