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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Paraffin Wax (update)

I didn’t get a chance to use the Waxwel until the weekend. I washed it out, plugged it in, and started melting the wax. Per the instructions I should melt all 6 bricks.

Side note: do not do this – only melt 4-5

I melted all the wax and it took a while – like 6 hours.

The first thing I did was give myself a mani & pedi. Ahhh, bliss 🙂

Right before I dipped my hands or feet I put on a thick layer of pure shea butter. It melts into the skin so beautifully. One thing I have to note: the Waxwel model doesn’t a temp button, dial, anything. There is only on and off (by which I mean plugged in or unplugged), which sucks because (trust me) it can get too hot. Without a temperature gauge of some type you can’t get an even temperature for a long period of time. I had to keep plugging it in and unplugging it.

Booooo model design!
Yaaaay price!

It does what it is supposed to do and it feels divine (when you have the right temperature!). I love the way my hands and feet feel when the shea butter gets the chance to melt and get absorbed into the skin.

All in all, I feel I got a good deal. If you want to buy a paraffin wax bath and you can’t find one that’s large enough for your feet (IMHO) – keep moving. Trust me, you’re going to want to dip your feet. 🙂 Also try to get gone that has a temperature gauge of some sort. That will make your life much easier.

How to use a paraffin wax bath

Prepare the paraffin by breaking the 1 lb. blocks into smaller pieces and placing them in the paraffin chamber. Cover the chamber and turn the switch to ON to let the wax melt.
Since I’m talking about (and soon to be using my own! :-)) wax bath, I thought it might be a good idea to say how a paraffin wax bath is used. I’m also going to go see if I can dig up more information on paraffin and how it works later. (What can I say, I’m a bit of a nerd).

1)Wash and thoroughly dry your hands to remove any dirt or oils.
2)Massage hand and cuticle cream/oil into hands and forearms.
3)Test the wax temperature by dabbing a small amount on the inside of your wrist. If wax seems too hot, unplug the unit and allow wax to cool slightly.
4)Slowly immerse one hand, with fingers spread apart. Hold for 1-2 seconds, lift hand from paraffin, count to 3 and then repeat a few more times. Tip: the more layers of paraffin, the longer the heat will penetrate.
5)Cocoon your hand with plastic wrap (or the plastic liners and glove if you have them) for approximately 15 minutes (or as long as you like).
6)Peel the hardened paraffin off your hands and massage any remaining oils into your hands after the wax is peeled off.

If you are using your own wax bath (and no one else uses it) you can toss the used wax back into the bath with its friends. If you are sharing this wax bath with anyone, throw the used wax away every time.

Waxwel Paraffin Bath

I decided that it would be a great idea to get a paraffin wax bath – since I wasn’t going to pay for it at a salon! LOL I also wasn’t going to get a manicure or pedicure for a while – gotta same some money for the wedding and honeymoon.

I had two requirements when looking for a paraffin wax bath:
1)it had to be under $100
2) it had to be big enough to fit both my hands and my (large!) feet (I wear a size 10 womens)

I searched high and I searched low. I crawled all over Amazon with a fine tooth comb. I came to realize that I LOVE the Google search shopping thingy. That bad boy is GREAT! I searched everywhere for a paraffin wax bath that fit my two requirements. Then I finally found one! The Medline Waxwel Paraffin Bath. I found it at a medical supplier for $85.51. Perfect!!

I ordered it (11/02/09)and it came rather promptly. It comes with 6 bricks of unscented wax. I ordered (and would have LOVED) lavender scented but hey, it was under $100. Plus I have lavender scented essential oil at home :-). What is weird to me is that the bath comes with ONE booty and ONE glove. Why?? Why one? Ok, I can see – sorta – the one glove. You can only dip one hand and cover it at a time. But what about the booty? What is with just one booty? I have two feet and I can dip one foot and then the other. In fact, I think that is how most people would use it, LOL. Maybe I’m just weird and they expect you to dip one foot and one hand – wait – then dip the other foot and the other hand.

I bought my paraffin bath from a discount medical supplier but you can also buy it from Amazon.com.

Cost: $85.51
Shipping: $11.15
Handling: $3.00
Total Cost: $99.66

Waxwel Paraffin Unit with Accessories