The first thing you want to do anytime you sit down to do your nails is to make sure you have space.
This is mine…..
I’m lucky, I have a “work station” in my crafts room (I know it’s a lot of polish!) but you do need a hard, flat surface – desk, table, counter, whatever- where you can lay your hand flat and good light so you can see.
Before you settle in, take off any old polish and wash your hands to clean off any residue.
Okay, so settle yourself in at your “workspace” get comfy, and take a look at your nails, do they need to be trimmed? Shaped? Are they rough or peeling?
Unless you take awesome care of your nails (I don’t) then the answer is probably yes to most of these questions.
This tool is the BEST!!!!!
Mine is made by Tweezerman but you can get them nearly anywhere they sell nail polish. I picked this baby up with 4 replacement pads – for each side – for a whopping $3.49 at Ocean State Job Lot.
- Determine what shape you want your nails to be. If you have short nails do not despair, they can still look fabulous. The round is best for making them look longer and it will usually (at least in my case) help them grow without breaking. Not sure what I mean by shape? Use this handy guide from Good Housekeeping. Use a file or nail clippers, to trim and shape your nail to your desired length and style. If you have one of the handy four sided squares then you’ll want to use the filing side, which is the roughest one. On my tool, that side is pink. Try to file in only one direction. Check out this YouTube video.
- Do your nails tend to peal? Have rough spots? You’ll want to buff them. For this you do need either the four sided tool I have or something similar. Here’s my disclaimer on buffing. Don’t overdo it and do your research first. If you have weak nails or bad ridges you’ll probably want to skip this and use a ridge filling base coat instead. I buff mine about once a week when my nails are natural or when I’m changing polishes. If you are buffing, follow the labels on your tool, there is a side that evens, smooths, and then buffs. On my tool it goes salmon, green, yellow side. When I’m painting my nails I don’t use the last side. Personally, I think the polish sticks better if I only even and smooth them out.
- Moisturize your hands.This is so important. It’s important to cuticle care, nail beds, and your hands. You should apply lotion and take a minute to massage it into your cuticles before painting your nails. If you want to make your nails look like a pro did them, leave a thin layer of lotion or Vaseline on the skin around your nail. This allows you to wipe away excess polish. No worrying about painting outside the lines and having to use remover and q-tips. My hands down favorite product to use is a hand Salve made by a local seller Stoney Meadow Farms– but anything with a Shea Butter or Vaseline base will work. I cheat and use a cheap chapstick for when I travel and I don’t want to take a pot of hand salve with me.