Thursday, November 12, 2009
The first step in a manicure is to shape the nails. You should never use a file on damp fingernails. Just as your hair is weaker and requires more care when it is wet, the same holds right for fingernails. There are four basic nail shapes: round, square, oval and pointed. The nail must be shaped to conform to the shape of the finger. Generally, the oval shape works well for most hands. Men, or people who do a lot of work with their hands, may wish to wear their nails shorter and more rounded to avoid nail breakage. File each nail from the corner to the center, going from left to right and then right to left, do not slide the file back and forth over the tip of your nail and do not over file the sides of the nail, this will lead to weakening and breaking.
Soak hands in a bowl of foamy water to soften any dry skin or rough cuticles. Soak hands for about 5-10 minutes, depending on your preference and the condition of the hands. If you have dry skin, you should soak your hands in a thick hand cream or Vaseline instead of water solution. Apply a thick coat of the cream or Vaseline over your hands, cover your hands in gloves or saran wrap, and allow them to set for 10-15 minutes.
Apply a blend of soap and salt or sugar to exfoliate the hands. You can pour the salt or sugar over your soapy hands or make a blend of soap and salt/sugar in a bowl. The mixture should be of a thick stability. An exfoliating cream can be used in place of the salt/sugar mixture, if you would wish. The exfoliating mixture will remove any old or dry skin cells and leave your hands feeling softer. Generously rub the exfoliating mixture over hands and around nails for quite a few minutes.
Gently dry the hands with a clean towel. Rub the cuticle area of each finger with the side edge of the towel.
Gently push back the cuticle of each nail with a cuticle pusher or orange wood stick. Never cut your cuticles, this may cause pain and infection. If you have any hangnails or loose pieces of skin around the nails or cuticles, you may trim them very cautiously with cuticle trimmers or fingernail clippers. Use the cuticle pusher to clean beneath each nail.
Apply a good amount of hand lotion to both hands and massage it into your skin. Using one hand, massage the palm of the other hand; work the lotion into your skin. Using the thumb of the opposing hand, massage about each cuticle and nail. Slowly rotate each finger, and rotate the wrist.