Tending to Your Nails at home



Use nail clippers to cut your nails straight across. Hold the nail clippers with your index finger and thumb, and apply some pressure to make your cut. Always snip your nails straight across. If you cut them at an angle, you may develop ingrown toenails.[8]

  • Be sure to trim all 10 nails.
  • Trim your nails to your desired length, but don’t cut them too short!

Shape your nails using a nail file. Line your nail file up to the edge of your toenail, and gently rub it back and forth to create your shape. Angle your nail file at the corners of your nail to round them, or file them straight across, based on your personal preference.[9]

  • If you file the corners of your nails, you don’t have to worry about ingrown toenails. That only happens when trimming your nails.

Apply a cuticle softening product to the base of each nail. Use a cuticle softening balm or oil serum. Alternatively, you can use honey as a natural cuticle softener. All 3 options work great to soften your cuticles, so you can easily remove the dead skin. Apply the product where the toenail meets the nail bed. Then, massage each toe to distribute the product.[10]

  • Rub the product over top of your cuticles if using a balm.
  • Use 1 drop of oil serum or honey for each nail.

Press your cuticles back with a cuticle tool or small nail file. To do this, simply lay the curved end of your tool over your nail bed at a 45-degree angle, and gently push your cuticles back to the nail bed.[11]

  • With a little force, your cuticles will easily move backwards so you can easily snip them off.

Trim your cuticles if you want to get rid of dead skin or hang nails. Use a cuticle trimmer to cut off the cuticles after you push them back. Simply use this tool as a miniature pair of scissors to snip off the dead cuticle skin around your toes. Start at the outer edge of your cuticles, and make small snips until you remove all of the dead skin.[12]

  • Only cut dead skin and cuticles, or you can develop ingrown nails or damage your skin.
  • While this step is optional, it helps get rid of dead skin and keeps your feet looking great.

Apply foot cream to hydrate and moisturize your feet. Squeeze a quarter-size amount of cream into your hands, and rub it between both hands. Then, apply the lotion to 1 foot at a time. Rub the lotion completely into the skin.[13]

Painting Your Nails

Place your toes inside of toe separators so it’s easy to paint them. Toe separators are pieces of plastic or foam that fit in between each of your toes. They space out your toes, so your polish will not spread as you paint them.[14]

  • Since you can see all of your toenail, it is easier to apply nail polish.

Paint your base coat and let it dry completely. A base coat helps the polish adhere to your nail. It also creates a barrier, protecting your nails from the chemicals in the nail polish. Unscrew the top, and apply the base coat to each of your toenails. Start at the cuticle, and paint a thin strip toward the edge of your nail. Repeat until the entire nail is covered.

  • Let the base coat dry completely, which typically takes 1-2 minutes. Applying a base coat prevents the polish color from staining your nails.

Use 1-2 coats of nail polish to cover your nails. When your base coat dries, unscrew the applicator brush from your nail polish of choice, and apply the color from your cuticle to the end of your nail. Make 1-3 swipes to cover the nail. Apply a second coat after your first coat is dry if your nail color is still transparent. Your nails should dry in 2-3 minutes.[16]

  • Use a bright color of polish if you want to add a pop of color to your summer outfits.
  • Use white polish to paint just the tips of your toes for a French pedicure style.
  • Go with a neutral shade of polish if you don’t want to draw attention to your feet.

Apply your top coat after your main polish color dries. When you are finished painting your main nail polish color, use a top coat to seal the polish. To apply, simply paint your nails from cuticle to tip.[17]

  • Top coat prevents your nail polish from chipping, and it makes your polish look extra shiny and glossy.

Let your nails dry completely before removing the toe separators. If you take off the separators before your nails dry, your polish may get smeared or wind up on your other toes. To prevent this, wait 1-3 minutes for your polish to dry.[18]

  • To check if your polish is dry, gently touch the corner of 1 nail with the tip of your finger.
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