Friday, May 4, 2012

How To: Barely there manicure

Sometimes less is more, and I think that is especially true for nails. Clean, well-kept nails are appropriate for any situation, and definitely for the office. Some women have a standing nail appointment to keep their pointers on point, but I prefer a DIY approach.

Everyone has their own nail preferences of shape, length and color. As long as your nails are clean and tidy, any length can be appropriate for the office (as long as they don't get in the should be able to type just fine).

My nails are uneven and the cuticles are a little scraggly. I have a bad habit of picking at my cuticles, so they're often rough and messy. They're also longer than I prefer (I usually cut the whites off completely).

Cut. I like to use a large nail cutter. I think they're designed for toenails, but they're much flatter in curve than the typical nail cutter, so I use them to get a flatter shape on top. Still, there are usually some weird angles sticking out here and there, which leads to the next step.

File. This is where the shaping really comes in. File in a sweeping motion from one consistent direction; don't saw at your nail! I usually do a few up-strokes along each side, too. Do this over the same paper/basket you cut your nails over, to catch the nail dust. It's ok if the edge is a little rough...we'll take care of that in the next step.

    Buff. I like this buffing block (and its sister, the buffing stick) because it's super easy—just follow the numbers! Side 1 cleans up your filing job and Sides 2-4 are for your nail bed. If you buff your nails often, go easy on Side 2: Smooth Nail, because you don't want to wear through your nail bed. Since I do this on an almost-weekly basis, I only swipe 2-3 times per nail, and in the same direction all times (sort of like filing).

    Condition. Rub the cuticle cream into your cuticles on all sides. If you have not touched your cuticles in a while, start with cuticle remover (follow directions on package; this stuff can be potent) and follow up with a cream for moisture.

    Push back. Using the flat end of the orange stick, push your cuticles back gently. I do not recommend trying to clip or trim your cuticles; it can lead to infection (and that is not healthy). After the cuticle is pushed back, I rub any excess cuticle cream in again for good measure.

    Clean the nail. If you plan to leave your nails bare, you can skip this step. But if you want to polish them next, use nail polish remover and a Q-tip to clean the cuticle cream off your nail bed (try not to get too much on your cuticles...they're still moisturizing!). Any residue on the nail (even hand soap) can weaken the bond to your polish, which results in peeling.

    From here, the world is your oyster. I stuck with basic nail hardener today. Much better than before, wouldn't you say? And not bad for just a few minutes of work. Because I keep my nails short, I cut them once a week (usually Sunday afternoons while watching whatever sports game is on), but your home manicure will last longer if you're not always picking at your nails like I am. In between manicures, if I'm just relaxing and reading a book or watching some TV, I'll rub in some cuticle cream (right on over any polish) to keep things smooth.

    Are you a home manicure girl or do you prefer the full service treatment? Share your nail tips and tools below!


    1. All very good tips! I like to do manicures in the salon and pedicures at home. I don't normally paint my nails though because it seems like I always chip the polish.

    2. Very nice! I have a similar home manicure routine, but I like to leave a sliver of the white part of my nail. I like nailpolish (and I have a bunch) but I'm usually too impatient to paint my nails. It's more of a special occassion thing.

    3. So elegant! I'm still mastering the nail shaping... sometimes I go get manicures with clear polish, just so I can have expert shaping, and then it's easier to maintain on my own. But my trick for at home manicures: Seche Vite top coat. It dries fast and hard, so I can actually get back to doing things after not too long without ruining my polish.

    4. You should put the before and after picture side by side because I keep scrolling up and back and they look the same to me.

    5. Love this! I'm not really into nail polish, so all I would ever do was cut my nails. Adding the filing and buffing really makes them look sharp.

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