As with any beauty treatment, you want to start with a clean, fresh base. If you have any polish on, take it off with a few cotton balls and some nail polish remover. Make sure you get all the way into the edges of your nails so you don't come across a leftover spot of hot red later in the process. Once your nail polish has been removed, wash your hands with soap and warm water. This will remove any dirt or oils that might interfere with the rest of the manicure. You can also take this opportunity to exfoliate your hands and remove any dry skin by using an exfoliating scrub.
When it comes to trimming your nails, it is all about finding a look you are comfortable with. Many people strive for long nails, as it gives hands a lengthened appearance. If you let your nails grow too long, however, they could become brittle and snap unexpectedly. To keep your nails strong and healthy, file them to a length you'll find easy to maintain for at least once a week. A rounded shape is usually a more natural look, but if you really prefer a square shape, then go with that. Just round off the corners slightly so the nails don't look too severe.
A key element to making your hands look gorgeous but still natural is in cuticle care. If your cuticles get too long, they impede polish and make your nails look stunted. Begin by softening your cuticles in a bowl of warm water. When the skin becomes pliable, gently push back your cuticles with a cuticle stick. Do this slowly and gently — the process shouldn't hurt. Push them so that you still have about a millimetre of cuticle left to protect your nail bed.
The surfaces of our nails are often covered with bumps and ridges. To achieve a smooth surface on which to paint, rub a nail buffer back and forth on each nail. Do not buff too hard, as this will thin your nails and lead to breakage. Only buff enough to remove uneven surfaces, then let them be.
Pick a neutral colour you know will be appropriate for everything from an interview, to a business meeting, to a night on the town. Pale peaches, light pinks and subtle beiges are great choices. Or if you want to play it totally safe, go with a clear top coat. This latter route can make your manicure last well over a week, since you don't have to worry about any chipping being visible.
Nothing ruins the look of an otherwise perfect manicure quite like chapped skin. Make your hands look glorious from wrist to tip with a strong moisturizer once your nails have dried, and keep them looking their best all day long by carrying a small bottle of hand cream with you wherever you go. This way you're sure to be able to shake hands with confidence!
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