Most manicures done at salons are performed by technicians who are also trained in the art of massage. While they are usually not licensed therapists, they have acquired the skills to apply just the right pressure to the hands and feet that leave us in a total state of bliss. It’s also very typical of nail salons to have their clients sit in a relaxing massage chair while having their nails and feet worked on. These chairs provide a deep back massage at just the push of a button, adding the finishing touches on a perfect spa experience. (Getting a manicure is a cheaper and often more convenient experience than a massage at a full-service spa.)
Another great aspect of receiving a manicure is the “heat therapy”. Applying gentle heat to the body is known to have a calming and relaxing effect, so many nail technicians will place your hands in warming mitts to help soften the skin as well as relax the muscles in the hands. Many people also opt to receive a pedicure along with their manicure. These are also quite a relaxing experience, as the feet are placed into a warm and bubbling footbath and followed by a complete foot and leg massage.
However, as wonderful as receiving a manicure at a salon can be, the reality still exists that not everyone can afford to have these luxurious treatments – or perhaps they simply don’t have the time. While it’s hard to duplicate the total experience available at nail salons, an equally satisfying manicure can be done at home. Here are a few tips on giving a great manicure at home.
1. Have the right tools available. For example, you will need a nail file, clippers, a cuticle stick, nail scissors, and if applicable, bottles of nail polish. You may also want to have items such as cuticle softener, lotion, warming mitts, paraffin wax machine, and a footbath. (If you don’t have a footbath, a tub filled with warm water works just as great!)
2. Carefully go through your nails with a cuticle stick and scissors, gently removing any hangnails or outgrown cuticles. Then file and clip your nails to the desired length and shape.
3. If you’re going to provide a massage, do it before you paint the nails. Use your thumbs to apply gentle pressure to the palms of the hands and rub in a circular motion. Follow up massaging each individual finger while working your way outward.
4. Be sure to rinse off any massage lotion using a wet washcloth before applying polish. Coat the nails twice, followed by a clear top coat.