A little self-care manicure using some simple techniques will leave your hands and nails looking healthy and you feeling happy.
We use our hands all day, every day, so it’s no wonder they can get dry, that nails break and generally get into a state where I’ve heard many people say ‘Oh no don’t look at my hands they are dreadful!’ Follow some easy self-care manicure tips to keep you smiling at your hands.
A self-care manicure doesn’t have to cost the planet. Many cosmetics are vegan, cruelty-free and toxin-free now with a sustainable ethos that you can easily look good and feel good from the heart too.
Basic Steps to Happy Hands:
Keep them hydrated and avoid overexposure to toxic chemicals that might dry or sensitise your skin and nails. Wear gloves where you can when cleaning and gardening, and if you do get chemicals or dirty hands wash thoroughly and then use a hand cream or lotion straight away. Place a lotion pump next to your soap and this makes it easy not to forget and locks in moisture before they dry out.
Don’t bite! It tears the skin and nails risking the chance of infection. Carry a nail file in your bag, next to the bed, close to hand in the living room so you can smoothe off catching nails or accidental breaks. Trim cuticles too, don’t bite them off down the sides of the nails, risking paronychia- an infection around the nails in the cuticles.
Clean sterile tools with hot soapy water and alcohol spray if available and dry thoroughly, don’t let them rust. Then keep them in an airtight clean container until next use.
Night time routine. Use hand balm, lotion or cream, apply cuticle oil and gently massage in from palm outwards towards the fingertips until soaked in.
So that’s how to keep your hands and nails healthy, let’s make them look pampered with a toxin free, vegan and cruelty free polish from ZOYA.
Nails can be different from person to person, and this can dictate whether you can grow long nails, if they always break or split, or if polish and gel manicures last. You can have thick, thin, flexible, brittle, ridged, oily or dry nails. All normal, just different. You can use a base polish to fill ridges, support brittle nails or add shine.
To apply a Spa Finish, prepare the nails and follow the steps below.
Filing the nails:
- File while the nails are hard. Trying to file once softened makes a clean, filed shape a little more difficult, especially if your nails are flexible and soft anyway.
- The strongest shape is oval as corners are weak points that are more likely to break. File in one direction from the outer edge inwards towards the centre of the free edge.
- I recommend a fine file at 200-240grit for a smoother finish.
- Use the file to gently buff off dry skin around the finger tips while dry.
- Soak nails. This is to soften the skin around the nails called the cuticles ready for the next step. After a bath or shower is an opportune time as the cuticles will already be soft.
- Moisturise the cuticles and hands with an oil, lotion or balm and massage in.
- Push back the cuticles with a wooden orange stick. If you do this regularly you will find you don’t need to use a cuticle cutter.
- Trim any loose skin carefully with curved nail scissors or cuticle nippers. Be careful as it can be fiddly and you don’t want to cut too much.
The nail bed.
- If at this point you’d rather a natural finish, you can use a three stage buffer to create a lasting shine. Then add cuticle oil and you’re done!
- If you plan to apply polish, then the last step is to ‘squeak’ the nails. Use varnish remover on a cotton pad to wipe over the nail bed to remove excess oils so the polish lasts.
Now it’s time for a clear or colour application:
Step 1: Base
Important to protect the nail from staining and even the nail surface ready for colour.
Step 2: Colour x 2
The first coat is to create the outline around the cuticle without flooding. Don’t try to have a perfect coverage at this stage, focus solely on the edge with just enough polish leaving a 1-2mm gap from the cuticles. Too much polish and it will flood and then you’ll have to start over. The second coat is where you’re aiming for an even colour coverage. You shouldn’t need to even go right up to the edge. Again don’t use too much polish, aim for only three strokes. You’re better off applying three thin coats than 2 thick coats.
Step 3: Top Coat.
Give the colours a couple of minutes to dry then apply the top coat. Three strokes, not too much polish but enough not to drag the colour off.
Step 4: Dry.
I’d strongly recommend quick drying drops. Or wait 20 minutes at least, depending on how much polish you applied.
Step 5: Cuticle oil.
Dab a bit around the edge of the nails, avoid smudging the polish. Leave to soak in while the polish dries.