This is my post about my basic nail care routine. In it I will go over a list of tools I use and how to care for your hands and nails to make sure they grow strong and healthy! Keep in mind this is my list and you may need to change some things to best suit your nails and needs 🙂
List of tools:
- Toothpick or wooden orange stick
- Cuticle or nail oil
- Acetone nail polish remover
- Cotton pads or circles
- Natural nail file/emery board
- Sticky base coat
You’ll notice I do not use any metal implements like cuticle pushers, cuticle cutters, nail clippers, or scissors. These can badly damage the nail and skin around the nail causing nail splintering or peeling and cutting the cuticle opens yourself to infection. Please do not use metal tools on your nails!
The other thing not included in my list is a strengthening base coat. Nail hardeners make the nail more rigid and unable to bend which actually makes them more prone to breakage when they get hit or caught and bent. Hydrated and flexible nails resist breaks better than tough rigid ones because they can bend and not crack or snap.
Here are the steps to removing an old manicure and getting primed and ready for new polish!
- Soak a cotton circle or pad in Acetone remover. Acetone is more effective than non-acetone removers, so you don’t tend to use as much.
- Place the pad on the polished nail and press to hold in place. Let the remover soak in for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- While pressing down, slowly move from base to tip of the nail in one motion. It may take a few tries, but this is more healthy for your nail than scrubbing back and forth. The nail plate has lots of layers and scrubbing across them can cause staining and nail weakness.
- Once the polish is removed, go over your cuticles with nail oil. Don’t be afraid to add quite a bit since we want to soften up the cuticles.
- While the oil soaks into the cuticles, take this time to shape your nails. Choose a uniform shape that mirrors the same shape of your cuticle line to ensure a flattering style. Mine are a cross between rounded and oval when shorter and then a cross between oval and almond when longer.
- Use short strokes with the natural nail file. It is important to pick a file made for natural nails as ones made for acrylic can be too harsh. Look for the fine grit finishing files. Glass files can be used, but they tend to take the nail down quickly which can lead to unevenness if you’re not careful and I’ve found they can lack the ability to make a smooth edge that will not catch on fabric. Some may wish to lightly buff the top of the nail plate where the polish goes, but this can cause nail weakness, so only do so if your nails are very thick.
- Once the nails are shaped, then it is time to tend to the cuticles. You can use a cuticle remover, but please use with caution and wash off right away to avoid any skin burns. Use the toothpick and cuticle pusher and push away or scratch away any cuticle that is pulled up onto your nail plate. This should not hurt. Cuticle is not live skin so there is no pain with removing it. Be careful not to push too far as you can hit the live skin easily here.
- Once the polish is removed, the nails are shaped, and the cuticles are removed, it is time to wash your hands. Use soap to remove the cuticle oil and dust from filing. Once washed, I use a microfiber cloth to dry each nail and then leave them to air dry for a few minutes. Remember: any oil can cause the polish to chip off or peel early so try not to touch hair or skin at this point.
- Once nails have dried, it is time to apply the sticky base coat. This will provide a sticky surface for the nail polish to bond to and will help maximize the length of wear time while minimizing peeling and chipping. It is important to use a base coat that does not contain hardeners. Anything that is described as blue or sticky will be a good bet.
- Now you are all set to apply your favorite nail color and seal it in with a quick dry top coat! Don’t forget to wrap those tips!
- Once you are done applying the top coat, give it a few minutes to dry and then apply some more nail oil to the cuticles and fingertips. This will help rehydrate from washing your hands and you are done!
I hope this post helps in learning about the best care for your nails and assists you in setting up your own routine. What is your favorite step in the process? Anything I missed or that you like to add to your routine? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks and have a great day!