How to Do Nails

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Always apply a clear basecoat before applying colored nail color.
Always apply a clear basecoat before applying colored nail color. (Image: macro manicure image by LadyInBlack from Fotolia.com)

A manicure can give your hands and nails a healthy appearance. Manicures are often performed by a licensed nail technician, but you can have a friend or relative give you a manicure, or you can even give yourself a manicure. The purpose of a manicure is to shape the free edge of the nails, treat cuticles, massage the hands and polish the nails. Sometimes, buffing the nails with a three-way buffer is needed when giving a manicure to remove ridges from the nails.

Things You'll Need

  • Manicuring table
  • 2 hand towels
  • Nail-polish remover
  • Cotton balls
  • 240-grit nail file
  • 3-way buffer
  • Liquid hand soap
  • Manicure bowl
  • Cuticle remover cream
  • Cuticle pusher
  • Orange-wood stick
  • Lotion or massage oil
  • Alcohol
  • Cotton pad
  • Base coat
  • Nail polish
  • Top coat
  • Nail dryer (optional)

Spread a hand towel out on the manicuring table. You will need the hand towel for wiping the nails and to protect the table from chemicals that may spill while you are performing a manicure.

Remove any polish from the nails using nail polish remover and a cotton ball. File the free edge of all of the nails to the desired shape using a 240-grit nail file. File the nails in one direction to avoid splitting or tearing the nail.

Buff under the free edge of the nails using the fine side of the three-way buffer. This will remove snags left behind on the nails after filing.

Fill the manicure bowl with warm soapy water. Apply cuticle-remover cream to the cuticles on the nails of one hand and place the nails into the manicure bowl to soak for three minutes. Apply cuticle remover cream to the nails on the other hand.

Remove the hand from the manicure bowl and place the other hand in the manicure bowl to soak. Push back the cuticles with a cuticle pusher on the hand that you have just removed from the manicure bowl. Tear off a small piece of a cotton ball and wrap the cotton around the end of an orange-wood stick and gently clean under the free edge of the nails.

Repeat the pushing of the cuticles back and cleaning under the free edge of the nail on the other hand.

Wipe the nails on both hands with a hand towel and apply lotion or massage oil to one hand. Massage the fingers, nails, palm of the hand and the top of hand with your thumbs using a circular motion. Repeat on the other hand.

Buff the nails if desired. Use the medium side of the buffer, then the fine side of the buffer making sure not to buff the nails too much as this can make the nails thin.

Wipe the nails with alcohol and a cotton pad to remove oil from the nail before polishing.

Apply the base coat to the nails. Wait one minute for the base coat to dry and then apply the nail polish to the nails. Apply the top coat to the nails and wait one minute before putting nails into a nail dryer.

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