Instructables
Picture of Proper Maintenance for Healthy Nails
Nobody wants a nasty manicure that doesn't last.  The main reason for a bad manicure is not taking good care of their nails before painting. This tutorial will teach you proper maintenance for keeping healthy nails!
 
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Step 1: Remove Nail Polish

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Start off your manicure by removing all nail polish with a cotton ball and some regular or acetone nail polish remover.  Don't miss the sides of your nails!

Step 2: Clean Out Any Dirt

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Next, use a nail brush (you can buy these in any store) to clean out dirt from your nails.  Take the brush and rub it back and forth across and underneath your nails.  Don't brush to hard!  Once you've finished rinse your nails with warm water for about 30 seconds.

Step 3: Apply Cuticle Oil

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Next take a small amount of cuticle oil or remover any massage it into your cuticles.  Let the oil sit for about 2 minutes (or less depending on the brand you use).

Step 4: Push Back Cuticles

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Take a cuticle stick and apply pressure right under your cuticle pushing upwards toward you knuckles.  Don't press to hard or you can push back to far.

Step 5: Shape Your Nails

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Take any grit of nail file and begin shaping your nails.
If you want a round almond shape, file only the sides of your nails creating a slight point at the center of your nail.
If you want a squared shape, file the tips of your fingers straight across or cut with nail scissors.

Step 6: Moisturize

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Take your favorite hand cream or lotion and slather your hands in it!  And for extra dry hands, wear a pair of gloves on over your lotion while you sleep.  I guarantee that you will wake up with soft moisturized hands.

Step 7: Base Coat

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Paint 1 layer of base coat  to protect your nails from any damage the color may bring.

Step 8: Paint!

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Now it's time for fun!  Apply 2 coats of a solid color or paint a design.  

Step 9: Top Coat

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Do NOT skip this step.  Top coat is by far the most important.  It can keep your nail polish from chipping for up to 7 days!  Apply top coat to the tips of your nails that to the rest of the nail.
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