Get gorgeous hands and feet with our at-home mani-pedi guide
It’s a pandemic, we get it! Doesn’t mean you can’t groom yourself at home. You don’t have to miss out on those relaxing mani-pedi sessions. Honestly, the salons are just cashing on your irregular cleansing and moisturizing routine. Dull skin is a result of dead cell build-up and lack of moisturization. To put it simply, you need exfoliation, deep cleansing, intensive moisturization, and regular clipping of nails to keep your hands and feet looking gorgeously groomed.
Our step-by-step guide will take you through the entire process and some green product recommendations to prep your hands and feet for the upcoming festive season.
Remove your nail paint
A lot of people lose their minds trying to remove nail paints with a commercial nail paint remover and go for harsh chemicals like acetone for its ease of use. If they are not working, it is usually because of user error. You must always follow the ‘hold and wipe’ method when removing paint from your nails. Most people keep sweeping their nails until the colour comes off. This leads to smudging of the top layer and bleeding all over the nails and around. The trick is to hold a remover-soaked cotton ball over your nail for a few seconds, instead of going straight for the wipe. This gives the remover a chance to seep in and break up the pigment. So hold, wait a few seconds, then wipe it off.
Acetone can be drying on the cuticles and make your nails weaker and more brittle in the longer run. Switch to a gentler and safer alternative like rubbing alcohol (the one used in hand sanitizers and some commercial nail paint removers), or make your own DIY nail paint remover at home by mixing equal parts of white vinegar and lemon juice. Dipping your nails in warm water for 15-20 minutes before applying remover can help speed up the process.
Clip your nails
You must do this almost every week or once in two weeks depending on your nail growth cycle to keep your nails in shape. Whether you paint your nails or not, keeping them trimmed not only looks fresh; it protects against the bacteria and dirt that can accumulate under longer nails. Whether you prefer a curved, square, or rounded shape, the easiest thing (that always looks good) is to follow the contour of your natural nail line as you trim.
Add a spoonful of bath salt in a tub of lukewarm water and dip your hands and feet in it. Let your skin loosen up as it will help remove dead skin cells and cuticles (in the next step). You can also add a bit of your gentle face cleanser or shampoo to the water. Soaking the cuticle before trimming is crucial, but over-soaking actually damages skin and nails, so limit this step to three minutes or less.
Moisturize to prevent ragged cuticles and hangnails
Moisturize before you reach for those cuticles, so you can more easily push it back with a nail filer. Be careful when removing excess cuticles; don’t cut into the nail itself or the skin too deeply. The hand and foot massage you get at the salon is not just relaxing; it’s moisturizing. Moisturization is very important to keep your hands and feet wrinkle-free, soft and glowing. Make this a part of your daily skincare routine. It will prevent ragged cuticles and hangnails (which are quite painful too).
Prep your nails for polish
Wipe off excess moisturizer from your hands and feet with a warm towel. Make sure you remove even the last traces of the moisturizer or oil from the surface of your nails if you want a slick polish application. Any amount of emollient on the nails is going to hinder polish from adhering properly.
Start with the base coat
The base coat is more than worth the extra minute it takes to swipe on. It extends the life of your manicure or pedicure, plus it protects your nails against yellowing—putting polish straight onto the nail lets the pigment bleed into and yellow the nail bed. Apply thin layers to keep the paint from breaking.
Layer up your polish
Apply multiple coats for longer lasting polish. First apply the base coat, which dries super fast because it’s thinner than pigment. Then start with your first layer. Get a medium amount of polish on the brush by wiping off about half of what the brush naturally picks up against the rim of the bottle. For the most precise application, paint one wide stripe down the middle of the nail, and then (without redipping), pull that same dip of polish across the rest of the nail. The last step is top coat. It seals it all in, and one quick horizontal swipe across the tip of the nail significantly helps with chipping. Wait until it dries completely and then apply the second coat.
Dip your nails in ice-cold water to help the paint dry faster
Take some ice cubes in a bowl and place it next to where you’ll be painting your nails. After you’re done with the application, wait for two minutes to let the polish set (this will ensure it adheres to your nails fully), and then dip your nails in the cold water and hold them there for about five minutes. When you remove your hands or feet from the water, you’ll see that there is water beading on top of the nail surface — a sure sign your polish is completely dry.