Here's a picture of the manicure and pedicure I got before I left on my trip. It had been 5 years since my last manicure, and 12 years since my last pedicure! Although I like getting my nails done - I'd rather save my salon money for treatments I can't do myself...like massages, facials and bikini waxing!
I think the key aspects of a professional looking manicure are: nicely shaped nails, neatly applied polish and groomed cuticles. I'm good at shaping and painting my nails - I just have to work on keeping my cuticles healthy and in shape.
Here are all the steps of my salon nail treatments - I wrote EVERYTHING down so that I could recreate the experience at home.
1) Bubbling foot bath and hand soak (At home option: soak hands and feet in warm water and olive oil)
2) Cut nails with sharp clippers
3) File into shape (I noticed she used a back and forth motion - some say this weakens the nail, but I think it's fine)
4) Spray cuticle softener and push cuticles back
5) Use a cuticle trimmer to trim excess skin (I have a Revlon tool that I plan on using. I know a lot of people advise against cutting cuticles, but it is hard to get a neat look without using a trimmer)
6) Smooth nails with a buffer
7) Clean under nails using an orange stick
8) Spray callous softener on the foot, use a pumice stone to slough off dry skin
9) Exfoliate with a scrub
11) Dip hands and feet into bags of paraffin, wrap them in towels (won't try to replicate this!!!)
12) Use nail polish remover to clear off oils
13) Apply nail primer (this dries out the nail to help polish adhere better - will probably skip this step)
14) Apply base coat
15) Carefully press on polish
16) Brush on top coat
17) Apply quick drying drops
While I was getting my pedicure done, I noticed that the lady next to me chose the cutest shade of candy pink for her nails. It was too late to change my polish - but I picked up Sally Hansen's "I Pink I Can" from their Complete Salon Manicure line for my next (at-home) pedicure. Hope it applies as beautifully as "Plum's the Word".
What's your favourite nail polish colour? I'd love to read about it in the comments!