Mani Madness

Nothing beckons in spring like soft hands and pretty fingers. Here’s the quick rap on an easy home spa manicure. Before you start, gather all your tools, a few clean hand towels and something nourishing to sip while you work.

1. Clean and Shape

  • Remove old lacquer with non-acetone polish remover.
  • Clip only the tips of nails longer than 1/8 inch.
  • File nails into a slightly squared oval shape.

TIPS: Tilt emery board slightly under nail and stroke in one direction. Resist the urge to saw your nails.
TOOLS: Nail Clipper with Catcher from Earth Therapeutics, $4; The Stripper To Go lavender polish remover finger mitts from the Lippmann Collection, $8 (available at Bath & Body Works stores); Sally Hansen La Cross Crystal Nail File, $8 (available at Walgreen’s and other drugstores).

2. Soften and Smooth

  • Use nail buffer to gently smooth ridges.
  • Rub cuticle oil onto cuticles.
  • Soak hands for 2 to 3 minutes in warm water with a splash of olive oil or milk or try Got Buttermilk Hand Soak.
  • Gently push back cuticles with an orange stick.
  • Exfoliate hands with a gentle body scrub or make your own Hands Down Sugar Rub.
  • Rinse and slather hands, arms and elbows with lotion.

TIPS: Don’t overbuff, no soaking in a soapy solution (Madge was wrong) and no cutting cuticle.
TOOLS: Cuticle Oil Treatment from the Lippmann Collection, $18; Hand Remedy Protective Conditioner from Earth Therapeutics, $8.

3. Polish and Practice Patience

  • Swipe nail beds with remover again.
  • Apply base coat, two coats of color and top coat.

TIPS: Allow each coat to dry at least 2 minutes, keep coats thin by using three strokes: one down middle, one down each side.
TOOLS: Rehydrating Base Coat and On a Clear Day Top Coat from the Lippmann Collection, $16 each; Fancy Free Nail Lacquer from SpaRitual, $9 (available at Fred Segal Beauty and other salons and spas).

4. Protect and Prolong

  • Use gloves to protect hands when washing dishes are cleaning.
  • Use a daily moisturizer and cuticle cream or oil.
  • At night, slather on a rich hand cream.

TIPS: Reapply top coat every other day to help prevent chipping.
TOOLS: Rich Girl SPF 25 anti-aging hand and cuticle cream for day use, $24; Burt’s Bee’s Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme for nighttime use, $8.

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