Manicure Procedures

There are a few other items that you may wish to use during your manicure, all of which are optional:

  • Cuticle Remover:  These cosmetic solutions will aid in softening the cuticles and may contain 2-5% sodium or potassium hydroxide and glycerin's.  Apply to the cuticle area after filing and before soaking in the fingerbowl.

  • Nail Cleansers:  Usually a type of detergent (scrub) in liquid form that is added to the water in the fingerbowl to aid in soaking and cleansing the nail plate.

  • Cuticle Oil, Lotion or Creams:  Any combination of essential oils that soften and lubricate the skin and nails.

  • Nail Bleaches:  These cosmetics contain hydrogen peroxide or organic acids that can be applied over and/or under the free edge of the nail plate to remove stains.  Sometimes they work -- sometimes they don't!

  • Base Coat, Enamel color of choice, and Top Coat.

  • Polish Dryers: These products can be sprays or Top Coat enamels and are designed to quickly dry the surface layer of enamel.  The solvents in nail enamel must evaporate in order for the polish to dry.  When Polish is applied, the solvents on the surface begin to evaporate and the solvents on the bottom begin to move upward, and the surface begins to harden.  The solvents have to diffuse through this hardened surface and evaporation slows down.  Polish dryers repel this thickening layer, pulling the solvents into itself.  This action is much like pressing down on a wet sponge, or wringing our a wet rag.  The polish is not totally 'dry', but is simply much drier than it was immediately after application.  It takes a full hour for the enamel to be free of solvents and fully hardened.

  • Aromatherapy Oils:  For a relaxing mood or to relieve stress.

  • Sloughing Lotions:  To aid in exfoliation of  rough, dry skin.

  • Paraffin Wax Machine:  Paraffin wax aids in moisturizing and conditioning the skin by opening the pores and allowing the massage/aromatherapy oils to deeper penetrate the skins outer layer.  

Arrange your files, implements and tools on the table towel on top of your working surface so they are within easy reach.  Wash your hands with a mild detergent or hand soap, rinse well and dry thoroughly.  


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  • Remove all traces of old enamel by moistening a cotton or gauze pad with the remover of your choice.  Press the pad onto the nail plate, hold for a few seconds, then swipe toward the free edge.  Change the pad often as the remover cannot perform well if it is saturated with old enamel. Dark pigmented enamels are the hardest to remove, and the old polish may get on your skin or underneath the free edge.  If this happens, wrap a small piece of cotton on the end of the orangewood stick, saturate it with remover and clean the enamel from the cuticle line and under the free edge. 


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  • Use a 240-grit file to remove length or to perfect the free edge by filing from the outside corner to the center of the nail plate.  Never saw back and forth across the free edge as it can disrupt the nail plate layers and lead to splitting and peeling.  The ideal shape of the free edge should mirror the shape of the cuticle, i.e.: an oval cuticle = an oval free edge.

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  • To seal the free edge, use the 3-way buffer:  black to refine, white to semi-shine and gray to finish.  This will seal the layers of the free edge to further prevent splitting or peeling.

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  • Apply cuticle remover, oil or lotion all around the cuticle area if you so desire, then immerse the nails in the soaking dish for no more than 3 minutes.  If you are performing this procedure on yourself, soak one hand at a time and proceed to the next step.  Perform the procedure on the other hand.  Soaking for more than 3 minutes will fully saturate the nail plate, causing it to swell.  Once the plate returns to its normal shape, any polish that is applied will crack and chip.

  • If your nails are already dry and brittle, perform a hot oil manicure instead.

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  • Remove the fingers from the soaking dish, and holding the orangewood stick or metal cuticle pusher much as you would a pencil, proceed to 'push' the invisible cuticle skin from the nail plate surface back toward the 'live' tissue.  Do not use downward force when performing this procedure as the nail matrix could become damaged from the aggressive force.  Keep in mind that all you want to do is remove any translucent skin from the nail plate -- you do not want to break the seal between the proximal nail fold and the nail plate.  Perform this procedure on all 5 fingers, then do the same on the other hand.

    The 'skin' you see at the cuticle line in Fig. 2 has been pushed back from the nail plate.  This  'true cuticle' can be gently removed by scraping the plate with the cuticle pusher or the curette.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

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  • Holding the cuticle nippers/scissors in one hand, nip or clip any loose 'tags' of skin that you were unable to remove with the cuticle pusher or the curette.  NEVER cut live skin!  Be very careful to only trim the 'dead' tissue.  If no translucent tissue has been pushed from the nail plate, or there are no 'tags' of dead skin, there is no need to trim anything.

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  • Using the orangewood stick or the curved end of the metal cuticle pusher, clean under the free edge of the nail plate.  Once again, do not apply pressure when performing this procedure to prevent a tear or break from occurring in the nail plate seal.  Any tear or break in the seal between the nail plate and the nail bed is the perfect entry point for bacterial microorganisms that may cause an infection.

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  • At this point, you may wish to exfoliate the hands by dispensing a small amount of sloughing lotion into the palm of one hand.  Distribute the lotion evenly between your palms, and apply with a gentle 'massaging'  action to the clients hand and fingers.  Massage into the palm of the hand and the fingers, being expressly gentle with the back of the hand.  Massage for just a few minutes, then rinse the lotion from the hand and fingers, or wipe clean with a wet terry cloth towel and dry thoroughly. .

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  • Follow this procedure with an application of moisturizing lotion, massaging the lotion into the skin until it is absorbed

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  • If the nail plate surface is ridged or corrugated or otherwise 'uneven', you may wish to smooth the surface using the 3-way buffer.  Whenever the nail plate surface is filed in any way, even with a buffer, it should be filed in the direction of nail growth to prevent disrupting the nail plate layers.  Gently file with the black side of the buffer, then proceed to the white then gray sides.  Buffing with all 3 sides to create a high-gloss shine will help to seal the nail plate surface from staining and dehydration by 'plasticizing' the surface layer.

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  • You may now wish to perform a Paraffin Treatment if the client has extremely dry, calloused skin, or just wishes to be pampered.  Before the procedure begins, apply an instant sanitizing agent to the clients hands, fingers and wrists to be sure that all surface contaminates/bacteria have been removed.  Massage skin and nail oil, or the aromatherapy oil of your choice into the clients hands, fingers and wrists.  Dip each hand gently and slowly into the paraffin, hold for just an instant, and remove the hand.  Allow the wax to 'set', then dip again.  Dip and remove several times, wrap each hand with a plastic liner, then cover with terrycloth gloves.  Allow the paraffin to remain on the hands for 5 minutes.  Remove the terrycloth gloves, and using the plastic liner, remove the paraffin from the hands and fingers.  Discard used wax after use.

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  • After all previous procedures have been completed, wash, rinse and dry your hands/nails to remove all surface traces of nail filings, lotions or oils.  Enamel will not successfully adhere to an oily surface.  If your skin and nails are excessively oily, and/or you have used any type of oil, lotion or cream during your manicure process, you may wish to swipe the nail plate with a 'prep' dampened pad to be sure all traces of these products have been removed.  

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  • Begin your polish application by applying 1 thin base coat.  Allow 1 minute for the base coat to dry, then apply 2 thin coats of enamel, allowing 1 minute between coatings, then proceed with a thin application of top coat.  ALWAYS use a base coat!  Base Coat is designed to adhere to the nail plate, seal the surface and bond with the colored polish.  Top coat will seal the entire surface, and because of its inherent hardness will keep the polish 'fresh' for a longer period.

Please Note:  Photographs of these procedures will be added at a later date as soon as they become available.


The Perfect Polish

Everyone wants to have long, beautiful nails, and the perfect finish is a beautifully applied coating of colored enamel.  Whether your natural nails are short or long, the perfect polish is the finishing compliment to your manicure. 

To begin with, always be sure your polish is fresh.  Enamel that has been allowed to thicken will not apply evenly or thinly and will tend to bubble, streak and not 'cure' or adhere properly.  Polish will thicken because it is 'volatile'.  This simply means that the solvents in the enamel that keep it in a fluid state will quickly evaporate when exposed to air.  The longer the bottle remains open during application, or if it is exposed to a heat source, the solvents will quickly evaporate and the enamel will become thick, gooey, stringy and make a perfect application impossible.  Store your enamels/polishes in a cool, dark place and away from sources of heat. 

Begin your application by turning the bottle upside down and 'rolling' each bottle of enamel between the palms of your hands.  Never 'shake' the bottle as this method will form bubbles of air in the enamel which will transmit to the finished surface after application. 

The Perfect Polish is applied by first stroking down the center of the nail plate from cuticle to free edge, then stroking each side in turn.  Three to four strokes on each nail is sufficient to evenly distribute the coating.  Additional stroking will only lift and move the enamel leaving behind streaks and/or bare spots on the nail surface.  Leave a tiny margin all around the cuticle and sides of each nail to ensure that the polish does not touch your skin and that it adheres properly to the nail plate.  Remember, oil is a separating medium and your skin contains oils and moisture. 

Apply the colored enamel in the same manner, allowing enough time for each coating to dry between layers.  Always apply each layer very thin.  If the pigments in the enamel are not 'even' after the second coating of color, allow an extra minute, then apply a third coat.  The pigments in some red or metallic enamels tend to separate during application and may require a third coating for even color distribution.  Allow from one to three minutes after this third coating before applying your top coat or sealer.  Nail enamel will dry from the first coat up to the last, and the solvents in the enamel must evaporate before the coatings are hardened.  Pausing as long as you can between coatings will produce a smoother, more brilliant surface.  Applying coatings that are too thick, too close together, or with enamel that has thickened with time will smudge, dent or may peel from the nail plate entirely. Applying the coatings too quickly is a major reason for the 'orange peel' texture.  This is especially pronounced in times of high temperatures and humidity,

Waiting for polish to dry can be tiresome, but the slower it dries the better!  Slower evaporating solvents produce brighter colors.  Forcing the polish to quickly dry by using heat or chemical dryers will actually result in excessive shrinkage and cracking.  Formulations that use rapidly evaporating solvents tend to bubble and pit more or produce uneven surfaces.  Blowing on the polish will lower adhesion and gloss.