How to give yourself a French manicure
French manicure is often considered the most elegant thing you can do with your fingernails, since it emphasis classy, but most of all natural look, and there is nothing so elegant as are beautiful nails. If you want to show off your nails, french manicure is a great way to do so. No matter, long or short nails, proper (french) manicure cannot let you down and it will certanly do the best of your nails.
Your nails don't have to be dragon-lady long in order to have sexy looking (but most of healthy nails). According to a study done at Dalhousie University in Halifax by Shelly McNeil, M.D., an infectious-disease specialist, nails longer than three centimeters are five times more likely to carry the pesky pathogens that cause staph and yeast infections than trimmed nails. Thus, if you have long nails, you need to be diligent about washing your hands, especially after contact with such germ-prone items as doorknobs, public toilets and gym equipment.
Before I continue, I would like to say French manicure is very similar to any other manicure, but there are some differences of course. It wouldn't be French otherwise, wouldn't it?
Any manicure starts with scrubbing your hands, filing your nails and caring for your cuticles.
First remove old nail polish. Do I even have to say that? Nail polish removers damage nails, I know. No matter acetone free or not, they will dry your them.. But to minimize the damage, use actone and alcohol free nail polish removers with built in moisturisers to help limit the damage.
Some professionals claim, that one should apply nail polish remover before doing nail even if one does not need to remove any old polish, because nail polish remover will prepare the nails by removing any grease so that polish, which is later applied, lasts longer.
Nevertheless, try not to remove and reapply polish more than once or maximum twice a week, as it will dry out your nails.
For (every) manicure you'll need:
nail polish remover
cutticle trimmer (optional)
For French manicure you'll need:
(all stated above)
clear nail polish
white polish for the tips and nail guide strips OR white nail pencil
pink nail polish
Exfoliate, rinse, dry
Next step is exoliation of your hands (and nails). I look at this as giving your own hands a good old massage. And they deserve it! Exfoliation will remove dead cells and all dirt from your skin: it will prepare your nails and hands for manicure.
If you don't have exfoliate scrub, peeling or anything similar, don't worry. you have salt or sugar, right? Or oatmeal? Anything, that contains little particles will work. For example, mix some salt (or anything else you want to use) with lotion or cream and use it to massage your hands.
Then be sure to rinse and dry your hands and nails well. When rinsing use warm water, because this way you'll prepare your cuticles for following manicure step. Hot water will soften your cuticles and it will be easier to trim them, but we'll get back to cuticles later. So, rinse hands and nails, and then dry them. All this might take up to 5 minutes. Be sure your hands are dry before you continue.
Back to cuticles. Remove them, if you have to, but it is not recommended because the chance of getting an infections is higher. For this reason, all you have to do with your cuticles, is gently push them down towards the nail root. Make sure your cuticles are soft, and if they aren't, soak them in warm water.
But to be honest, I do understand that we have to remove cuticles occasionally. For this purpuse special tool exists. Go to your local drugstore, and ask them to give you cutticle trimmer. Be very careful and gentle with this cutticle trimmer as you can easily hurt yourself.
Nail filing. First, what file is best to use? Use a diamond file instead of the cheaper metal ones. Diamond file is about a dollar more expensive, but it files much quicker and smoother.
Every file has 2 sides- coarse and fine. Coarse is for filing and shaping, while the fine side is for finishing.
How to file nails? File each nail from the corner to the center, which means that on each nail you'll use two directons- from left and right nail corners to one center. File in one direction only: when going from corner to center, and not from centre to corner, ok?
When filing you're actually shaping your nails. So, this is the time to decide what shape you want: oval or square. I prefer oval shape, that elongates towards the centre of nail, but follows the line of my fingertips.
Now, this is time when metal files come handy: they have sharper and thinner tip, so you can remove anything left behind nails from exfoliation or filing. I like to do that before I start applying nail polish coats: if going through all this trouble for my nails, why not do it properly? Again, be gentle and cereful not damage your nail from behind or do not try to reach places you can't reach.
Apply base coat
After filing your nails and tending to your cuticles by softening them and pushing them back away from the half-moons, paint your entire nail with the base coat color and let it dry. Base coat polishers usually come in a subtle, neutral color like pale peach, pink, or beige. The contrast comes with the white nail tips, which point up the hint of color in the base coat.
Base coat will protect your nails and will also help strenghten them. If your nails are very brittle, I recommend Dikla nail polisher. It will help strenghten and regenerate your nails. Another, also very good clear polish is L'Oreals Resist and Shine. The same nail polish you're using for base coat, you should also use for finalization. We'll get back to that later.
One more thing: if you have problems with coloring your skin near nails while polishing your nails, apply a little petroleum jelly on the skin of your fingers around the nail. The petroleum jelly keeps the polish from sticking to your skin, which creates neater look and makes it easier to clean after all.
Nail polish(es) and beautiful white nail tips
As said before, French manicure begins like any other manicure, but not all manicures are equal. To add some more variables to the mix, a manicure on natural nails is quite different than a manicure on acrylic nails, but in this article we'll deal only with natural nails.
To achieve the square look for your French manicure, paint a straight line across the tips of all of your fingernails. If you prefer a rounded look, follow the curve of your nail. If you want a pointed look paint each side of your nail to the center.
You may find sticky 'guides' to help you get a straight line when polishing- place them across the tips of your nails and then use white polish. Apply the strip guide to the area where your actual finger ends. The white tip of your nail shouldn't comprise more than 20% of the overall fingernail when you're done. Once the guides are in place, you can brush white polish onto your fingernails. This is a time for especial care, so that you stay with the guides and get no white polish on the lower part of the nail. Don't remove the guides until the white polish is completely dry, or you'll ruin the tips. Let the polish dry, and then remove the guides. If they leave any sticky residue behind, use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to take it off, but don't use nail polish remover, becuase you'll ruin your whole manicure.
Another option for those beautiful white nail tips is white nail pencil. It looks very much like eye liner, except it is nail liner actually. It is not applied on nails. Instead, slide it under the edge of your nail to white the tip. Using white nail pencil is much easier, especially if comparing sticky guides. The drawback is nail pencil effect does not last as long as white polish, but luckily it is very easy and quick to touch up. If you plan to use pencil, use it at the end of the manicure, when last nail polish coat is dry.
The final step in French manicure is applying (transculent) pink polish over your entire nail (also over the white of nail tips), because this will seal the polished white tip and will finish the look. Let this coat dry.
Some people end with this step, but some apply one more protective coat. If applying another coat of nail polish, use the same polish as you did for base coat: it is best if nail polish is clear.
Remember itís much better to apply lots of thin coats of colour rather that one thick one, it will dry quicker and last longer.
Thatís it. You are ready to go. Enjoy your new French manicure.
French manicure is best performed on a lazy morning or evening when no other pressing errands or tasks will get in the way. After painting your nails, avoid doing things with your hands while they dry.
And one more thing...
Basic styles in neutral and mild tones work very well for first impressions. Save the black and silver for future engagements, but be creative and modify your white and pink French manicure: for example, instead of white and pink combination, use other other colors, like black and orange for Halloween or red and green for Christmas. Just remember to have fun!
Nutrition and Healthy Nails
Do you have problems with your nails? Here you might find some answers...
White bands across the nails are caused by protein deficency.
White spots on nails can develop because of zinc insufficiency.
If your nails are dry and brittle, you might be lacking vitamin A and/or calcium
If you have problems with hangnails, you might be lacking protein, folic acid and/or vitamin A
A lack of sufficient hydrochloric acid can cause splitting nails.
excessive dryness, curved and rounded ends, and darkening of the nails can be caused by insufficient intake of vitamin B12.
Cuts and cracks in the nails may indicate a need for more liquids.
Red skin around your cuticles can be caused by poor metabolism of essential fatty acids.