It’s easy and relaxing to have your mani-pedicure done by a professional, so you can sit back and read the latest gossip magazines or just relax. But you can also do it yourself.
Beth Fricke, celebrity manicurist at OPI, Los Angeles
Your hands and feet are used all day, every day, and need to be loved and cared for like all other parts of the body. When your hands and feet look good, they contribute a part of your fabulous total look.
Note: A good manicurist can help you determine the overall health of your nails and can refer you to a doctor if there are any problems.
TOOLS OR EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR A MANICURE/PEDICURE
Nail clippers: to trim nails to an even length
Nail file: to smooth and shape the nails (nonmetal, 180 grit or higher)
Buffer: to smooth the tops of the nails (220 grit or higher)
Nail brush: to brush and exfoliate cuticles
Orangewood stick: to clean under the nails and correct polish errors
Foot file/pumice: to smooth and remove dead skin from calluses
Cuticle nippers: to trim hangnails and dead skin (use as little as possible)
Buffer: to shine the nails for the look of clear polish
PRODUCTS NEEDED FOR A MANICURE/PEDICURE
Oil: to moisturize/condition the cuticles and nails
Lotion: to moisturize hands and feet (especially after foot file/pumice/scrub use)
Polish remover: to remove polish and prep the nails for polishing
Base Coat: to prime the nail for polish and to prevent polish staining
Top Coat: to even out and seal in the polish
Soak your hands or feet in water (or do the mani-pedicure after a shower or bath); brush and massage your cuticles with a nail brush. Trim your nails to an even length with a nail clipper. (If you wear polish, try to visualize the nails with polish—the nail bed length can vary.) File your nails to the desired shape, following the line of your nails (between the pink and white) for a natural look. Clean under the nails with the orangewood stick. Make sure there are no hidden points and retrim any ruffles with your file. Buff the tops of the nails from the cuticle to the free edge with your buffer to make them smooth and create a better surface for polish or buffing. If you must use nippers, now is the time.
Remember to trim only skin that is standing up or hanging loose; the rest needs to be there to protect your nail and hold it on.
You may also use a wet foot file or pumice on damp feet—just on the rough spots! You are only removing dead skin, not the calluses, which need to be there to protect your feet from the weight of your body. You just want them to be smooth!
Once your feet are smooth, don’t forget to apply lotion (the replacement for the skin you just removed).
How often do nails need to be maintained?
The most natural and artificial nails should be attended to by a professional every couple of weeks. You may need to do some maintenance of your own once or twice a week, but it should just be touch-up filing, moisturizing, and possibly applying top coat.
How long should polish last?
We manicurists should be able to guarantee fingernails for a couple of days, toes for a few weeks, but if a mani-pedicure is done correctly, fingernails should last a week and toes six weeks.
The nails should be buffed with your soft buffer and wiped with acetone, getting into the sides and across the tips of the nail. Use a good base coat (such as Sticky by Creative Nail Design) two thin coats of fresh polish, and a good, solid top coat (such as Seche Vite). Bottles of nail polish can last for years as long as the bottle tops are cleaned off so no air can get in and they are stored in a cool, dry place.
Are there any diseases or restrictions related to nail care services?
Diabetes patients require more care, as they are more prone to infection. Ingrown nails require special care and cannot be cut into! Allergies I see are usually not from polish but from other things, such as allergies to fragrances or mold from improper nail prep before the application of extensions. I also see fungus resulting from too-intense cleaning products or, even worse, unclean tools or tubs.
What can I do about stinky feet?
Wash the ankles, the feet, and between the toes with a washcloth or shower scrunchie during every shower or bath.
I’m on vacation, and my nails look terrible. What can I do?
The quick fix is to file your nails as needed, apply another topcoat (don’t forget to seal in the tips), and smother the nails with cuticle oil. Oil fixes a lot and will make the nails look supple.
What is the difference between a French manicure and a regular manicure?
The only difference is the polish. A regular manicure should include either buff or single polish. In a French manicure, a white polish is applied to the tip and soft pink is laid over the top. If your manicurist can do it freehand, you have other color choices as well—for example, a red nail with a black tip or a white pearl nail with a navy tip.
What are the best nail polish color choices for fair/medium/dark skin tones?
All colors are open to everyone. Which color is chosen really depends on one’s personal style. Sometimes a person who normally wears light pinks wants to have electric blue nails, because she’s going to a party and will be wearing a denim dress and open-toed high heels. Nail color is like an accessory: go with your moods and styles.
Fair skin: Light pink/pastel sheer colors, true reds, and darker colors in mauves, burgundies, and purples work well.
Medium skin: Sheer pinks and corals, cool-tone deep reds, and browns work well.
Dark skin: Sheers with white or peach, jewel tones, bright fuchsia, and reds work extremely well. For a darker nail color, I usually go with ruby, wine, or brown.
What are some options for sporty/active people?
Keep your nails short. Extensions will just be broken during activity, further damaging the nails, so why bother? Many women are active these days, and short nails are the cool thing.
What are the options for extensions?
If you want really long ones, tips with acrylic overlays are the best. For just a little length, I love a good freehand acrylic (using a form). I know that power drills have gained popularity in the last few years, and most people use them now, but as far as I am concerned there is never a reason to use a power tool on your body or your nails. Drills are the reason acrylics now get a bad rap when they can actually be a healthy, beautiful thing if done correctly.
If you are looking for something less rigid, a good choice is a gel. For good support for your own nails and extensions with a tip, the gels can be really nice.
They’re like a thick polish that is cured under a light. They now even come in colors for a more durable polished look!
What about the nails one can buy at the grocery store or drugstore?
They can be used. They tend not to look natural, but if you can make them work, go, girl! The only thing is that artificial nails are a lot about the nail prep, and that can go wrong. One of my best clients had those nails—she had turned green underneath!
It’s so hard to paint ones own nails … any tricks?
Do not go all the way to the edge of the cuticle, especially at the base of the nail.
Bring the touch of the brush to the middle of the nail, and then spread it from there.
Use two thin coats of polish—it will dry much faster than one thick one—although sometimes I do use only one coat on the nails if it’s a sheer polish. Use your pinky
finger to balance your hand for more control. And keep your orangewood stick handy; if you wipe off a mistake as soon as you make it, you won’t have to go over it later with remover. And don’t forget to run the brush over the tip of the nail on the first coat of polish to help seal the polish and make it look nicer.
Why does one need a base or top coat?
A good base coat is thin and sticky. It acts as a primer for the polish, helping it adhere to the nail and preventing staining of the nails by darker polish. A good top coat will even out the polish and seal it in. The top coat needs to be thick and protective but fast-drying.