At Home Mani Routine
If you couldn’t tell from my weekly Mani Mondays, I am obsessed with nails and nail polish. But with that comes manicures and unless you want to shell out some cash to get them done at a salon, you’re gonna need to put some work in yourself. I actually enjoy the process of maintaining my nail hygiene and come Sunday night, I can’t wait to whip out my tools and go to work. I’ve stuck to this same routine for ten years now, so I thought it’d be a great idea to share with you the exact steps I take every week in taking care of my nails.
I can’t even believe I took a picture of this mess, but this is what my nails look like seven days after manicuring. It might not look like much at first glance, but I can definitely tell that the cuticles are overgrown and dry. My nails grow pretty quickly and might not look very long in the picture, but they do feel long. Especially when anything gets underneath them, which is why I do this routine at the beginning of every week.
First things first, we need to cut the nails. I use two different size nail clippers to make the process faster and to get the shape that I want. I love square nails, but I have to have a round shape because my natural nails snag on everything when they’re square. I use the bigger clippers to cut them to a shorter length and the smaller ones to trim the sides and create the round shape.
Feels better already! Now I move to the sink and soak my nails under warm water to soften the cuticles. If you want to take a bit more time and make it a little more relaxing, you can also soak them in warm soapy water or warm coconut oil in a bowl. Once the cuticles are softened enough, I take these cuticle clippers and trim up the dead skin around the sides of my nail beds. This part is the most tedious and boring, but also the most refreshing.
Just cutting the nails can make them a little sharp, so we need to smooth it out with a nail file. My favorite is Trim's 7 Way Nail Buffer. I use sides 1 and 4 to smooth out the edges of the nails and sides 3, 5, 6, and 7 to clean and buff the top of the nail beds to prepare them for smooth application of polish.
The last step in the manicure process is to take care of the cuticles at the top of the nail bed. I use ncLA’s So Rich cuticle oil, but coconut or olive oil that you probably already have at home will do the same thing. I rub it in really well and push the cuticles back with a typical cuticle pusher. This creates more surface area on the nail and makes them really look more manicured and well maintained.
You can leave it here if you want to go the natural route, but I always move on to polish. I don’t wash my hands so the oil can stay on the cuticles, making it much easier to remove any polish that might get on the skin during application. But we do need to get the oil off of the nails because that will prevent the polish from sticking. It might sound a little crazy at first, but it totally works. Use a cotton ball or q-tip to quickly swipe over the nails with nail polish remover. This completely strips the nails of any leftover oil and will help the nail polish last longer. Let’s look at a before and after of the manicuring process before moving on to painting.
For a base coat, my favorite is Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails Hardener. I mentioned it in my Blog Challenge Questions post and explained there how it really helps keep my nails strong and healthy while also making my polish last. It looks pink in the bottle, but comes out completely clear and dries really fast.
Right now, I’m working my way through using this INM Out the Door top coat. It does dry pretty quick to the touch, but if I accidentally hit something too hard the polish will still move around. I thought it’d be a better alternative to Seche Vite because I was tired of that one drying out so fast in the bottle. But unfortunately, the INM polish isn’t cutting it for me. It does help my polish last, but I’m disappointed in it not drying as fast and not leaving my nails shiny as long as Seche Vite does.
I do this same process and change to a new shade every week. With the color polish, I always do two coats but don’t really worry about it drying in between so much. I’ve tried it because I hear it recommended all the time, but I’ve never noticed a difference so I just keep going and save time.
For this week’s nail polish, I chose to go with one of my old favorites. I’ve mentioned many times how I think the Ulta brand has great, affordable, much underrated nail polishes and this particular one is in the shade Mint Condition. I know we’re technically getting towards the end of summer, but I’m holding on to the brights and pastels as long as I can!
What’s on your nails this week? Would you rather do your own nails or go to a salon? If you manicure them yourself, what are your best tips and tricks?
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