Preparing your nails is one of the most crucial parts of a manicure, but usually when we are doing our nails at home, we miss out this whole part of process. You can spend ages filing and picking the perfect base coat, colour and top coat, but I can guarantee you that your nails will look so much better if you prepare them properly.
You might think that you can only get this preparation process by going to your local nail bar or salon, but it is so easy to do at home, that I thought I would share my nail preparation tips with you.
Preparing the nails not only makes your manicure look better and last longer, but it can also improve the quality of your nails, but also keep your nails and hands looking gorgeous and healthy, even without polish!
Here is a list of things you will need:
Nail varnish remover
Orangewood or plastic cuticle pusher
Soak a cotton ball/pad in nail varnish remover and apply to your nails. Don't scrub the nails with the cotton ball, instead, try pressing the cotton ball onto the nail for a few seconds to allow the remover to soak in and then you should find that it slides off with ease.
Step 2 - Clean your hands and nails
Take a bowl of warm water and mix in the antibacterial soap. Use your nail brush to scrub underneath the nails and along the edges. This will help remove any oil or dirt.
I use Yves-Rocher Nail Brush, which was £3.50 and Carex antibacterial soap, which is £2.35 for 100ml in Tesco.
Step 3 - Cuticle work
I find an orangewood stick much kinder than a plastic cuticle pusher, but both do the job just as well. Using your orangewood or plastic cuticle pusher, gently push back any skin growing on the nail. If you find the skin is not moving easily by just pushing, don't be too rough and force it. Instead, apply a cuticle remover. Some cuticle removers have different instructions, so make sure you read the bottle beforehand, but usually you would apply to the overgrown skin, leave for a few moments or even massage into the area and then start gently pushing again. Repeat this process until the nail is completely clear of all over grown skin.
I bought 25 orangewood sticks from ebay for just 99p and 59p delivery, which keeps me going for ages! I use Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover, which you can buy from Boots for £6.45.
Step 4 - Tidy up
Now take a look at the skin around the nails. Do you have any hangnails (skin that has broken away) or other pieces of skin that are loose? Use your cuticle nippers to remove these. Essentially these work in a similar way to scissors. Put the loose piece of skin in between the cuticle nippers and press together. Try not to pull, or you may end up pulling away too much and causing cutting and bleeding. Gently trimming the skin, will make sure it can't catch and pull up more skin, and also makes the nail area look tidier and healthier.
Step 5 - Nourish
Wash your hands again using warm water and antibacterial soap. This will help remove any dirt, loose skin, oil or cuticle remover that is still hanging around the nail area. Once your hands are nice and clean, apply cuticle oil to your cuticles and around the edge of the nails and massage in. This will give a little bit of hydration to the nail. For an added boost, use a hand cream or moisturiser at this stage to give extra hydration and nourishment.
I use OPI Avoplex Nail and Cuticle Replenishing Oil, which I bought from Boots for £16.50.
My favourite hand moisturiser at the moment is the new Crabtree & Evelyn Caribbean Island Wild Flower hand cream, which was £15.
Step 6 - Final stages
Finally, before you paint the nails, use a cotton ball soaked in acetone, and clean the nails. This can help stop polish from chipping or peeling which will hopefully make it last longer!
I bought my acetone from SalonServices and it was £2.59 for 500ml.
The products I have shown here are just the ones I use. You can buy so many different brands at so many different prices, so if an item I have listed here looks a tad pricey, or in fact you fancy spending a bit more, it doesn't help to have a little look around at the different options!
Let me know if you try this nail preparation out and I'd love to see all your beautiful manicures afterwards!
I hope this post on how to prepare your nails for the perfect manicure is helpful!
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