If your budget has been hit hard by
the economic recession – and whose hasn’t? – the weekly manicure you
considered essential may have been sacrificed to groceries and gas.
Don’t dismay! With a little practice and some inexpensive tools, you
can give yourself a relaxing manicure that will tide you over to
your next nail salon appointment. You will need:
moisturizing nail polish remover
nail files in both coarse and fine
orangewood stick for cuticles
moisturizing hand lotion
base coat nail polish
nail polish in your favorite color
top coat nail polish
about 30 minutes
Start by removing any existing nail
polish you have on. Nail polish remover is very drying, so choose a
moisturizing one and use as little as you can to get the job done.
When all your old polish is off, file and shape your nails, starting
with the coarser grit and finishing with the finer one. To prevent
splintering, file in a smooth, one-way motion from the edge of the
nail towards the center. Today’s most popular nail shape is fairly
short and square with rounded corners (‘squoval,’ if you like
neologisms), but you can choose whatever shape and length suits your
fingers and lifestyle. Hint: match the shape of your natural
cuticle. Buff the nail surface lightly to smooth ridges, which can
make polish more likely to chip.
Next, soak your hands in warm water
for 5 minutes to soften the cuticles and remove any dirt from under
your nails. Dry and apply cuticle remover. Then, using an orangewood
stick, push your cuticles back very gently to reveal more of the
nail. Unless you have obvious hangnails and peeling skin, avoid
trimming cuticles, which can lead to infections. A good daily
moisturizer can help prevent cuticle problems before they start.
Now massage your hands and nails with
a moisturizing lotion. Wipe off any excess lotion from the nails in
preparation for the polish. Applying a base coat will help your
favorite color go on more smoothly and prevent staining. When the
base coat is dry, apply two coats of your favorite color, and a
clear top coat to prevent chipping and smudging. Clean up any stray
polish with a cotton swab and a little nail polish remover, and let
it all dry for at least 15 minutes.
And there you have it: soft, smooth manicured hands for days in
which you’re dying for that manicure but can barely make your rent.
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