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Manicure Procedure and Products

January 24, 2013

I was recently asked what my favorite products are for doing manicures. I use a variety of different things depending on mood, the client or what I currently have in my hands. The protocol is always the same, with the hope to achieve one or two main goals: Healthy looking nails and polish that will last. I don’t do any of the soaking of the nails in a nail dish; I find that it interferes with polish adhesion. In any case, this is the general run down of what I do and the products that I prefer to use.

We’ll start with tools before I go into products. I always keep multiples of all my favorites. I also buy Birchwood sticks in bulk. I like the smaller 6 inch long sticks that are pointed on one end and have a flat edge on the other. They make a good tool to help clean up polish mistakes and to even gently push back cuticles if needed. I use the Backscratchers disposable file system. They are one of my favorite things. My clients love them because they always know that the files are brand new and being used on them for the first time. For those of you not familiar with them, the file base is a smooth purple sanitizable plastic handle that the file grits adhere to. There are a variety of grits, but I prefer 100, 240 and 600. I have a couple of different cuticle pushers that I like to use based on the clients’ needs, including rubber tipped ones. I use smaller sized nippers and I keep on hand several nail brushes for my clients to use to clean their nails with.

First thing I do, after having the client wash their hands, is remove old polish. I use pure acetone as my polish remover. Sometimes I add a bit of lavender essential oil to my acetone, but for the most part, I use it just as it is. I then file the nails and put on a gel based cuticle remover. My favorite professional remover is CND Cuticle Away. It is an amazing product and it does a beautiful job. I then gently push back the cuticle and nip away what I need to, being sure to never cut or nip live skin. At this point I would then do a hand scrub if needed or depending on what type of manicure I am doing. I like scrubs that are sugar based for the hands. I use OPI brand or CND and the scent varies based on my mood, client preference or the holiday season. I then have the client wash their hands and use a nail brush to scrub away any other debris.

This is the perfect time to either do a paraffin wax dip or a hand mask. I always remove a mask with warm, steamed towels. After which I go into a hand and arm massage. I again use OPI or CND brand massage creams for the hands. I am currently hooked on citrus scents, but I have been known to use lavender or white tea or even minty scents. I like things that are clean as opposed to floral scents.

After the massage, I remove any residue on the nails with either a 99% rubbing alcohol or acetone soaked cotton pad. This is the fun part. My favorite base coat to use on my clients is CND’s Sticky. It’s amazing. Nothing performs like it does for longevity. Next comes two coats of nail polish. I use OPI and China Glaze at work, but I will use almost anything my clients bring in with them. If I am going to add glitter, rhinestones or free hand any nail art, this would be that time. Everything gets topped with some sort of top coat. Currently I am using OPI’s Top Coat. I have also been known to use CND’s Shiny, which is my preference. I find that the OPI Top Coat gets thick and goopy. That’s not good for anything. I also will use China Glaze Fast Forward. Some people don’t like it but I think it gives great shine and it does dry really fast. It is what I use the most on myself. I get great wear out if every time.

To speed drying time I occasionally use polish drying drops or a canned spray nail polish dryer. Thin polish coats help also, glopping on polish doesn’t do you any good and it can’t dry properly. To finish I use CND Solar Oil on the cuticles. I try to encourage my clients to do this everyday at home to help with strengthening the nails, keeping the nail bed healthy and to prevent dryness. It makes a huge difference and takes such minimal time out of your day, there should be no excuses!

That’s my basic protocol and the products I use the most. A lot of what I use is professional only, but it;s helpful to know what to look for when you go out into the world to get your nails done. There’s no reason to not get the best product out there used on you.

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From → Beauty, My work

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