The Pampered Bride Manicure

A Bride’s hands are on showcase throughout her engagement. The crowning point of this timeframe is her wedding day.

On a bride’s wedding day, she knows she is going to be the center of attention. Everything about her will be noticed, remarked upon, and remembered. Most brides realize this and take care to make sure their coif is perfect, their dress- divine, and their jewelry gleams. But what about her hands?

A bride’s hands will be on prominent display on her wedding day, but also the days leading up to her wedding as well. Once a bride announces that she is engaged, scores of people – friends, acquaintances, and adversaries (AKA those bitches at work) will want to stare at her engagement ring – and thus her hands.

No matter how glorious your ring is – no matter how large and sparkly the diamond – if your hands feel like scales and your nails look like claws, people will notice, remember, and talk.

Luckily, there is no need to spend a lot of money for these little fixes. I’ve been working on a series of manicures – just for you :-). As I complete them, I’ll update this post with additional links.

The Pampered Bride
The Practical Bride
The Busy Bride

The Pampered Bride Manicure
This manicure is for the bride who wants to pamper herself and has the time to do it. This manicure can take up to 1 ½ – 2 hours.

Step 1: Hand, Nail, and Tool Prep
In order to get the most out of your manicure, you need properly prepare. The first thing is to gather all of your tools. Here’s a list of some things that you will need:
• Nail File/Emery Board (Try to avoid metal files)
• Nail Buffer
• Cuticle Nippers
• Small Bowl
• Warm water
• Fingernail Clippers
• Cotton Balls
• Hand soap
• Hand Scrub
• Orange Stick
• Nail Polish Remover
• Cuticle Oil/Vitamin E Oil
• Towel
• Nail Polish (bottom coat, top coat, and color if desired)
• Lotion
• Paraffin Wax Bath (pre-warmed)
• Q-Tips
• Shea Butter
• Lemon Juice

Step 2: Shape Nails
Once you have gathered all of your materials together and gotten comfortable, you’re ready to shape your nails. Always start a manicure (or pedicure!) by removing any nail polish that you may have on your hands. After removing the polish, make sure all of your nails are cut to your chosen length. You also want to check your fingers closely for the beginnings of hang nails. If you see any, clip them with the cuticle nippers.

Once you have finished removing polish, you can start to file your nails. The two most popular shapes are rounded edged square and oval. Pick the shape that works best for you – square looks best when the cuticle is oval shaped and oval looks best when the cuticle is slightly more pointy – then file your nail into that shape. My personal preference is for the rounded edge square. Try to file your nail in one direction, only. Filing your nails from side to side can weaken the nail.

After shaping your nails, put a drop of cuticle or Vitamin E oil on your cuticle. DO NOT CUT THE CUTICLE. Hangnails are caused by overly dry and/or damaged cuticles. When you cut your cuticles you damage them, since the purpose of the cuticle is to protect the body from bacteria. Instead of cutting the cuticle, soak the finger tips in a small bowl of warm soapy water. You are only looking to soften the cuticle, so only do this for 2-5 minutes per hand. Once the cuticle is softened, take an orange stick and GENTLY push back the cuticle. Once the cuticle is pushed back, move the stick around the base of your nail bed in small circles to remove any additional skin/cuticle that may be left behind. Once done, place a drop of vitamin E oil or cuticle oil on each cuticle. Massage the oil in well.

Step 3: Soften those hands
Having soft hands is a trait that has always been associated with femininity. Throughout our daily lives, however, our hands are exposed to the worst the environment has to offer. My favorite way to soften hands is to use a natural, homemade scrub. I love the Lemon Sugar Scrub! There are scrubs that you can buy in a store, too. It’s up to you.

After scrubbing, I love a hot paraffin bath. Nothing says pampered like a paraffin bath! Paraffin Baths, if you’ve never used a paraffin bath before, are a “luxurious” spa treatment. It is intended to moisturize and soften skin. The major use for paraffin wax bath treatments is for the hands and feet during a manicure or pedicure. It is also great for people who have arthritis or simply aching hands and feet. I always slather my hands with 100% pure shea butter prior to doing a paraffin wax dip.

Step 4: Polish
Once the paraffin wax dip is complete, wash your hands with soap and water again. This will remove the excess oils. At this point I give myself a homemade, all natural cuticle bath. The cuticle bath is not necessary but it is glorious! I love the way it gives my cuticles a little extra moisture. Some people prefer to do cutcicle baths prior to a paraffin wax. This is personal preference.

After the cuticle bath, I wash my hands with soap and water, then moisturize with a creamy lotion. Then I take an orange stick, wrap a piece of cotton around one end and wipe off my nails. This removes any excess oils and I am ready to polish.

I never use colored polishes – I’m a clear kinda girl – so I can’t give any tips on color. The darkest color I wear is Cotton Candy 😉

Always apply a base coat, even if you don’t use colored polish. Begin with a single stroke of polish down the middle of the nail, then an additional single stroke on each side of the nail. This should cover your entire nail. Let the coat dry.

If you like color in your nail polish, you would apply that between your bottom and top coats. Color polish requires 2-3 coats with a drying time between each coat. The darker the polish color the more coats you need to apply.

Once the polish is dry(ish), do your top coat, allowing your nails to dry to touch.

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