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Basics for a Perfect Manicure

Beautiful hands not only make you look attractive, they are also the mark of a well groomed person. A manicure well done with the right tools and implements by an experienced nail tech will keep your hands and nails well moisturized and in good health.

As a nail tech it is essential you maintain the right supplies like implements, creams, soaking and dapper dishes, plenty of clean linen, gloves to do your clients manicure in the right manner.

Some essential tools and supplies that a good manicure will require are:

· Cuticle pusher/orangewood stick – to push back the translucent skin on the cuticle area.

· Nail clippers – for trimming the nails to the desired length

· Nail file or emery board – with a minimum grit of at least 240 for filing

· 3 way buffer – for buff, shine and finishing your manicure. Especially for nails which are uneven the white, black and grey of the buffer are perfect to get the shine back on your nails.

· Soaking dish – to soak your client’s fingers in between the manicure process.

· Cuticle oil, moisturizers, exfoliators – for softening and smoothing the nails and hands during the manicure.

· Aromatherapy oils – for massaging on the hands and relaxing the client during the manicure.

· Top coat dryers – used to dry the top coat or enamel faster than just air drying naturally. This prevents the polish from damage and setting evenly on the nail.

· Paraffin wax machine - this is used on very dry and dull hands to hydrate and moisturize them. It can also be used if the client wishes to simply indulge themselves in something extra special.

· Nail polish, nail bleach – base coat, enamel and top coat and the nail bleach composed of hydrogen peroxide to remove stains from over and under the nail plate.

· Clean towels, neat work table – all add to the beginning of a good manicure.

The manicure process itself is simple if you follow these basic steps below:

1. Begin by clearly asking the client what they need and the look they hope to achieve. This will keep you focused during the manicure process on the end result.

2. Inspect the client’s nails thoroughly before the process and point out any flaws that you may notice with suggestions on how you will fix them.

3. You can now begin the manicure by firstly removing any enamel that may be present on the nails. Use a cotton pad dipped in remover and work from bottom to free edge. Change cotton pad often if the enamel is tough to come off especially for dark colors.

4. File the nail to its desired length with a 240 grit file. Begin from the outer corner to the centre of the nail. Don’t see saw the file in a haphazard manner. This will weaken the nails and result in poor filing results. Also follow the thumb rule of filing the free edge in the same shape as your cuticle. For example a square cuticle should have a square free edge.

5. Next use a 3 way buffer to perfectly finish the look of the nails. Clear out any uneven surfaces, ridges for a shiny smooth finish. The black of the buffer is used for shine, the gray for finishing and the white for the semi shine. So your order should be black, white and gray.

6. Now it is time to soak the nails in the nail cleaning solution. Apply some cuticle oil, lubricant before soaking. This will soften the cuticles and will easily allow you to push the excess cuticle away. You can use hot oil if your client has very dry nails.

7. The nails are now soft enough for treatment. Push back excess cuticle on the nail plate taking care not to disturb the seal between the proximal fold and the nail plate. Do not use excessive force.

8. Use a cuticle clipper to remove excess skin which did not come off with the cuticle pusher. Be careful taking care only to cut away the dead skin. Also use the orangewood stick to clean below the nails.

9. Your nails are now ready for enhancement treatments. But should you wish to exfoliate the hands and nails, apply exfoliating cream and gently massage on hands. Wipe off with a clean towel. Follow with the application of a moisturizer or a paraffin wax treatment for very dry hands.

10. The paraffin wax treatment is basically used for deeper penetration of oils into very dry hands making them softer and smoother. These waxes come infused with essential and relaxing aroma oils. Fruit waxes are also popular. The hand is dipped in paraffin wax not heated above 35 degrees. It is then allowed to dry and then dipped 2-3 times more each time allowing the wax to dry in between. The hands are then sealed in a plastic bag or gloves. On cooling, the wax is removed and discarded.

11. Thoroughly wipe off any lotion which maybe present on the nails before you begin the application of polish.

12. Begin with the base coat. This is important as the base coat has bonding materials which adhere to the nails and strengthen them. The enamel coat is next. It can be transparent or the color of your choice. Apply very thin coats and allow drying in between 2-3 coats, depending on the intensity of the color you seek. Begin by applying from the centre of the nail plate towards the free edge. Do the sides next. Improper application may result in air bubbles, cracking and peeling of the polish.

13. Finish the manicure with the application of the top coat. Use a dryer to dry the paint and get even results.

This process should adequately complete your manicure and give your client’s hands and nails a brilliant clean look