Just so I won’t have to write this in every tutorial I’ll make 😉
This post will describe how I prepare my nails for a mani. Of course everyone can have a different way of doing things, and still do it right. Just adjust the steps to what your own nails need/like.
Step 1: Clean all old nail polish off your nails with a remover, and file them into a shape you like. Pointy nails are usually more prone to breaking than square nails, so take that into consideration if your nails aren’t that strong. Also, it’s best to use a glass nail file. They’re more gentle on your nails than cardboard or metal ones. And try to file into one direction only. This can prevent splits, although glass files are gentle enough to reduce that danger a lot.
Step 2: Once the tips of your nails look like you want them to look, it’s time to take care of the surface of your nails. If the tips of some of your nails are starting to flake, the nail polish won’t look as neat. You can use a buffing file, or just your glass file, to make it more smooth. Just carefully file the surface of your nails until they’re smooth. Don’t do this when it’s unnecessary, though. You’re taking off a layer of the surface of your nail, so if you do it too often, your nails will get thinner.
Step 3: Now we’re going to take care of the cuticles. If they’re already in shape, even and not covering the base of your nails, you don’t have to take this step. If they do, then you can use a cuticle remover to remove them. Lots of brands have cuticle removers, mine is by Essence. Usually, the bottle will have directions on it, just follow those. And try to be as gentle as possible, damaged cuticles aren’t good for your nails, and they hurt. Also, wash your hands afterwards.
Step 4: Use a nail butter or cream on your cuticles. I also put this on the surface of my nails. There are a lot of brands who sell this, the most famous ones are probably Lemony Flutter by Lush and the one by Burt’s Bees. I have neither of those (still trying to get Lemony Flutter, but they’re sold out every time I’m at the store), so I use the hand and nail cream by Inecto. Works fine for me, and it smells good. Keep that on your nails for a few minutes, so it can do its work. If you haven’t used cuticle remover, you can carefully push back your cuticles a bit now. They’ll be softened from the cream. Then you can wash your hands again.
Step 5: Using a cotton swab and nail polish remover, de-grease your nails. The nail polish will stick to them better. Then apply a good layer of base coat. Again, everyone has a different favorite brand. I’ve only tried the one by Essence so far, because it’s cheap.
That’s it. After taking those steps, your nails are all ready for nail polish. A good start is the most important thing, of course, but here’s another few tips for making your manicure last longer.
-Wrap the tips. With each layer of polish, including base and top coat, also put in on and a bit under the tips. This’ll help prevent flaking of the nail polish at the tips.
-Always use a base and top coat. A base coat protects your nails, and helps prevent staining. A top coat protects the manicure, and makes your nails more shiny.
-Try not to get your hands wet. Longer exposure to water makes your nails softer, so there’ll be a bigger chance of the polish flaking off.
-Use a small brush and nail polish remover to clean your cuticles after applying polish, it’ll make the look more neat.
After following those steps, my manicure usually stays perfect for about 4 or 5 days. It’ll stay wearable, with only barely noticeably damage, for a week.