Fingernails and toenails have a major impact on first impressions and personal hygiene, which is why nail salons are so successful. Salons are great if you can afford to pay someone to do the maintenance on your nails; however, the cost can really add up if you pay for both a manicure and pedicure.
On the other hand, giving yourself a manicure-pedicure at home costs much less and doesn’t require a car ride to the salon either! You don’t even need to get dressed for a homemade mani-pedi, which is another reason to be frugal and do your own nails. Assuming you’re interested in at-home nail treatments, here are the tools you should have in order to make your nails look their best.
Must-have Nail Tools for At-Home Manis and Pedis
You’ll be able to find the following items in the beauty section of your local department store, beauty store, drugstore, or by searching online. Most of the tools won’t cost more than a few dollars and will last a while – depending on how often you choose to do maintenance on your nails. So with that being said, here are the top nail care tools you should have and how to use them to give yourself an excellent manicure & pedicure:
It is very important to have a pair of nail clippers tucked away somewhere in your kit because they can remove hangnails or ingrown nails. But a lot of men and women who own nail clippers don’t use them properly and end up with jagged nails or injuries because they clip to close to the skin. To avoid these types of problems, pay close attention to the next section!
How to use Nail Clippers
The main mistake here involves using nail clippers to shape one’s nails. Clippers shouldn’t be used to shape finger or toenails because this tool leaves them with inconsistent shapes, harsh edges and cracks, and is oftentimes the cause of ingrown toenails.
To properly use nail clippers, start by cutting straight across the nail; after this, you can finish by using a filing tool such as an emery board to shape the nail and smooth out rough edges. Clean your clippers each time you use them to stop bacteria from growing on the blades. It’s especially important to keep them clean if you’ll be sharing clippers with others!
Before we move on, some people may not consider clippers to be an essential item because they prefer longer nails. However, it’s important to understand that short nails are healthier for both your toes and fingers. Longer nails, on the other hand, leave you vulnerable to breakage and peeling – on top of other issues that weaken your nail beds.
Emery Boards and Nail Files
Emery boards are constructed of thin pieces of cardboard with emery paper on each side. The emery papers feature various textures that make them rough enough to file and shape finger/toenails, yet flexible enough to maneuver around hard-to-reach edges. Emery boards are disposable – unlike other nail files like metal or glass files. Disposable emery boards are a great idea if you enjoy doing other people’s nails since they’re a more sanitary alternative to other nail files.
Glass nail files are becoming more popular because they have a smoother surface and won’t cause small fractures, peeling, splintering, or chipping in your nail like other files do. It’s also worth mentioning that glass nail files last a lot longer than other files due to the permanently-etched process. Glass files can be difficult to track down and shouldn’t be shared between friends because they can hold gross bacteria and germs. It’s also important to handle glass nail files with care since they can break if dropped on the floor.
Using your Nail File
After you’ve used the nail clippers and have roughly shaped your nails to either a square or round tip, you should use a nail file or emery board to smooth out any harsh edges that the clippers sometimes leave behind.
Cuticle nippers are perfect for clearing away any hangnails that seem to pop up at the least convenient of times. Cuticle nippers (a.k.a. trimmers) are often overused, so be cautious not to overdo it while cleaning up your cuticles.
Caring for Cuticles with Cuticle Nippers
The first step in trimming your cuticles involves soaking your hands in warm water to soften both the cuticle and nail. Using a cuticle remover after you’ve soaked your hands for a few minutes instead of oil or cream will give better results because it’s able to break down the dead skin cells – unlike lotions and oils.
Next, you’ll use your cuticle pusher and a 4-way buffer, which will both be explained in more detail later. Once you’ve soaked, used cuticle remover according to directions printed on the label, used a cuticle pusher, and a buffer, it’s finally time to use your cuticle nipper to get rid of hangnails.
Nippers should only be used for hangnails, and the blades don’t need to be any bigger than a ¼ inch so that you only remove what needs to be taken off; in short, this size of blade keeps you from over-trimming.
Once you’ve done all of the above and your nails look clean and tidy, it’s important to keep up with maintaining them so that they’re always in good shape. The secret to fabulous fingers is moisturizing and exfoliating to remove dead skin and keep the skin hydrated!
A round cuticle pusher is a must-have nail care tool because it gives you an instant manicured look without the instant manicure price. With a round cuticle pusher – rather than a square pusher – you’re able to contour the cuticle to the nail swiftly while removing a minimal amount of extra skin; this causes much less damage and scraping altogether.
To use the round cuticle pusher, you will gently rub the nail bed with light pressure to reveal more attractive nails instantly. Don’t be afraid to use this tool on your toes as well!
Buffer blocks typically have four sides to give you the optimal use out of one product. One of the sides files, another buffs, and one polishes your nails – leaving them smooth and shiny. This tool may sound expensive because of its multiple uses, but it is relatively affordable at the local beauty store. When using this tool, it’s important to always move the block in the same direction no matter what side you’re using. You can use the buffer block to remove rough skin around your cuticle by using the coarse side of the nail buffer block with light pressure.
Toothpicks or Orange Sticks
If you enjoy creating designs on your nails, you’ll want to keep toothpicks or orange sticks handy because they make it a lot easier. They also make applying glitter, decals, or other nail art fashions so much easier. You can also use these tools to remove the nail polish off of the skin around your nail.
Having the proper nail care tools will allow you to have gorgeous and clean-looking hands and feet without the bother of salons or spending lots of money!