Warm weather is here, the mittens and boots have been put away, and it’s time for your nails and toes to come out to play. Getting your nails summer-ready doesn’t have to cost a fortune, though; you can give yourself a salon-quality mani-pedi at home in four easy steps. Keep reading!
A good mani-pedi starts with a clean slate. First, remove all your old polish with a cotton ball or pad soaked in acetone. After you remove any existing polish, shape your nails with an emery board. A tip I’ve learned from nail pros I follow on Instagram (yes, I’m that into nails): file your nails in one direction. Filing back and forth weakens the nails and can lead to breakage. Who knew, right?
Now that your nails are clean and shaped, it’s time to exfoliate. Exfoliation is key to get those smooth, picture-perfect fingers and toes. Grab your favorite sugar scrub – they’re perfect for hands and feet. Next, while your feet are still wet, use a pumice stone on any areas that are still rough. If the long winter was hard on your feet and they need something a little stronger, try a foot peel. I used this one a couple months ago and, let me tell you, it worked! There’s something oddly, disgustingly satisfying about seeing all that dead skin peel off. After you exfoliate, follow up with your favorite thick lotion to lock in the softness.
Now for the step you’ve been waiting for – the polish! Before you start polishing, make sure you do a quick swipe over your nails with some acetone. This will remove the oils from the lotion you just applied and allow the polish to adhere better. Gather your supplies – you’ll need a base coat, a polish, and a top coat. My favorite base coat is CND Stickey, I love Essie and OPI polishes, and the best top coat I’ve found is Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Apply a thin layer of your base coat and let it set for about a minute. Next, apply two coats of your favorite polish (I love a bright red for summer), and finish with one layer of your top coat.
Don’t underestimate the necessity of dry time. Take full advantage. Oh, the dishwasher needs to be emptied? Sorry, my nails are drying! I know that laundry needs to be folded, but I can’t smudge my nails. You’ll have to take the trash out, my nails are still wet! For real, though, do your nails when you’ll be able to actually sit and let them dry; there’s nothing worse than taking the time to do your nails and then ruining them 20 minutes later. I do mine after our son is asleep and I’ve finished everything I need to do for the day. Your nails will seem dry within half an hour or so, but it can actually take hours for the polish to fully cure. I usually do my nails an hour or so before bedtime, and then keep them above the covers when I go to sleep so they don’t get wrinkles from the sheets.
So set aside a little time for some self-care and get those nails in shape!
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