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Nails Like a Pro

 

How to make this summer’s coming-out party for hands and feet a walk in the park.

 
Makeup by Ernie McCraw
 
Who doesn’t love to dash to the salon for a manicure and pedicure with girlfriends? But finding the time to schedule a manicure or pedicure can be tough with a busy schedule. That doesn’t mean that you have to deny yourself these therapeutic indulgences. Here are a few tips on how to pamper yourself at home.
 

Hands

Perfectly buffed and painted nails are always a treat. Jewelry even seems a bit more dazzling on a manicured hand. A home manicure can be a snap with a few professional products and some helpful tips.
Start with fresh, clean nails. After removing any old nail polish, soak hands in warm soapy water for about five minutes. If a dark polish has left nails slightly discolored or yellowed, try an effervescent nail cleaner that works on natural or artificial nails to return them to a healthy, bright white.
Prevent hangnail horrors by showing cuticles a little TLC. Apply a cuticle remover to soften cuticles and then gently push back with a birchwood stick snuggly wrapped in cotton or a cuticle pusher. Using a nail brush, gently scrub nails and remove any residue from the cuticle remover. Applying cuticle oil between manicures will also help cuticles stay in top shape.
The natural curve of the cuticle should determine the shape of the nail. If the cuticle is relatively straight, keep the tip fairly straight and round the corners slightly. If the cuticle is noticeably curved, the tip should also be curved. Start with a course file to contour the nail and then switch to a fine-grit file to finish the nail. Don’t file back and forth, but rather in one direction; using a back-and-forth motion can damage the nail, causing it to peel or break.
When your nails are clean and dry, it’s time for a basecoat, which will extend the life of a manicure (so don’t skip this important step). This clear coat will create a smooth base and will help prevent the polish from chipping. Most basecoats only require one coat and are relatively fast-drying.
Bright, vivid colors are great summer shades. Pinks, reds, and orange hues are hot this summer, so feel free to have some fun with these fresh colors. Most colors require two coats. To prevent unsightly clumps and streaks, let the first coat dry before starting the second. Once both coats are completely dry finish with a topcoat to help prevent chipping and extend the life of your manicure.

Feet

Summer is sandal season and time for toes to take center stage. Get feet ready for their beach debut in a matter of minutes with a quick and easy pedicure.
A soothing soak is the perfect way to relieve aching feet. There are numerous aromatherapy soaks that condition the skin and leave feet squeaky clean. A 5-to-10-minute soak is all it takes to really put the spring back in your step.
Take care of any dry or rough spots with a pumice stone or callus remover. Gently exfoliate and smooth, being careful not to damage the skin. A salt scrub or sloughing lotion in another gentle way to banish dry skin. Winter cold can leave feet cracked and craving moisture. Keep feet soft and restore lost moisture with a foot masque or deep-healing lotion. A treatment once a week before bed is sure to keep feet happy.
A basecoat and topcoat are essential on toenails. Since darker colors are often worn on the toes, the basecoat will also help prevent staining, and the topcoat will help prevent chipping.
Finally, give your pedicure a kick with a little embellishment. Rhinestones and nail decals are fun and easy ways to spice up your pedicure and give it a style all your own.
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 of beauty advice to newspapers and national fashion and beauty magazines.
 

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