How to Manicure at Home

How To Manicure

This is Jane. Jane applied nail polish without using a base coat. Jane’s nails are stained and need some love. Don’t be like Jane. 

Every girl wants beautiful nails and only realize they don’t look so hot until you’re ready to run out the door. The solution for so many is to throw on a coat of nail polish to disguise the mess. Is it better than nothing right? I would rather see nicely manicured bare nails than a poor polish job that leaves stained, dehydrated, peeling nails behind. And today I am going to explain how to achieve not only beautifully manicured nails that are flaunt-worthy with just clear nail polish, but how to polish your nails to avoid the need to recover from Jane’s mess.

I have encountered this issue too many times to count in my 25-year nail career. And what usually ends up happening is the client tries to buff off the stain and thins out their nail so much they come in to get a set of acrylic nails for instant satisfaction.

I want you to maintain your beautiful nails without the need to get artificial nails. It is especially important for females 18-35 years of age entering the workforce and presenting themselves socially to look on point. Having beautifully manicured nails send a positive message, and more people than you realize are paying attention. Now some people have thin nails, and artificial nails are their best bet, but so many have fabulous nails and can achieve beautifully manicured nails with little effort.

What tools do you need? Every girl needs a lifetime tool kit in her arsenal. Some run out and buy whatever they can find that closely matches the description of what they want to achieve. But these tools quickly fall apart, or rust and they find themselves purchasing 

the same tools over and over again. Some items are intended to be single use but are used over and over still not realizing they are full of bacteria. You need quality tools you can

purchase one time that will last you a lifetime. Look for stainless steel tools you can disinfect to maintain the health as well as the appearance of your nails. These tools are efficient, effective and will improve your manicuring skills. My online store is an excellent place to find quality tools.

Basic Manicure Steps

Step 1

Apply cuticle remover the to the skin around the nail. Some will penetrate into the nail plate but not enough to make a difference in the adhesion of nail polish like soaking in water. The nail plate is porous and soaking in water will cause the nail plate to swell and slightly change shape. Soaking creates a problem when the nail dries causing the polish to lift and chip.

Step 2

Before you trim the nails, it is essential to determine how much free edge is there. Buildup under the nail can make it hard to see the attachment point, and you don’t want to cut your skin accidentally. You will have a visible picture of how much is safe to trim after this step. Apply cuticle remover the to the skin around the nail.

Step 3

Use the stainless steel 5mm nippers to trim the excess free edge. Insert the tip of the nipper on the side of your nail halfway and squeeze to make a small snip. Move forward and continue to cut the nail in the desired shape. This method ensures you do not bend or flatten your nail that could cause layers to split and peel. I loathe fingernail clippers. They make the nail bend and put unnecessary pressure on the nail plate when you squeeze. I have a video tutorial explaining this is more detail you can find on my YouTube channel. 

Step 4

Use the stainless steel nail file to smooth and shape the free edge of the nail. Using a stainless steel file is comfortable and doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies like some files can cause. Take special care not to tip the nail file forward or lean the nail file backward. The nail file needs to sit square on your free edge, or you will lose the strength and durability of the free-edge because it was filed at an angle.            

Step 5

The cuticle remover has had time to penetrate the skin that is dry and no longer living. Moist skin is much easier to remove so before you use the cuticle pusher apply another layer of cuticle remover.

Step 6

Place the angled end of the cuticle pusher on the nail plate and lightly push back the cuticle area. The dissolved non-living tissue will come away from the nail plate as well as the fingertip. The cuticle remover will not dissolve living tissue. Be gentle and careful not to push down onto the nail plate too hard, or you can scrape layers of nail plate off.            

Step 7

Use the nippers to trim away any loose, white skin that is identifiable as not living tissue. It is critical not to cause damage to the living tissue.

Before and After

Appearance and personal hygiene are significant even for reasons you don’t realize. When you look good, you feel good, and when you accomplish something even as simple as a home manicure, you feel pride and improve your self-esteem. And anyone thinking it takes too much time, think of it like this. It takes time to apply nail polish and let it dry than it does to clean up your free edge and cuticles. Now to learn how to polish your nails, so you don’t end up staining them like Jane, head over to

Before and After Manicure

The Art of Hand Massage

The digital edition of Nails Magazine came out today! My tutorial on The Art of Hand Massage is on page 123 with a link to the video on my YouTube channel The Meticulous Manicurist. If you have not checked it out please do. I hope you support my efforts and share with your friends hwsozze. I look forward to another productive year filled with new videos. You can also find blog posts with great information on here is the link to the magazine article

How to help a client after someone ruined their nails

How to recognize and recover from damage on the nail plate.

As much as we wish the care of our clients nails was solely in our hands, sometimes the sh@t just hits the fan. So you haven’t seen a client in a few months. Your schedule was too busy and they couldn’t get in or maybe they were out-of-town. But the dreaded thing happened, they saw another nail technician who ruined their nails. How in the world could a nail technician ruin someone’s nails by giving them a manicure you ask? Well I am glad you asked. Take a look at the picture

here on the right. Tell me what you see. What color do you see in her nail that should not be there? Let’s start at the bottom and work our way to the tip. We see her healthy looking Lunula, the flesh-colored nail and then wham dark pinky red color followed by a peeling thinned out free edge. Someone filed the top of her nail plate with something other than a 240 grit buffer! That dark pink color is a thinned out section of her nail. The surface of the nail plate has been removed and we are super close to the nail bed. File a few more layers off and she will have a hole in her nail! Her nails feel vulnerable when you touch them, so let’s not touch that area at all.

Who knows how long this is going to take to grow out? If a nail grows 1/8″ every couple of weeks this is going to take about 4 months to grow out and become strong again. Here is a photo of the pinky on the right hand. You can see the color change in this nail plate as well.


I would normally suggest having a thin layer of acrylic applied just over the damaged area and let it grow up and off. But she is an artist who works in too many solvents. The acrylic would never last. I don’t want to apply gel polish because I don’t want to take the chance of those paint solvents lifting that off her nail plate and her being tempted to pull it off causing more damage. So we are just going to have to baby these nails. Lots of protein to help make them harder and not bend so easily. Keep them polished and protected. Keep them short, because everything she bumps them into is going to make them split, crack and peel.

So new and old nail technicians alike, let’s learn a lesson from the clients unfortunate experience. Be careful to never apply too much pressure with the buffer block, never use an electric file on the natural nail and never file the top of the nail plate with a nail file. I don’t know for sure what the person that caused this damage used, but I do know it was something stronger than a 240 grit buffer.

The Meticulous Manicurist Nail Tutorials

Real life…Real situations…Real learning

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thin nails after acrylics

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The Cause of Splitting, Peeling Nails and Better Alternative Revealed (USA)

People are always talking about how they wish they knew what was causing their fingernails to split and peel. We hypothesize that we are too hard on our nails while doing the dishes, or use them as tools to peel or pry labels from jars or bottles. But have we ever taken a close look at the tool we use to care for our nanail clippersils at home.

I have never been a fan of those tricky little metal devils. When my children were born, I had to buy those teeny tiny clippers to trim their ever-growing nails. That is whenI changed my mind about nail clippers being a helpful tool. Lets first talk about the odd shape they are made in. There are curved blade clippers and straight edge blade clippers. Neither one fit the shape of a natural nail plate. The curved blade is curved in the wrong direction! We are trying to fit an arched nail plate into a concave apparatus! And the straight edge clipper gives me the heebie jeebies even more.

I recently made a video showing  your nail plate between the blades and what happens when you squeeze down, the blades actually flatten out your nail. This is such an awful feeling. It feels like the edges of my nail were just going to snap before the blades ever cut through the nail at all. Even if the nail clippers were inserted at an angle the nail still flattened out when the clippers were squeezed. The nail plate is not intended to have excess strain or stress on the layers of the nail plate. And if there is excess force it can crack the adhesion of the keratin that is holding all the layers together.

I don’t know why it took my giving birth and using clippers on my infant son to figure out the nail clippers were actually the culprit of the splitting and peeling nails of my clients. Now when I give a manicure in the salon I use a nail file to shorten the nails 99% of the time. Some clients were still having a problem with their nails splitting and peeling. And would ask what I thought the reason for that was from. I never stopped to ask if they were using clippers on their nails at home.

I decided 15 years to never use nail clippers again. I began asking my clients if they were using clippers at home and asked them to stop using them so we could see if the splitting and peeling ceased. I asked them to use a nail file if they felt the need to shorten their nails before their next visit to the salon. The clients nails improved, the splitting and peeling stopped when they started using a nail file to shorten their nails.

I do not even keep clippers at my nail station at the salon. I have had clients ask me to “clip” their nails and I tell them I will shorten them with a file or use my cuticle nippers. When you insert the edge of the cuticle nippers on the edge of the nail plate and squeeze it doesn’t bend the nail. It just shears off the length. I have had one client who just couldn’t get past not using nail clippers. She began to clip her nails at home before coming in for her manicure service. Every visit she came in with chipped, peeling nails. I tried to explain it was from her using the nail clippers but she was not convinced. It took about 6 months before I could convince her to just stop using the nail clippers for 3 appointments. Let me shorten your nails and see if your nail polish chips off and your nails split. She agreed. And now she is a believer. Her nails are doing wonderfully with no chipping, no splitting, no peeling.

Now if you don’t have a problem with your nails splitting or cracking, that is great. But if you are, and you are using those little metal nail clippers, it may be time to do a little experiment of your own. Go buy a nice nail file to shorten and shape your nails with for a while and let’s see what happens 🙂

There is also a video coming out in the next few weeks on my YouTube channel, about how to apply the correct amount of pressure on your nail file to avoid damaging your nail plate, so watch for that. Be sure to subscribe and you will be notified so you can be one of the first to watch it.


One Messy Mama