You too can do your nails!

Basic Materials

Extras

  • nail buffer
  • shine nail polish

Preparation

Start by removing any nail polish already on your nails. Be scrupulous in this matter, especially when removing polish from the sides of your nails. Then clip your nails to a uniform length. The two general styles are rounded and flat. It's simply a matter of personal preference. Make sure that the sides of the nails are perpendicular to the tips or your fingers. Clip in small increments and be gentle. Tearing a nail is unhealthy and painful.

Next, use the file to smooth the edges of your nails. Move the file in one direction only. Using a saw movement will make the nails raggedy and prone to tearing when they catch on an object. If you have a buffer, rub it over your nails in a saw movement until the nails have a shiny and flat appearance.

Fill the water basin with very warm, but tolerable, water. Let your hands soak in them for 5 - 10 minutes to loosen the cuticles. Dry your hands. When using the cuticle clippers, trim towards the base of your finger. Do not pull; make fine and gentle cuts until you have reached the desired appearance. You can continue cutting and let the cut cuticle collect on the shears.

If you do not trim your cuticles, after soaking your hands, put a dot of lotion on each nail and rub it in to moisturize the nail. Let the nail dry before continuing.

Begin the Manicure: Layer One

Lay out the towel on a flat and sturdy surface. Turn on the fan. I prefer those mini fans, but any will do. If it is a large fan, put it on the lowest setting.

Take out the bottom/top coat nail polish. Using your dominant hand, paint each nail using strokes beginning at the base and ending at the tip of the nail. Make sure that the brush has a good amount of polish on it. If your fan is on during the process, your nails should dry quickly. Only one coat is necessary, but you may add another if you wish. Make sure to securely close each bottle of polish after finishing using it.

Applying the Color

The best part!

Apply the polish in the same manner as the bottom coat. Don't drag over the edge, as it will paint your fingers and get stuck under the nail, which leads to a sloppy finish. Just make some nice, straight, short strokes. Try not to overlap too much as to avoid uneveness in texture and color. Depending on how strong you want the color to be, you may apply 1-4 layers. This also depends on the nail polish itself. You can apply layers in quick succession if you keep the fan running close to your hands, but not in the way of application.

Don't worry too much about being sloppy over the sides of the cuticle. Excess nail polish should come off in the shower without any extra help besides a tweezer. Do not touch or play with the surfaces of your nails while applying polish. This can leave marks, indentations, etc.

Top Coat and Strengthener

Once you are satisfied with the color, apply one layer of top coat, followed by one coat of strengthener. Top coat and bottom coat provide a buffer for your nail and protect the color from chipper. I also suspect that they are a marketing ploy, but what the hell. Make sure to have just enough polish on the brush so that it doesn't drip and is appropriate to the size of the nail. Don't be stingy!

Shine Polish

I like to be liberal with shine nail polish because I like shiny things. Please do not fudge this layer. Even if you made some mistakes in the bottom layers, you can cover them with a nice and even top layer of shine polish. Try not to spill over onto the cuticles and tip of your fingers. Give this layer extra time to dry under the fan.

Cleaning Up

Give your nails a few hours before taking a shower. While in the shower, let warm water soften your hands. Using the tweezer, gently remove excess nail polish from your skin, etc. Rub some more moisturizing lotion on them afterwards, and enjoy. If you want to use nail polish remover to get rid of the excess polish, try using a q-tip. An errant cotton ball can ruin a nice manicure, which is really frustrating.

A Note To The Wise

Contrary to popular belief, nail polish is not healthy for your nails! Your nails need time to breath and heal, as nail polish can strip some layers of nail off. Give your nails a week off between nail polish applications. Rub moisturizing lotion on them after showers, remove dirt from under the nail, and keep them in good shape. Nail fungus is persistent and ugly and not a pleasure to have.

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