With changing times, has come a change in the way we do things. From ordering groceries online, to working from home, it’s fair to say we’ve done a pretty good job at adapting to a new lifestyle. Give yourself a pat on the back! While staying safe at home has been a blessing, the lockdown has not come without some major (and minor!) challenges. Being at home with yourself, for such long periods of time, urges you to want to feel a little…well, nicer-looking. It makes you notice little blips in your appearance. Yes, those raggedly-looking nails just won’t do!

Most of us, with our worn-out manicures and acrylics are desperately pining for the manicurist at our nail salons, or our daughter who would have gladly come over to help and shape our nails for us. However, what if the job is much easier than you think? Among the various skills you’ll pick up this quarantine, why not learn and master making your nails look prim, proper and pristine? Your nails and bank account will thank you for it! (And you can thank us later, too!)

Things to have on hand:

  1. Nail polish remover and cotton swabs
  2. Nail clippers
  3. Nail file/emery board and nail buffer
  4. Cuticle/callus remover
  5. Hand and nail moisturizer (or any lotion will do)
  6. Clear Base coat
  7. Nail polish
  8. Clear topcoat

Step 1: Remove remaining nail polish

Start with a nail polish remover to gently remove all the chipping nail polish you previously had on. Non-acetone nail polish removers are known to be gentler than acetone removers. Got acrylic nails? Scroll down to get the best tips on removing them safely at home.

Step 2: Trim and shape

Trim your nails using a nail clipper and then shape them using a nail file. You can file them into a slightly-rounded or square-rounded shape which is simplest to do, but nowadays you can get creative with other kinds of nail shapes including oval and coffin-shaped nails (if they’re long enough! Choose an emery board or crystal nail file rather than a metal or course nail file which can cause splintering. Use a buffer to gently buff the top of your nail to ensure a smooth surface to paint on. Don’t overdo it, though.

Step 3: Soak those nails!

Treat your nails to a relaxing bath in a bowl of warm water mixed with your favorite shampoo or cleanser. Make sure it’s not too hot, as this can damage your skin and nails. Avoid this by limiting soaking time to three minutes or less.

Step 4: Go for the callous/cuticle remover

Apply cuticle remover on the thickened skin around the nail when gently cutting it away. Don’t let the product sit there for more than a few minutes.

Step 5: Remove cuticle and calluses around the nail

With a cuticle pusher from a nail kit, you can gently push the cuticle back away from the nail, but not too far as this can be damaging to nail growth. Also make sure you do not pull, rip, force, lift or cut the cuticle in any way. It’s better to under-do this step, if anything since your cuticle protects your nail bed from all kinds of problems.

You can remove hangnails around the sides, but avoid cutting into the skin or your nail itself.

Step 6: Massage and moisturize

The next step (our favorite!) is to indulge your skin and nails in a little massage using a rich, moisturizing lotion or some hydrating oil to replenish them.

Step 7: Prep them for that polish!

Remove any oiliness or moisturizer using a cotton swab and nail polish remover, as the moisturizing agents will prevent your nail polish from sticking to the nail.

Step 8: Paint away!

Use a base coat if you have weak or brittle nails. This will also help prevent your nails from getting stained and chipped. Apply two layers of nail polish, letting the layers dry between the next. Seal it up using a top coat for that glossy finish!

For new nail painters: using a lighter shade of polish will help, as mistakes are less noticeable.

You can also clean up any mistakes using a cotton bud and some nail polish remover. Patiently wait for your nails to dry fully. Air-drying will do the trick! Avoid using heat from a blow dryer, as this causes chipping.

Step 9: Moisturize just once more!

Keep your manicure and hands looking healthy by reapplying moisturizer once more, or whenever you want to!

Practice makes perfect so be sure to repeat these steps whenever your nails need a little pick-me-up! You’ll get better and better, once you get the hang of it. Not to mention how much money and time you’ll be saving by skipping the nail salon in the future!

Acrylic Nail Removal

Follow these tips to remove acrylic nails and go back to natural nails with the least damage:

    1. File off the acrylic nail

You’ll need a course nail file (look for a 100-grit one), to file off as much of the acrylic nail as possible. Whereas the usual way of filing your nail would be along the top edges, in this case, you need to thin out the entire area of the acrylic nail. That’s why a simple emery board wouldn’t work.

Make sure you do not accidentally cut any skin around the edges of your nail! Soften your nail file first by running another file around them.

    2. Soak the rest off!

When you’re sure you’ve filed enough of the acrylic nail down as possible, soak the rest off in 100% acetone until the rest of it is dissolved. The safest way to do this is to wrap each fingertip in foil with an acetone-soaked piece of cotton. The other method of dipping your fingers in a bowl of acetone is simpler, but much harsher on your skin. Also, when using acetone, make sure to do it in a well-ventilated area!

    3. Remove and Repeat

While soaking your nails in acetone, you should use an orange stick or cuticle pusher to scrape the softened product every twenty minutes, and keep repeating the process until all of it has come off. You might be left with a few bits of stubborn acrylics that just won’t come off, but don’t be too harsh with it. Just use a soft foam buffer to gently buff them away.

If you do these steps patiently enough, you can get away with the process damage-free. Regardless, keep in mind that your natural nails may be somewhat compromised depending on how the technician applied them to begin with.