While getting a mani-pedi at the spa is a luxury most of us would love to experience at least weekly, many of us don’t have the time or resources. Even if you can’t go to the spa every week, there’s no reason to have broken or boring nails. WIth a bit of time and know-how, you can give yourself a professional-looking mani-pedi at home that can tide you over until you get to the spa.
1| Care for Your Hands
One of the most important things you can do when giving yourself a manicure is to take the time to really give your hands a luxurious treatment. For many people, that’s the difference between a professional manicure in a salon and manicure that really looks like you did it yourself.
To do the job right, start by using a rejuvenating hand soak. You can make up your own mixture with ingredients like rose essential oil and distilled water. You can also opt to buy a ready-to-mix hand soak. Soaks work to soften the skin, especially around the fingernails, which can become ragged and dry over time.
After allowing your hands to rest for a few minutes before patting them dry, you can use a softening and nourishing hand cream that will keep your hands moisturised, healthy and ready for the next step.
2| Choose the Right Nail Shape
When giving yourself a manicure, it’s important to remember that the most flattering nail shape isn’t an oval or a square one, but a shape that’s really somewhere between the two. The simplest way to get this look is to simply file your nails to about the same shape as your nail base.
This shape should also be relatively easy to maintain once you get it right, so make sure you take the necessary time the first time you do it.
3| Use Nail Polish Remover
Even if you don’t have polish on your fingernails before the manicure, you’re still going to want to use nail polish remover before you apply a coat of new polish. Nail polish remover can work to strip oils and soap residue that can make your nail polish chip look uneven quickly. Also make sure to use a rich and nourishing hand treatment to keep your hands soft and moisturised.
Make sure you let your nails dry fully after using nail polish remover before applying the first coat of polish.
1| Treat Your Feet Right
Just like with a manicure, taking extra time to care for your feet before you begin is important. The first step is to use a pumice stone to scrape away any dead skin from the bottoms of your feet. You can do this in the shower or you can use a foot-basin scented with essential oils for a more lavish experience.
After using the pumice stone, apply a lotion designed specifically for your feet to keep them healthy and smooth. Many people also use cuticle cream around their toenails to help battle dry skin that can make even the best pedicure a bit sloppy.
2| Buff Your Nails
Toenails take a considerable amount of abuse, even though you probably don’t even realize it. To make some of the smudges and spots appear less obvious, use a buffing block on your nails after soaking them.
Start with the heavy-grit side before finishing with the “softer” side – just like with a nail file.
3| Toenail Shape Matters
While you may not think the shape of your toenails matters as much as your fingernail shape, it might actually matter a little more, especially if you exercise regularly. When filing or trimming toenails, it’s best to leave the corners of toenails squared to prevent fungal infections and ingrown nails. The shape doesn’t have to be obvious – just don’t completely round off the edges of the nail.
By following these basic tips, you should be able to give yourself a salon-worthy manicure and pedicure in less than an hour. Treating yourself well is also a great activity after work to distress a bit.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance health and beauty writer from Los Angeles whose writing covers the benefits of massage, aromatherapy and yoga. As a busy mother of three, she doesn’t always have time for a professional spa experience, so she follows this routine to keep her nails in tip-top shape. Find more tips like these by following her on Pinterest.