How-To: The Winter Mani

Right around this time of year, my hands get so cracked and sad that I can pretty much hear them crying for moisture and attention. My cuticles, in particular, are a constant source of cosmetic disappointment. So what’s the best way to fix this?

Step One: Remove Polish and Wash Your Hands

Whether you favor an acetone polish remover or non-acetone, it’s still a good idea to wash your hands after removing polish. Some brands of polish won’t go on as smoothly if there’s any remover residue left on the surface of the nail.

Step Two: Shape Your Nails 

Use a fine-grit emery board to shape nails. If they are much longer than you prefer, you can gently trim them before filing. Remember when filing to not go vigorously back and forth, like you’re scrubbing the sink. Go long strokes, in the same direction, like you’re sanding a fine piece of furniture.

Step Three: Address Your Cuticles

Apply a cuticle remover, like the one from Deborah Lippmann ($20). Wait a minute or two, and use a cuticle pusher or orangewood stick to remove cuticle debris from the nail bed. Use a damp cloth when you’re finished, to remove excess product. Trim any hangnails or rough edges with clean cuticle nippers.

Step Four: Paraffin[ish up the treatment] (Ha! A Manicure Joke!)

Use the manicure option from Glove Treat to deeply moisturize hurting, wintertime hands. After allowing your hands to rest in the warm oil and wax mixture, remove the gloves and massage excess oil into your hands.

Step Five: Paint Your Nails

Before starting to paint, swipe a cotton swab or pad of alcohol across just the nail surface, to remove the oil left behind from the Glove Treat gloves. Apply your favorite base coat, followed by two coats of color and top coat. (Currently, I’m on a Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro kick. As I type this I’m wearing a delicious blue called “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”)

Step Six: Maintenance

After you’ve allowed your polish to dry, apply your usual hand cream or an extra-moisturizing balm. Our own Lexi loves Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment because it helps address any sun damage spots and prevent wrinkling, and I’m a big fan of the soothing properties of Maya Chia Waterless Wonder Balm right before I go to bed. I also love the Londontown Lakur trick of waiting a day or two after your manicure before putting on another coat of your top coat, to really seal the color onto the nail. It’s an easy way to get an extra few days for your efforts!

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