No time to run to the salon for a manicure? Whether you need a quick trim or you
would like a professionally polished appearance, here are a few easy steps to better
Let's start with what you'll need
Continue with what you'll need to do
LET'S START WITH WHAT YOU'LL NEED
Everyone's nails look best when they are clean and trimmed. To correctly perform
this vital and basic procedure, you will need the following:
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If you're planning to apply nail polish, you'll also need:
- Nail Cleaner
- Nail polish remover
- Base coat polish
- Nail polish and enamel in your choice of color
- Nail polish thinner
- Top coat
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CONTINUE WITH WHAT YOU'LL NEED TO DO
Choose a well-lit area to work. Place all of your nail care essentials within easy
1. The Clean up
- It's best not to soak your nails in water before cleaning and shaping them, since
wet nails may become too soft to work with properly. However, if your hands are very
dirty, wash them thoroughly with soap and water and pat them dry.
- Any dirt under the nails may be gently removed with a nail cleaner or the blunt
end of a nail file.
- If necessary, apply nail polish remover with a cotton pad.
- Trim your nails with scissors or clippers. Trim only the front of the nails and
not the sides so that when you're finished, the front of the nails should be flat.
Trim all the nails to a similar length for a uniform appearance. Nails should be
trimmed to about the end of your fingertips, or extend just a few millimeters over,
but the choice is up to you. Don't cut them too short; it's best to leave some nail
for filing and shaping.
2. The Shape of Things
Filing and shaping your nails gives them a more attractive look.
- Use a quality nail file or an emery board to file the front and sides of your nails
to the desired length. Don't file too deeply on the sides to avoid damaging the
cuticles and finger pads. Nails are often more fragile than they appear. All of
your filing motions should be done gently and in one direction.
- Slightly round the corners for a basic look.
- A fancier appearance can be achieved by specifically shaping the nails. Keep in
mind that the shape of your nails should flatter your fingers and hands. Generally,
following the shape of the nail bed does this best. The following suggestions may
- The shape recommended for small, delicate fingers and hands is a pointed oval, also
called an almond shape.
- For large, heavy hands as well as for fingers that have wide nail beds, the shape
that usually flatters the most has a squared-off end.
- For large, short fingers, squared-off oval shaped nails are recommended.
- After you're finished filing, use a buffer block. The buffer has a much finer grain
than a file or emery board, and will give the nails a smoother finish. It's also
able to take out any minor imperfections that the file either missed or created.
3. Soak, Oil and Moisturize
- To make the cuticles easier to work with, soak your hands in a bowl of warm water
for a few minutes. You can add some mild soap, salt or scented oil to the water
for a more enriching experience. Pat your hands dry.
- Apply a few drops of cuticle oil to the area where the nail and the cuticle meet.
To soften the cuticle further, leave the oil on for a couple of minutes and gently
rub it in.
- Using a cuticle pusher or an orange stick gently push the cuticles back into the
bed of the nail. Any pieces of dead skin or hangnails that remain should be carefully
trimmed away. Make sure not to cut off any cuticle because cutting too deep on the
side will damage the skin.
- This would be a good time to apply some moisturizing cream to your hands and fingers
and massage it in well. If you're not going to apply color to your nails, you're
Although it's not necessary to apply nail color, this step adds beauty and even
a touch of elegance to your hands. Before starting to work, pick an appropriate
color and have the base coat and top coat within easy reach.
- Begin by gently wiping off the moisturizing cream from around your nails and the
ends of the fingers.
- Make sure your nails and nail beds are completely clean and dry.
- Apply the base coat to your nails. The coat should be thin so that it dries fast.
Remember that each coat must dry completely before you can apply the next one. Start
a little bit away from the base of the nail and the cuticle, then slightly push
the brush closer to the nail and continue down to the edge. The brush "fans out"
when you push on it, so push gently and don't worry if you missed a spot. Continue
until the nail is completely covered. Many manicurists use a clean orange stick,
wrapped with cotton that was lightly soaked in nail remover, and use it to carefully
remove any excess polish from the skin and around the nails.
- After your base coat has thoroughly dried you may apply the first coat of color.
Keep the coat thin. It will dry fast and will allow you to apply the next layer,
which will deepen the color and fill in any areas you may have missed the first
time around. When the nail polish is fresh and the coat is thin, any streaks from
the brush should disappear when the polish dries out completely. Usually 2 coast
of nail color or enamel are applied, but you should see what works best with your
polish and your nails.
- The last step is to apply a single layer of clear top coat in the same manner. To
keep the color longer, top coat should be re-applied every 2-3 days.
- That's it! You're done!
There are other coloring options, from decorations to French Manicure, so feel free
to experiment and have fun.
View selection of of essential manicure tools and instruments
and luxury manicure sets at Zamberg.com.