How to Do a Manicure

Learning how to do a manicure is not unlike doing a pedicure, though a few of the supplies and techniques will be different. A finished set of fingernails is one of the defining characteristics of the sexy woman and a good manicure isn’t that hard to pull off.

One of the first luxuries a woman cuts out of the budget in a bad economy is a trip to the salon or spa, so knowing how to give yourself a manicure becomes a must. Once you know how to treat your own nails, you can save money and show off your femininity at the same time.

Before we start, let’s cover one of the important terms in our study of manicures: the “French manicure”.

What Is a French Manicure?

A French manicure is the modern manicure: a treatment of the hands and fingernails. A French manicure can be performed at home or in a nail salon. The fashion has been to get a French manicure from a manicurist or “professional nail technician”, but there’s no reason why you can’t do your own nails at home.

The modern French manicure became the fashion in 1920’s and 1930’s Paris, which spawned many of the current fashion trends in the western world. Manicures of this sort were probably being performed in France as early as the 18th century, though. Manicures and hand beauty are much older, though, as the first manicure is seen in the historical record as far back as 3000 B.C., in what is present-day India.

Manicure Equipment

The tools you need for a manicure are roughly the same as the tools you need for a pedicure, so you shouldn’t be out the cost for a whole lot of different tools. Here is a comprehensive list of manicurist tools.

Remember that hands, fingers and fingernails touch the face, eyes and mouth often, so you want to keep sanitizing spray handy during a manicure, much more so than you would for the pedicure. Good hygiene is essential with hand care.

Consider buying a personal nail tool kit the next time you visit your salon. These tool kits will have many of the manicurist tools discussed above. It’s perfectly natural for women to buy a personal nail tool kit, even when they aren’t doing their own manicures at home, so don’t have a guilty look on your face when you pick up your personal manicure kit at your favorite salon.

Paraffin Treatments – Hot Oil Manicures

Optional hand treatments like paraffin wax and hot oil treatments can also be applied during a manicure. Paraffin wax treatments soften and moisturize your hands, due to the absorption of essential oils and natural emollients. Common ingredients to a paraffin dip are chamomile, aloe vera, azulene and tea tree oil.

A hot oil manicure is used for women with dry skin and troublesome cuticles, because it softens dry skins, cleans the cuticles and softens brittle nails. The usual oils used for hot oil hand baths are olive oil and mineral oil.

Doing a Manicure

How to Do a Manicure

How to Do a Manicure

Now that we have our supplies and an overview of your options, it’s time to get to the business of doing a manicure. Start by removing any old nail polish you might have on your fingernails. This lets you start fresh and paint from the base up.

File the Fingernails

Clip the nails or have your subject clip their own nails beforehand. Next, use an emory board or nail file to file the nails.

When filing fingernails, file in only one direction. Don’t seesaw, like you would a handsaw. You’re trying to file, not saw, the nails.

Soak the Hands

You’ll want to soak hands in warm water for 10-15 minutes before you begin to work on the hands directly. Don’t soak your hands before filing your nails, though.

Tend the Cuticles

Push back cuticles along the nails. If you have trouble pushing back cuticles with a cuticle pusher or orangewood stick, use a cuticle moisturizer to make this process easier. When using a cuticle moisturizer, soak the hands in the moisturizer.

When treating cuticles, never use nail clippers or scissors to remove cuticles. These tools are not made for that purpose and too close of a cut will cause pain for the recipient and blemishes in the finished manicure.

Pamper the Hands

Work on dry skin on the hands with a moisturizing lotion. Work in the moisturizing lotion by massaging the hands.

For women who have dry or rough skin, use an exfoliating lotion to reduce the dryness and roughness.

Apply Polish to the Nails

Apply a base coat of nail polish to your fingernails. Don’t worry about stray marks. Simply clean away stray marks with a cotton swab treated with nail polish remover. Another option is to add a small sable nail brush to your tools, which can be treated with nail polish remover to remove stray marks.

Once you have a solid base and it has dried, apply a top coat of polish. Applying a second coat to deepen the color is optional. The top coat acts as a sealant, as well.

Add a color varnish to add luster to your nail polish. Once again, this performs the function of a sealant.

Quick Drying Manicures

Remember that manicures are about pampering yourself and others. Don’t give a manicure when you’re in a hurry, because you’ll end up rushing through the nail drying part of the manicure. When performing the role of the manicurist, entertain your friend or give them something they can entertain themselves with, such as a magazine, book or television.

If you do get in a hurry waiting for nails to dry, place the nails in ice-cold water. Some might find this unpleasant and I don’t usually recommend this, since cold water soaking can cause dry hands in some. This is optional when the subject of the manicure has underestimated time constraints and begins to hurry you.

This is not recommended, though. Soaking in hot water or cold water tends to cause nails to expand or contract ever so slightly, meaning the nail polish is more likely to chip faster than normal.

Doing a Manicure

Know you know how to do a manicure. While a manicure takes a little time and care, performing your own manicures means you don’t have to ruin your budget on salon treatments, while still maintaining one of the truly feminine traits: the manicured hand.

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