MASTERING THE FINER POINTS: From emory boards, nail buffers, and cuticle oil to nail top coat and Nail Art self-sticking jewels, a small investment and a bit of attention goes a long way when it comes to hand and foot care.
?Off with the overcoats, off with the gloves and boots... Spring is in the air and it’s time to put the mittens and scarves away for another year. Despite our best efforts to keep hands protected from the winter weather, the chilly season often wreaks havoc on the nails and cuticles of our hands and feet. Recover from the cold with a much-needed manicure and pedicure.
The seven steps of a manicure are timeless and foolproof. But for a new twist on an old favorite, the classic French manicure has taken on a new look. Instead of tipping the nail with white, try something fun like hot pink or purple. You can even dress it up a bit more with easy-to-apply nail art. Decorated nails give any look a bit of glamour. You can add a little bling to your tips in no time with easy-to-use, self-stick nail art jewels. These pre-arranged designs, composed of tiny crystals, can be placed over any polish in just seconds.
There’s nothing quite as pretty as a French pedicure, especially when it’s fresh from the salon. Unfortunately, once the weather turns warm and our feet are exposed to the elements, sand, chlorine, and running around in sandals causes the white tips to chip and the sheer color to yellow or fade. To help prevent discoloration and chipping, follow this 10-step regimen, making sure to apply a top coat to nails every other day.
1. REMOVE old polish with a lint-free nail pad and remover. Non-acetone nail remover is slower-acting than acetone, so if you are removing darker colors, acetone may work better. Be sure to follow label directions. Dark polishes can also leave your nails slightly yellow. Bubble White is a great way to remove stains. 2. FILE and shape nails with a fine-grit file: 180 – 240 grit. File from the sides inward. This will create a flatter, thicker, stronger edge that is less likely to split or peal. 3. BUFF away ridges in your nails using gentle strokes and a very soft buffer—240 grit or smoother. Plus buffing helps the polish adhere and smoothes the surface of the nail. But don’t overdo it or you will end up with very weak nails. 4. MASSAGE oil into cuticles, then gently push them back with a cuticle pusher. Do not cut your cuticles. You could end up with a small infection or hangnails. 5. PREP nails for polish by thoroughly removing the oil residue from the nails with polish remover. Base coat will also help polish adhere. Apply it evenly on all ten nails. Don’t get too close to the cuticle and be sure to cap the end of the nails with base coat. Let dry for two minutes. 6. PAINT nails using two coats of polish, removing any excess polish. Place the polish 2/3 of the way down the nail and press the polish towards the cuticle area. Then brush down the nail using soft strokes. Tip the free edge as you did with the base coat. Clean up around the nails with a cuticle stick or a polish corrector pen. 7. TOP polish with one or two coats of top coat and be sure to cap the edge, which helps protect the polish from chipping or wearing off. Apply additional topcoat every other night to protect the polish.
1. REMOVE old polish from toes with acetone polish remover. 2. SOAK feet in warm water using an effervescent whitening soak to remove yellow stains from toenails. 3. USE a foot file to smooth softened calluses. 4. APPLY cuticle remover. 5. TRIM toenails with a clipper while waiting for the cuticle remover to do its job, and shape nails with a fine- or medium-grit cushion file. 6. PUSH back the cuticle, using a birchwood stick wrapped in cotton, then clean the nail. 7. BUFF for a smooth finish with a soft buffer, then massage the feet with moisturizing lotion. 8. CLEAN the surface of the nails with acetone-moistened cotton. 9. WIND twisted cotton coils between toes to separate. Or, for a real spa experience, pick up pedicure slippers with toe separators built-in. 10. APPLY a base coat, two coats of polish, and finish with a protective top coat.
SPA TREATMENT AT HOME
Resort spa treatments are a great luxury to relax and unwind, but if your budget and schedule are limited, give yourself an at-home treatment instead. Here is a three-pronged approach with which you may want to pamper yourself before turning to the manicure and pedicure.
1. GIVE yourself a warm foot bath, using Heel To Toe Invigorating Foaming Foot Soak, which conditions and cleanses the feet while it refreshes them. Next, apply Gena Pedi Mask Moisturizing Mask or Heel To Toe Moisturizing Marine Foot Masque to cool and rejuvenate tired muscles while softening skin. For best results, wrap feet with plastic wrap or a towel and let the mask sit for five minutes before rinsing. 2. EXFOLIATE and polish the skin by massaging the feet with Heel to Toe Moisturizing Sea Salt Glow Scrub. The sea salts exfoliate rough skin while essential oils of spearmint and peppermint refresh and uplift the skin. Massaging the skin will also stimulate circulation. 3. ADMINISTER a warm, therapeutic paraffin treatment by using a product such as Jilbère de Paris Satin Smooth Paraffin Therapy Bath.
Ernie McCraw is director of beauty education for Sally Beauty Company, the world’s largest distributor of professional beauty products. A licensed cosmetologist for more than 30 years, he is a frequent contributor to fashion and beauty publications nationwide.
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