On Twitter every Monday, there is a #manicuremonday tag, so today I thought I would take the tag quite literally, by showing you how to generally maintain the health of your nails with a proper manicure. By looking after the health of your nails, you can assure they will grow stronger, quicker and more healthy. The manicure I will show you is the one I was taught how to do at the Mavala nail school, but a more simplified version. I will also be using they're products as those are the ones I feel most comfortable with :) Let us begin!
First of all, we need to all the 'dusty' bits. By this, I mean buff, file and bevel so all the dirty bits are done first.
You will usually find in any buffing kit, there is a usually a more abrasive one, and a smoother one. My Mavala buffers look like this. They are slightly curved so you get a really good angle on the nail. The grey one being the rougher one, and the pink the smoother.
The rougher buffer is used to remove any ridges in the nail to give it a smooth surface. You must only use this in ONE direction, otherwise you will over heat the nail plate and cause damage. With the smoother one however you can be more liberal. This one will just shine up the nail and make it all soft.
Next, the filing. Again, you must only file in ONE direction to minimize damage to the nail. You should usually copy the shape of your cuticle to get the nail shape best suited for your nail, but obviously it is up to you. Once you have got your desired shape, you should bevel the end of the nail, which means you file vertically against the edge of the nail, to lock together all of the layers.
Once this is done, you should go and soak your hands in warm water to wash away the dust, but also to soften the cuticles ready for them to be pushed back.
The Mavala cuticle remover starts a small chemical reaction with the cuticles, to break down the dead skin so it is easily removed. It sounds painful but you can't feel a thing!
Once you have applied the remover to the cuticles, take your wooden stick and roll some cotton wool around it ready to roll back the cuticles.
There is a common preconception that to remove cuticles you must jab away at them with a big stick. WRONG. The most common way for nail disease to spread is under the little gap between your cuticle and nail, so jabbing away at it will not only hurt, but will also cause infection. You must ROLL back the cuticle with your cotton wool, and the cuticle remover you applied earlier will do all the work. Don't be afraid to apply pressure, as the more you do, the more successful this process will be.
Once you have done that step, you can use you hoof stick soaked in warm water to GENTLY tease of any excess cuticle that wasn't rolled back. You can use the sharper end for the more stubborn bits. Cuticle removal should not be a painful process, so if it is, you are doing it wrong.
Clean, soft cuticles will allow your nails to grow evenly, and abusing them will result in sore hangnails. To maintain cuticles you should use a oil or cream on them daily to keep them soft. My favourite is the Burt's Bees lemon cuticle balm. It absorbs really quickly, and has a fresh scent.
Now the general maintenance is done, we can start on the finishing touches. You should always use nail varnish remover on your nail's before you paint them, even if they have nothing on them. This will just remove any oil on the nail plate and will allow the paint to stick better.
As my nails are very peely due to them being weak, I apply O.P.I Nail Envy nail hardener to my nails every other day as a treatment. It also works as a base coat too though.
To finish off, and to make your manicure look really sparkling, finish with Mava-White. This optical nail whitener makes your nails like they have been french manicured, as it makes your nail plate a dreamy pink colour, leaving the free edge really white. It makes your nails look really healthy and it is only £10.50. Much less hassle than a french manicure!
So this is how you generally maintain your nails. Obviously getting it done professionally is easier and they will probably do a good job, but at least you can do it now too!