By Leah Fletcher
Having your hands and feet cared for by a certified professional, during the summer months, is relaxing and powerfully therapeutic. But, if you are not in the mood to splurge, for a manicure and/or a pedicure, you can do it yourself at home. With a few easy tricks, you can achieve salon results without salon prices.
Before applying nail color, it’s wise to prep the nails and soften both hands and feet, before applying nail polish. Here is what you will need: cuticle softening cream, nail polish remover, orangewood stick or cuticle pusher, nail clippers, buffer and pumice stone.
Remove old polish
Use a non-acetone remover because it is easier on your nails and skin, and doesn’t have any harsh vapors.
File your nails
Try not to file the sides of your nails too much. The abrasive action may cause hangnails and weaken your nails. Buff nails to prepare for polish. Buffing also helps the polish bond to the nail. Opt for a buffer with a slightly abrasive surface not the leather kind used for smoothing nails. It’s like an emery board with a smooth surface
Soak in warm water
Soak your hands for three minutes and feet for five minutes. Because soap can be drying use scented salts or essential oils instead. If your feet are callused, use a pumice stone when feet are wet and use a foot filer after they are dry. If you do this once a day calluses won’t build up.
Use oil. If you don’t have cuticle oil use olive oil or baby oil, then gently push back the cuticle with an orangewood stick to get a really nice shape. Optional step: use an exfoliator to slough off dry skin then rinse and apply lotion.
Give yourself a massage
Rub hands and feet with a good vitamin-enriched lotion. Use a non-acetone polish remover to clean the nail beds, wiping off any remaining cuticle oil or massage lotion. The surface can’t be greasy when you apply polish or it will not adhere to the nail. Clean under the nail too, with an orangewood stick wrapped with cotton and dipped in the remover. Wood is often preferred because it is kinder to tender skin under the nail. Plastic is okay in a pinch—but if you your remover has acetone, the plastic will melt.
Apply nail strengthener
When allying a nail strengthener, it is a good idea to use a regular base coat. This protective layer is especially important if you are using dark polish because the intense pigment can permanently stain nails. While the base coat prevents the nail from staining, it also prevents chipping or peeling.
Apply two layers of nail color
Polish the ends of your nails for extra wear. Nail experts from Essie’s suggest waiting about two minutes between coats of polish to ensure nails are dry. Sometimes that helps prevent chipping.
Apply a clear top coat
Touch your ends with a clear top coat. Let it dry and show off your gorgeous hands and feet.
Finishing off with a top coat gives nails a lustrous shine. Keep your shine on and help prevent chipping by applying top coat every three days.