The Perfect Woman's Manicure
As a busy hand model, I had to give myself manicures more times than most of you have eaten in a restaurant. My nervous clients often insisted in watching me lacquer each nail, one by one, as if these were a work of art. So if I can do my nails in a mine field, you can be sure I can teach you how to get a perfect 10 (nails, of course) at home.
Always keep your nails at a length that makes your life easier. Short nails are quite fashionable now, so opt for convenience. Sexy hands are those you use, as with our bodies. If you don't use them, you lose them. So do everything your little hands desire, but then treat them, and treat them well.
What you'll need
- Nonacetone polish remover
- Cotton pads (don't use cotton balls, which have too much lint.)
- Orangewood stick
- Emery board
- Warm water in a bowl (you can add scented oils or salt.)
- Base coat
- Color enamel polish
- Top coat (you can also use the base coat)
How to manicure your nails
- Saturate a wad with non-acetone polish remover and gently press it against each nail. Stroke from base to tip, keeping the liquid off the cuticle as much as possible. Dip a cotton-wrapped orange stick (or a Q-Tip) in the remover and wipe off any remaining traces of enamel. This is a strong chemical, so wash your hands thoroughly and dry them. Be sure to dry them well. Don't soak them, because you don't want soft nails which tear easily.
Use a Q-Tip to remove hard-to-get polish
- File with an emery board. Hold the board flat against the edge of your nail. File towards the tip. File only in one direction. Don't saw back and forth. The nails will tear if you saw backwards. Don't file too deeply at the sides.
File from the base to the tip
- Your best guide for the nail shape is your cuticle, which is the rim at the base of the nail. That's where the lanula (the moon) is. The cuticle is oval and that's the ideal shape for your nails. Square tips look okay if your fingers are slim. Pointed tips break easily. You can also try round shapes.
Special Tip: To get a perfectly shaped nail, check it from the palm side. The shape of the nail should look even from front and back.
- Apply Cuticle Serum or cream to each nail. I don't recommend cuticle removers, because they are strong chemicals that damage the fragile cuticle, which is where the healthy nail grows.
Apply cuticle cream
- Soak your fingertips in a mix of dishwashing liquid and warm water for ten minutes. This softens the cuticle, loosens any dirt under the nails, and removes any filing dust on your nails. If your hands are dry, you can use hand cream instead.
Special Tip: Add a few drops of aromatic essential oil to the soak. Rose oil is healing, while lavender is calming.
Madge's Palmolive dishwashing liquid soak
- Use a soft, flat nailbrush to scrub your nails, as well as the skin on the top of your hands. Do this gently and any dried skin will fall away.
Use a soft nailbrush
- Now use a pumice stone to soften rough edges around your nails. This also removes any stains on your fingers. Dry your hands and gently push back the cuticles with a nubby washcloth.
Special Tip: This is an ideal time to use your favorite hand care product, one of the special treats, or the "hand lift."
Pumice the rough edges
- Gently push back the cuticle with a cotton-wrapped orange stick.
Push back cuticles with a cotton-wrapped orange stick
- Clip only hangnails. Don't touch the delicate rim at the base of the nail. That's where the new nail grows.
Clip the cuticles, but only if necessary
- Clean under your nails with a cotton-wrapped orange stick or Stim-U-Dents (little wooden sticks sold for dental cleaning. You can soften these by moistening them.)
Special Tip: For stubborn stains, dip the wrapped orange stick or Stim-U-Dent in hydrogen peroxide (or Clorox, if necessary). Rinse off.
Clean under your nails with Stim-U-Dents
- Buffing can improve your nails' appearance and circulation. Buff only in one direction to prevent the nails from getting too hot.
Special Tip: You can use jeweler's polishing paste, sold in any department store or drugstore, with the buffer to get a nice shine. If you're going to enamel your nails, don't use a buffing paste because the nails will be too smooth and the enamel won't stick!
Buff only in one direction
- Repair any breaks or tears now.
Special Tip: If possible, leave the nails bare overnight to let the repairs harden.
- Select your base coat, enamel color, and sealer before you start applying them, so you won't smudge your nails. Start with a base coat, which is essential if you're going to use a color. The base provides a smooth surface for the enamel. This also protects your nails from chemicals and breaking.
Apply the base coat
- Here's my tip on how to paint your nails. Dip the brush and then revolve the brush tip inside the neck of the bottle to remove most of the polish. As you apply the brush, rotate the brush. The polish will flow down the brush onto the nail. Use the corner of the brush around the edges. Be sure to cover the free edge of the nail with the base coat.
Special Tip: You should be able to paint each nail in three strokes. Do a center stroke and then two side strokes. The brush should have just enough enamel for each stroke. Don't worry if the polish is uneven. As it dries, it will smooth itself. And don't paint the cuticle!
- Before you apply the enamel, roll the bottle between your palms for a few seconds, to warm the enamel, so it'll be easier to apply. Then shake the bottle vigorously.
Special Tip: Some people like to support their hands on a surface. I press my wrists together and let my hands support each other.
Special Tip: Store your enamel in the refrigerator. It'll last longer. If it's too thick, use polish thinner (but not polish remover!) If the cap is sticking, use a bit of Vaseline around the neck of the bottle.
- Matchbook covers (or matches) are a handy way to clean up any polish on the sides of your fingers. Use the hard edges of the matches to remove any small smears. This means you won't have to use nail polish remover on your skin. And of course, don't light any matches while your nails are still drying!
- Apply two coats of enamel. Let your nails dry thoroughly between coats. Pale pink polish often requires three coats to prevent streaks. Finish with a top coat, which can often be the same as your base coat. Don't forget to cover the tip of the free edge for maximum protection. Let your nails dry as long as you can.
Special Tip: A good way to test if the polish is dry is to lightly touch your tongue to you nails. If you don't taste the polish, your nails are dry.
Your manicured hands!
Treatments for nails
If you have soft thin nails (your nails bend easily) or your nails are brittle (your nails break easily), try
Linda Rose's Intensive Nail Treatments. These contain liquid collagen which supplements and strengthens your nails.
Photography by Robert Swenson.
by Linda Rose.
"I don't believe in pampering your hands to the point you don't use them. I've raised two kids with these hands. I wash dishes. I garden and sew. I played baseball. I believe in using my hands. They're like our bodies. If you don't use them, you lose 'em. But if you treat them, they can still look great."
-- Linda Rose in W.