Feeling good about yourself can be as simple as giving yourself a home manicure.
Here’s how to fix your nails at home in 10 easy steps:
1: Start with dry nails. Shape your nails with an 80- to 180-grit nail file. Working from the edges and moving toward the top, file in one direction only.
2: Wash hands and then soften cuticles by soaking your fingertips in warm water or a fruit acid such as apple cider vinegar (buttermilk works, too).
3: Apply a fruit or nut oil or a natural cuticle softener around the half-moon cuticle area at the base of each nail. Choose a softener that contains aloe vera, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, or camomile to moisturize and reduce inflammation.
4: To prevent infection, never, ever cut your cuticles. Instead use an orangewood manicure stick to push back cuticles.
5: For extra moisturizing, massage your hands with products that contain shea butter, coconut oil, ginseng, and glycerine as emollients; yarrow and witch hazel as curatives; and horsetail as a nail strengthener. Rubbing your nails with tea tree oil or evening primrose oil will improve any problems with cracking, hangnails, and brittleness.
6: Dry hands and nails completely to remove excess oils.
7: At this point you can choose to use a water-based nail polish or to polish your nails with a pumice stone or buffing file that has two or three different light grits. At this point you can choose to use a water-based nail polish or to polish your nails with a pumice stone or buffing file that has two or three different light grits.
8: If you prefer to use water-based nail polish, begin with a base coat. Start on the side of the nail and cover the surface in three strokes: one on each side and then one in the middle. Let dry for one minute.
9: Apply two more coats of the same colour. Finish with a clear top coat.
10: Natural, water-based nail polishes come in matte, frosted, iridescent, and French manicure finishes. They can be removed using a natural polish remover made from soy or corn ester and fruit acid solvents, or by soaking nails in hot water for a few minutes. Scrape off old polish using your fingernail or a cuticle stick.
Chemicals to avoid in conventional nail products
|Acetate||solvent||irritates skin; causes neurotoxic side effects|
|Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)||plasticizer||penetrates skin; inhalation may cause cancer in liver, lungs, and kidneys; causes endocrine imbalance|
|Formaldehyde||preservative, nail hardener||irritates skin; may cause cancer; causes headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and immune dysfunction; banned in Europe|
|Parabens||preservative||mimics estrogens and may disrupt hormones|
|Toluene||solvent; gives smooth finish and speeds drying||long-term exposure at low levels causes memory loss, nausea, skin irritation, tingling in fingers and toes, and respiratory tract problems|
A home manicure can be a pleasant way to spend 20 minutes. Take time for a bit of self-care and you’ll feel great.