Manicure How-To

Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2011

Get nails that will look great from your vows to your honeymoon.

1. Do the Prep Work

Take off any polish with remover and a cotton ball. Some emery boards can cause the nail to split, so shape nails, filing in one direction, with a gentle glass version like the Sephora Glass Nail File ( To keep the file clean, wash it with antibacterial soap after every use.

2. Nudge Nail Beds

Dab cuticle remover along the edges of your nails, and place fingers in water to help it penetrate. Then use a metal flat-ended pusher, such as Tweezerman Pushy and Nail Cleaner (, to softly ease back cuticles. Unlike orange sticks, it won't leave splinters in your skin.

3. Remove Flakes

Snip off hangnails with clippers. Try the Mehaz Stainless Steel Cuticle Nipper ( Coat nails with cuticle oil, and lightly buff them. "Polish adheres best to strong nails, and oil really keeps them nourished," says Elle, a manicurist in New York City.

4. Apply Paint

Take off residual oil with antibacterial soap. With lacquer on one side of the brush, apply a clear base coat in three strokes -- one down the middle and one on either side. Run the brush across the nail tip to seal the edge. Sweep on two coats of color and a clear top coat the same way.


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