Professional Manicure & Pedicure Tips

Here are some tips on how to do your manicure and pedicure professionally. It will surely save you time and money.

1. Removing old lacquer
Using a nail-polish and paper towel or cotton pad both offer more friction than a tissue and won't shred the way cotton balls can. Always try to use a non- acetone polish remover. It's less drying to nails and cuticles than regular formulas.

2. File your nails while they're dry
You'll get a better shape if you file before soaking. Overly abrasive files, including anything metal, will promote peeling so choose a fine-grade emery board. The best technique, file in one direction using smooth strokes. Sawing back and forth can break the nail.

3. Soften nails and cuticles in a bowl of warm water
Mix the warm water with cuticle oil, olive oil or body lotion. After 10 minutes of soaking, dry off and apply cuticle cream or lotion. Gently ease cuticles back by making tiny circles against the cuticle with an orangewood stick- a thin wooden stick with a slant-edge tip at both ends that are sold n drugstores wrapped in cotton.

Next, rub cuticles with a warm, damp, washcloth in the same gentle way. The circular motion helps slough away that white membrane, which is dead cuticle skin. Many salons cut cuticles to get a clean-looking result in little time, but it's not healthy practice: The cuticle forms a protective seal between the nail and the skin to prevent irritants from getting into the skin, and cutting it can result in infection. You need to coddle your cuticles. Avoid cutting them or pushing back aggressively. Doing either can damage the nail matrix, the area under the cuticles where growth takes place.

4. Wash away oil or lotion
Use soap and water and dry the nails thoroughly. Rubbing them with polish remover again as they do in salons shouldn't be necessary and can actually over-dry nails.

5. Apply a basecoat
Basecoat is like a double-stick tape for your nails. It holds polish in place so it lasts longer. It also prevents dark lacquers from tinting your nails.

6. Sweep on polish
The way they do at salons, in three strokes, from base to tip. Go up per dunk before applying to nail. This helps you apply the thinnest coats possible.

7. Wait two minutes between each coat of color
Base and top coats are included to speed up overall drying time. Set an egg timer.

8. Finish with a topcoat
If you have the time, use a topcoat's designed to be shinny and protective. It will offer a harder, longer-lasting protective shell with a higher shine that fast- drying topcoat can provide.

Wearing a topcoat also can keep your nails healthy. It helps prevent water loss, so nail breaks less. Still, if you're in a rush, don't risks ruining your nails by all means go with the speedy version. And use a quick-dry topcoat every other day to prolong the life of your polish.

9. Touch up any polish mistakes
After nails are dry working on wet nails guarantees smudging. Use a cotton swab and polish remover or try a pen made specific purposes. If you smudge, gently rub it out with a dab of polish remover. When dry, polish only affected area, then cover the entire nail topcoat.

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