There’s something exceptionally gratifying about prettying up our nails. Giving them a splash of colour or glamming them up with glistening embellishments and intricate nail art adds an extra sparkle to our everyday look – admit it, pretty nails make us feel like princesses!
From acrylic to gel polishes, French to reverse French manicures, glitter to 3D nail art, there are endless ways to give your nails a shiny new makeover. But where do we start?
Here’s the lowdown on how to get your nails in fab shape, all the way from your cuticles to the tip of your nails!
1. Shape Your Nails
Deciding on a shape for your nails is the fundamental step of every manicure, and it really boils down to your preference. Here’s what you need to know:
- Rounded nails are a simple and classic fuss-free option that’s great if you’d like to keep short nails.
- The oval-shaped style is a classic option that’s slightly longer than rounded nails. The naturally curved tips of this shape will elongate one’s fingers and adds a feminine touch to the manicure.
- The Squoval – or the squared with oval or rounded edges – is a good compromise between square and rounded nails. The soft edges will flatter any hand shape, making this a fail-safe option for your best-looking days!
- Almond-shaped nails are a common choice for celebrities. Characterised by the narrow sides and a rounded point, this style is best suited for long, slim fingers.
Pro Tip: Short, rounded nails work better with loud or dark colours.
Customize your own manicure in a striking shade with the Revlon Nail Enamel Plum Seduction from Guardian Health & Beauty.
2. Pick the Type of Manicure You’d Like to Go For
Classic & Express
If you’re in the mood for some pampering, go for a classic manicure. Your manicurist will first hydrate your cuticles with some oil and soak your fingertips in a bowl of warm water (some may even give your hands a relaxing bath and scrub!) Your nails will then be trimmed and shaped according to your desired style.
Afterwards, a base coat will be applied, followed by two coats of colour and a translucent top coat. You can then request for an additional coat of shiner, where you can pick a matte of glossy finish. Finally, your nails will be set to dry!
If you’re planning to squeeze in a quick mani for that last-minute date, go for an express manicure instead! You’ll get beautiful nails in just 15 to 30 minutes! However, this excludes add-ons such as hand-bath and the cutting and buffing of cuticles.
We simply love the fab and affordable Classic ($22) and Express ($12) Manicures from Polish The Nails Room!
There’s a reason why gel manicures are all the rage now – they’re faster, longer lasting and they chip less. The only difference between a gel manicure and a classic manicure is that after painting your nails with a special gel-based polish, your nails are left to cure under UV light. The polish dries almost instantly and lasts for about two to three weeks!
Avone Beauty Secrets offers gorgeous Express Gellish Manicures ($48) where you can your nails all dolled up in a jiffy, and Classic Gellish Manicures ($78) where you can get stunning and long-lasting designs.
Pro Tip: Always ensure that your gel polish is properly cured so that it would come off easily with a soak. Improperly set gels have to be manually removed with other tools.
Get yourself acrylic nail extensions if you want to really stand out or if you’ve got to rescue chipped nails. What happens is, your manicurist will mold the acrylic nails from your nail bed using a solution of liquid and powder monomers. The end result is hard, protective layers over your nails that when done right, stay immaculate for a long time and are practically indestructible.
Acrylics are more durable than gel nails and take a longer time to cure. However, if not applied well, they can appear unnatural or cause damage to the nail bed. Acrylic nails are easily removed – all it takes is to soak them off for about 15 minutes, without any buffing or scraping required.
Pro Tip: Acrylics grow out with your nails over time, leaving pockets of air between your natural nail and the acrylic piece. If you plan to wear them over a long period of time, remember to visit your nail salon every 2 to 3 weeks and have your nails filled in with more of the acrylic mixture.
Polish The Nails Room will fix up your nails just right with their variety of acrylic nail enhancement services, including the Acrylic Overlay ($60 for a full set), the Acrylic Tip Extension ($100 for a full set) and the Acrylic Infill ($50).
3. Get Artsy Fartsy with Nail Art
Now that we’ve got the basics sorted, it’s time to get creative! Nail art can come in many different shades, types, and colour. So, go crazy and embellish your nails with intricately painted designs or secure rhinestones, dried flowers, or even ceramic clay pieces to your nails with the help of a little top coat!
Here are some nail art inspirations from Polish The Nails Room at Waterway Point, Summer Nail Salon at The Centrepoint, and Avone Beauty Secrets – Beauty Brows Hair Nails Spa at Waterway Point.
4. Protect Your Nails
Some nail polishes contain carcinogenic ingredients like formaldehyde, camphor, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). These chemicals help to harden and strengthen nail polishes, giving them that smooth, glossy appearance while minimising chipping. But while they make your polish look great, too much of it can cause nausea or allergic reactions.
Avoid polishes with the “Toxic Trio” (DBP, formaldehyde, and toluene) and ensure that whatever polish goes onto your nails are “3-free”. If you want to be on the safe side, go for “5-free” polishes, which additionally exclude formaldehyde resin and camphor.
5. Maintain Healthy Nails
Prolonged gel and acrylic nail styling can contribute to dry, brittle, and soft nails. Giving them a week or two to breathe in between gel or acrylic manicures will help to maintain healthy, strong nails.
While you’re letting your nails breathe, moisturise your cuticles and nail beds with some cuticle oil to reduce the chances of your nail cracking, chipping, and splitting. And remember to keep your nails clean with regular washing, trimming and buffing!
Manicures are fun and can add a splash of colour and personality to any outfit. With proper care and hygienic nail-keeping habits, you can maintain your effortlessly chic look with healthy and strong nails!