I stopped giving myself pedicures and handed that job over to the professionals several years ago. But I still give myself a home manicure for the most part. I love the convenience of not having to go to a salon on a regular basis and I especially appreciate the cost difference.
So I thought I’d share with you a few of the tips I’ve learned over the years for achieving professional results with a home manicure. Also, I’m trying out OPI’s Infinite Shine Professional Long-Wear Lacquer System for the first time. So I’ll let you know what I think about it, too.
Infinite Shine is OPI’s 3-step process that provides a gel-like shiny, durable finish without the UV light used in the salon gel manicures. And it’s available in 150+ beautiful shades, including OPI’s iconic colors. I’m using a favorite shade that I’ve worn for years, Dutch Tulips.
But before I get to the Infinite Shine system, let’s look at some of the other products I use and steps I take in my home manicures. I use this Earth Therapeutics Nail + Cuticle Care Nutrient Conditioner to care for my nails and cuticles. I also use a simple filing board and a four-way buffer.
Years ago I was a Mary Kay Cosmetics consultant and I learned some great home manicure tips because I had to do mani-pedi parties. For instance, I learned that you should always file your nails in just one direction, never sawing back and forth. Filing in one direction feels a little awkward, but it keeps your nails healthier and stronger.
While there are several nail shapes that are trendy right now, included pointy nails, I prefer to file mine straight across and taper them only slightly at the edges. I think this shape looks a little younger…and my hands look old enough without an aging nail shape!
Buffing your nails is important because it prepares a smooth surface to apply your polishes. Simply buff the surface of each nail with sides 2-4 in that order. Side one of my buffer is for filing.
During my home manicure I think it’s a good opportunity to clean my wedding ring. Recently my jeweler advised me that the best way to clean my diamond ring is to soak it in a mixture of Dawn dish liquid and water. He suggested I heat the mixture in the microwave for about 25 seconds to activate the oil-removing ingredients in the dish soap. And yes, he specifically said I should use Dawn because it has the best oil-releasing ability.
After filing and buffing my nails, I treat my cuticles and nails with ample dollops of Earth Therapeutics Nail+Cuticle Care Nutrient Conditioner. I just happened upon this cream at Marshall’s a while back, but I’m impressed with its richness. And it has a mild, pleasing fragrance. Just massage this or any other good cuticle and nail cream in and let it set for several minutes at least. You can push your cuticles back a little if needed once they are softened. (I noticed on Amazon that Earth Therapeutics has a whole line of manicure and pedicure products that may be worth trying out.)
Next I wash my hands thoroughly so that my nails are dry and ready to be polished. I can go back and apply more cuticle cream and lotion after my nails have dried, but right now they need to be free of all oils. So I also go over them with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol.
Whether you are using the OPI Infinite Shine system or not, it is always best to begin with a clear base coat. That protects your nails and keeps them from becoming stained or yellow. I”m using the OPI Infinite Shine 1 Primer.
The Infinite Shine primer goes on easily and dries quickly. Really any base coat should do the same.
When preparing to apply your color, don’t shake the bottle. That allows air bubbles to accumulate in the polish. Air bubbles can really mess up your manicure. Instead roll it between your hands for a while. I usually do this at the beginning of my home manicure, so that it has time to settle before I apply my color.
I apply two coats of colored polish, keeping the applications as thin as possible while still getting decent coverage. The Infinite Shine polish is a little thinner than the original OPI nail lacquers. Thus it takes a little getting used to. I always use a very small application of the polish to go over the tops of the tips of my nails, too. I learned this little trick when I was selling Mary Kay, and it really prolongs the life of my manicure. Again, I’m using OPI Infinite Shine Dutch Tulips. It’s a pretty bright cherry red with a pink tint. But here’s a link to the regular OPI Nail Lacquer in Dutch Tulips, too.
I let the first coat dry slightly, about a minute or two, before applying the second. But I let the second coat dry 10 to 30 minutes before applying the top coat. In fact, I often go outside and let my nails dry in the sun (which we always have here in Arizona!) before applying the finishing product.
Once again, I apply a thin application of OPI Infinite Shine top coat. It’s best if you can apply with one brush application on the left, one on the right and then one up the middle. The fewer brush strokes the better. After applying the top coat, I definitely go outside and allow my nails to dry in direct sunlight. I get some vitamin D that way, too!
Finally, don’t forget your ring(s)! You don’t need to scrub your ring. In fact my jeweler warned against scrubbing my ring with any kind of brush, including a soft toothbrush. He says the brush won’t damage the stone, but it will potentially loosen the prongs which hold the stones in place. We certainly don’t want that! He says just soak the ring in the Dawn mixture, rinse in clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
I remove my nail polish with any fast working nail polish remover. It may be drying, but I don’t have time or the patience for slow working remover. I change my manicure once a week, occasionally more often if I have a special event to attend. And I do treat myself to a professional manicure a few times a year just to get my cuticles in good shape. But a home manicure is easy and affordable for me.
Here’s a link to Amazon where you can actually get the OPI Infinite Shine Primer and Top Coat at a reduced rate. And you can click on the photos below for some additional great products.
Do you do your own nails? What home manicure and nail care tips have worked for you? What products and colors do you enjoy using?
Blessed for My Day
I don’t have pretty hands or nails. It took a lot of courage for me to use photos of my own hands in this blog post. (Grin.) But I know the Lord loves for me to use my hands to praise Him through my service and worship. Today, let’s choose to use our hands to bless the Lord…and to bless others with His love and grace. Nothing will make our hands more beautiful!
So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. (Psalm 63:4)