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How To French Manicure At Home

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The Ultimate At-Home Manicure: Nail It With These French Manicure Instructions!

Salon care, for all its diehard advocates, requires an outlay of money and time that many folks would just as soon devote to other purposes.

In fact, the majority of women fall into this camp. They do their own manicures and pedicures at home, in some instances with results that rival those produced by the very best nail technicians.

And you can, too, with just a little guidance, a few basic implements, and of course a lot of practice. Who knows? You might become so skilled that you’d never trust your fingers and toes to anyone else again and prefer your home French Manicure

 

How To French Manicure

Getting Started and Gearing Up
How To French Manicure

To do your nails like a pro, you need to act like a pro. That means owning the right gear and working in an environment hat is as clean and antiseptic as you can make it. Let’s begin with a list of necessary items:

Isopropyl rubbing alcohol to be used for disinfecting implements; look for 70 percent or higher alcohol content.

Cotton balls or roll of uncut cotton. Prepackaged cotton balls are the more convenient choice, but the roll is cheaper in the long run, and allows you to cut pieces to the exact size and shape you need.

Orange stick

Emery board or diamond file

Toenail dippers

Pair of small, sharp manicure scissors for trimming hang-nails

Base coat to help polish adhere and to fill in cracks, pits, ridges, and other surface irregularities

Nail hardener or strengthener (optional): use only if your nails have a tendency to split, crack or peel. A few of the older-style hardeners and strengtheners still contain the preservative formaldehyde, a chemical known to cause allergic reactions with alarming frequency. Be sure that yours doesn’t.

Polish in several colors. A few basics such as dear, coral pink, and rose red are musts, but beyond that you are limited only by your imagination, your budget, and the restrictions imposed by your natural skin and hair coloring. To prevent washed-out color during those bare-toed summer months, choose formulations with built-in sunscreen, which makes the polish stable in UV light.

Sealing coat (also called a top coat). Used to add glossiness to – and improve the durability of – the enamel or colored nail polish you apply.

HOW TO VIDEO ~ How To French Manicure

Watch And Learn, more information in featured video below:
French Manicure Basics ~ Learn the basics of French manicures, like what we need to get started.

 

How To French Manicure

Your Work Area : Sanitation and Safety
How To French Manicure

Cleanliness and sanitation are no less important in your home than in a salon, perhaps even more so, seeing as how you live there. Yet, while most of us live in neat, tidy quarters, the environment may not be antiseptic (or germ-free) as it ought to be for a full manicure or pedicure. Here are a few pointers to get you headed in the right direction.

If you’ll be working in the bathroom, try to perform your manicure or pedicure immediately after the room has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The germs that thrive in dirty toilet bowls and messy sinks, after all, aren’t necessarily the kind you want to invite to your cuticles for a dinner party.

Clean and sterilize all of your tools just as if you were employed at a professional salon (see above for details). Ideally, tools should be cleaned before and after each treatment. Isopropyl rubbing alcohol can serve as your alternative to the hospital-grade disinfectant used at salons.

Don’t use the same emery board over and over again. An old board can pick up germs just lying around in your purse, medicine cabinet, or cosmetics bag; and a dull board, like a dull razor, is actually more likely to damage your nails than a sharp one.

Keep your hands away from your eyes, ears, lips, and nose during the course of the manicure or pedicure. Most allergic reactions to nail polish, for example, don’t result from the effect of dried polish on the nails, but from wet polish that has accidentally come in contact with the sensitive skin around the eyes.

And as for polish remover, we’ll just quote a common warning found on the back of many bottles: Harmful to synthetic fabrics, wood finishes, and plastics. If the stuff can do damage to wood and plastic, just imagine how even a smidgeon of it would feel in the corner of an eye.

If you must smoke during the course of your manicure, do so outside while your nails are drying, far removed from potentially flammable substances like polish remover. Or better yet, don’t smoke at all!

 

How To French Manicure

How To French Manicure

Now that you’re ready to start, the first question on your mind might well be: How often should I do my nails? Our reply: Probably more often than you think. Unless your nails grow very slowly, a weekly manicure is a beauty must.

For pedicures, you can space treatments every 2 to 3 weeks, owing to the slower growth rate of toenails versus fingernails. Let your nails go longer than these guidelines and our feeling is that they will have grown out to the extent that no amount of touching up will look good. Of course, they’re your nails, your hands, your feet.

Check them out after the suggested amount of time has passed, then decide if you’re comfortable with the look or not. The one redeeming virtue of the at-home manicure or pedicure—beyond the satisfaction of having done it yourself—is that takes just 15 or 20 minutes to do both hands (or feet) once you’ve become adept at it—a small price to pay when weighed against the $15 to $35 you would have paid for the same treatment at a good salon.

How To Do French Manicure

Step 1: Removing Old Polish

Remove existing polish with a moisturizing polish remover like Sally Hansen Pro Vitamin B5 Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover. To soften the old polish, apply a cotton ball or cotton pad lightly saturated with polish remover to the nail and hold it there for a few seconds. Then, wipe from the base of the nail outward until every trace of polish is gone. After you’ve done all ten nail plates, clean up any remnants of old polish that are still clinging to the cuticles and nail folds with a cotton ball lightly moistened (but not saturated) with polish remover. Since these are sensitive areas, you want to use as little polish remover on them as possible.

Step 2: Filing

Reshape the nails with an emery board, using the fine side of the board. Do not file back and forth in a sawing motion. Instead, always file in one direction, exerting gentle, even pressure. Angle the board against the bottom edge of the nail, and work from one side (far left or far right) to the other. This helps prevent splitting.

When all ten nails have been filed to your satisfaction, soak your fingertips in warm water for 10 minutes or so. This will not only re hydrate your nails and thus counteract the drying effects of polish remover, but also soften your cuticles in preparation for Step 3.

A Few Tips to File Away ...

Overall, filing beats clipping hands down as a method for trimming and shaping the fingernails, because it’s less stressful to the nail plate. Improper filing, however, can lead to both nail trauma and displeasing aesthetic results. Translation: You could crack or break your nails, and they could wind up looking positively horrid!

To file correctly, hold your emery board at a 45-degree angle to the nail’s edge and, as we’ve noted, work in a single direction from one edge to the other. Square-tipped nails are stronger than tapered ones, so file straight across the tips if your nails are at all prone to peeling or splitting. For the same reason, be careful not to over-round the nails near the edges, and never file downward at the sides. Lastly, don’t get near your nails with a file unless they’ve grown out enough o maintain a good, solid base at the bottom.

How To Video

Watch and learn more with this featured video below:
How to File and Shape the Nails for French Manicure ~ Learn how to file and shape the nails for French manicure.

Step 3: Cuticle Care

Our best medical advice is that you leave your cuticles alone. But since so few people actually follow this guidance, we feel obligated to tell how to care for them as gently and safely as possible. Here’s how: Soften the cuticles with warm-water soaking, a rich moisturizer, or cuticle oil, according to your preference.

Once the cuticles have been softened, gently push them from view with the tip of a finger (not the edge of a nail!) or an orange stick. If you have any hangnails, clip them at this point with a small pair of manicure scissors, following the guidelines below. Next, buff your nails thoroughly, and clean under the nail tips with an orange stick wrapped in wet cotton.

HOW TO VIDEO

Watch and learn with this featured video below:
How to Remove Cuticles for French Manicure ~ Learn how to remove cuticles for French manicure.

Step 4: Applying Base Coat

Place one hand—palm down, fingers outspread—flat on the table. With the other hand, apply the base coat of your choosing. A well-applied base will not only make your polish stick better, but also allow it to coat more evenly and smoothly by filling in any surface irregularities. Two thin layers of base coat, incidentally, work better than one heavier layer.

If you experience problems with splitting, cracking, or peeling of the nails, you may also want to apply a nail hardener or strengthener as your second coat. Your strengthener can be used to coat the entire nail, or applied solely to the nail tips, where these problems typically occur.

Tru Nails Professional and Sally Hansen both sell very effective, salon-quality strengtheners that can be found at better beauty supply stores.

 

How To French Manicure

Brushing Up on the Basics of Applying Base and Color
How To French Manicure

Allow one coat to dry completely before you apply the next one

Always brush from the base of the nail to the tip, using just enough polish to cover without build-up, and working from the center of the nail to the sides

Cover the entire nail with a thin, even coat

Avoid brushing base or color into the nail folds and cuticles as much as possible

To prevent chipping, remove just a hairline of polish from the edge of the treated nail by running your opposite thumb along it

A warm shower or foot soaking is the easiest, safest way to clean up polish that has strayed outside the fingernails or toenails. The moisture and heat will peel the excess polish right off

 

How To French Manicure

Applying Color
How To French Manicure

If you choose to color your nails, apply two coats of polish to achieve deep, full, chip-resistant color. Again, as with your base, you’ll be better served if you don’t just glob the stuff on. Thickly coated color likes to chip and crack.

Think think—and think even!
Work from the base of the nail to the tip, center to sides, and be careful to avoid brushing polish into the nail folds or cuticle. This can make your nails look ragged around the edges, and can be a real pain to repair unless you start over from square one. Plus, it’s always best to keep both polish and remover away from these easily irritated areas.

So Many Coats, So Little Time...

If you apply base, color, and sealing coats according to our guidelines, you’ll wind up with four to five sheer layers of polish on your nails, each of which takes several minutes to dry thoroughly.

Though it may be tempting to save yourself some time by applying just two coats (say, one each of base and color), we can assure you that the resulting manicure will not be as attractive or as durable as it could be.

More layers, as long as they are properly applied, mean stronger nails, a longer-lasting manicure, and better retention of necessary moisture, which is why almost all nail salons favor a multi layer treatment.

Since it doesn’t pay to cut down on the number of coats you apply, the key is to minimize the time you spend waiting for each separate coat to dry.

There are two very painless ways to go about this:
One, soak your just-brushed nails in ice water to help the recently applied polish set more quickly. While you won’t be able to use your hands as if the polish were completely air dried, your nails will be ready to accept the next coat in fairly short order.

Second, choose one of the many quick-setting, quick-drying polishes now on the market.

 

How To French Manicure

The Sealing Coat
How To French Manicure

Application of a sealing coat is the final step in your at-home manicure. Once your color (or clear) coat has dried, brush on sealer from the base of the nail to the tip. Carry the sealer all the way to the tip’s edge and then over, so that a little coats the underside of the nail as well. A well-formulated sealer will not only protect the finish of your color coat but also enhance its glossiness.

 

How To French Manicure

Choosing Your Nail Color
How To French Manicure

One of the more enjoyable aspects of applying color is, of course, selecting the shade you want to wear. We won’t pretend to tell you what color your nails should be under all circumstances. So much, in the end, depends on your skin and hair coloring, the other makeup you’re wearing, your clothes, the season, the occasion, and the overall effect you’re trying to achieve.

But we will say this much: Allow yourself to have some fun! You could wear a different color every day of the coming year, and not scratch the surface of what’s available these days. Metallics, glitters, offbeat pastels, and hues too weird for words now share the stage with the corals and clears and roses and rubies that used to dominate department store displays.

So, even though it’s wise to have a few basic shades that will take you anywhere, anytime (as we advise below), don’t let yourself get stuck in a one- color rut. Experiment. Be creative. Take a dare. You’ll have a blast in the process, and possibly discover that colors you hardly considered before are actually just your style. You never can tell: The polish you try on a whim today could be the inspiration for the blouse or scarf you’ll be wearing tomorrow!

If you’re in the mood to stir things up color wise, check out Mini Pots of Color by Creative Nails. They’re fun, funky, and fairly reasonably priced for a six-pot pack of multihued mischief

The downside of using nail color creatively is that mistakes can and will be made every now and again. The most common: nail polish that clashes with either your lipstick or your clothes. For those times when you can’t afford a mishap or simply don’t wish to think too hard about what color to use, we recommend choosing two or three shades that blend well with the bulk of your wardrobe, or sticking to a pale pink that you can wear with everything but orange tones.

Among the pinks, Revlon Ballet Buff, Essie Ballet Slippers, and OPI Coney Island (an especially clear, non-Tinkerbell shade) are all as classical as Mozart, while YSL #98, a pale opalescent lavender, takes racy right to the edge (but within the bounds) of good taste. For darker complected women, Cover Girl NailSlicks In The Buff and Elizabeth Arden Choco are two unassuming, yet flattering, shades that rarely disappoint.

 

How To French Manicure

A note on Hangnails
How To French Manicure

A hangnail is a small strip of skin that has become separated from the nail fold or cuticle. Hangnails can be surprisingly painful, and are typically caused by nail biting, nail chewing, accidental ripping of the skin, or incorrect use of nail implements such as orange sticks or cuticle pushers.

To treat a hangnail, snip away the detached skin flap with manicure scissors, and promptly apply a topical antibiotic such as polysporin and bacitracin to prevent infection. When you snip, be extremely careful to avoid cutting the cuticle or nail fold, as doing so will not only cause the cuticle to grow back thicker and coarser, but also greatly increase your risk of infection.

If you accidentally cut yourself while treating a hangnail or manipulating your cuticles, keep a very close eye on the injury. If it shows any sign of infection or doesn’t heal fully and cleanly within a day or two, see your dermatologist for help.

 

How To French Manicure

At Home French Pedicure
How To French Manicure

The steps we have described for your at-home manicure is nearly in every important respect, the essentials of performing a do-it-yourself pedicure. The lone exception is that toe-nails, owing to their thickness, should be clipped rather then filed when they exceed an acceptable length.

Proper clipping of the toenails is a must not only for practical and aesthetic reasons, but also because it helps prevent the occurrence of ingrown nails, a common but painful condition that, if left unchecked, can require surgical treatment.

 

How To French Manicure

 

How To French Manicure

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