How to get (and keep!) the mani of your dreams
The Shape of Things to Stun
Keep your nails short and sweet. They’ll not only look more modern, they’ll also be easier to maintain. Just a shade past your fingertip will do. A shorter length is less likely to chip and so much easier to manage come gift-wrapping season. Wide nail beds look elegant with oval-shaped nails to lengthen fingers. Narrow nail beds look nice with a squoval (squarish oval) shape. Shape your nails with a fine grit emery board (higher number) and file in one direction so you don’t weaken your nails.
Cared-for cuticles give the proper polish to your mani. Don’t cut your cuticles. Gently push them back with an orangewood stick to elongate your nail bed. Use a cuticle softener to soften before pushing back. You never want to push back dry cuticles. Skip the water soak, which just weakens nails. Just like your hands need moisture, so do your cuticles. Nightly cuticle oil before bed helps keep nails from splitting.
A smooth surface is crucial to maintaining a chip-free finish. Lightly buff the surface of your nails, then clean them to remove any dirt or oils that could affect your perfect polish.
All About the Base
Your base coat is the first layer and the one that will not only give your color the perfect canvas for application, it also helps your polish adhere (and last) better. When applying your base, color and topcoat, be sure to paint the free edge (the top, filed edge of the nail).
For best results, do only two coats of color. Thicker coats may seem better, but they just allow more air to get in the polish and can also show streaks. Fix your nicks in the nick of time with a touch of cuticle oil to smooth the spot, then a thin new layer of polish.
Finish your mani with a flourish and seal that beautiful color with a top coat. Don’t forget the free edge. For the best maintenance swipe a layer of topcoat on your nails every couple of days. Strong, thick nails are naturally more resistant to chips.
Hands Down Important
No matter how nice your nails look, if your hands look dry and damaged, it will detract from your polished mani. We are loving Alessandro’s Hand Spa Magic Manicure Complete. This luxury, anti-aging manicure treatment transforms hands in just 60 seconds by exfoliating and drenching hands in velvety soft, youthful moisture. Seal in the moisture with the skin-plumping benefit of Hyaluronic Acid in Alessandro’s Hand Spa Cream Rich.
Going to the salon for a mani/pedi is such a welcome holiday treat. Keep it sanitary by bringing your own nail tools or make sure the salon uses a sanitizing autoclave. Using your own polish is also a wise move. Salons often add thinner to their bottles to extend the life of old polish. The salon’s ultraviolet lights may cut dry time, but they also cause nails to chip sooner, too. In fact, any heat will affect the cure on your mani, so try to avoid any heat for at least 12 hours until your polish is really set, including hot showers, hand washings and even blowing on your nails (yes, your breath is kind of hot).
Protecting your mani
Now that you have that beautiful, well-applied mani, there are little tricks to make it last. Wear gloves any time you do chores or go outside. This will also protect your hands from frosty, moisture-sapping days. Be sure to avoid hand sanitizer, which has color-dulling and mani-blasting alcohol… and, of course, it’s not so great for your hands either.