One little emery board for beautiful nails
Credit: 2enjoylife8

Only an emery board for a manicure

Two Methods:

I chose the easy one

When I attended Beauty College, I learned steps to give a professional manicure. However, at home I took short cuts which were quick and effective. First I'll share the steps I remember from school, and then I'll share my quick method.

Before I start, here is a tip that applies to any manicure.

Important Tip:

Never cut cuticles

I did say never. Don't ever cut your cuticles; instead push them back. Cutting them causes hangnails. Push them back with an orange wood stick, a handy little wood implement that has a soft point at one end and a crescent shape on the other.

The soft point can be wrapped with cotton, dipped in warm soapy water, and used to carefully clean underneath nail tips.  

The crescent shaped end is used to gently push back cuticles. You might be pleased with how nice your cuticles and nails look as a result of only pushing the cuticles back.

Orangewood Sticks Nail Art Orange Wood 100 Count Manicure Cuticle Remover Pusher
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(price as of Aug 23, 2014)
You don't need an orange wood stick for this quick and easy manicure, but it is nice to have.

Basic Manicure Steps

These steps are basic, and I may have forgotten a few because I use my quick and easy method so often, but I think you'll get the idea.

  1. File each nail using three strokes, two short, one on each side, and one long, across the entire edge of nail tip
  2. Soak finger tips in warm sudsy water
  3. Pat dry with a soft towel
  4. Push back cuticles
  5. Carefully clean under nail tips
  6. Massage cuticles and hands with lotion
  7. Wipe lotion off top of nails
  8. Apply polish


Note: Most common mistakes in applying nail polish

The two mistakes many people make in applying polish are leaving to much paint on the brush resulting in thick coats and not waiting long enough for each coat to dry. It does take time and patience, even when using nifty nail polish driers, so I prefer to go to a salon for polish. I love relaxing while a professional manicurist paints my nails beautifully.

Applying Nail Polish

  1. Brush on a thin coat of clear polish in three strokes without touching the cuticles. The first is down the middle, and the other two are on each side.
  2. After the clear coat, base coat, is dry, apply color in the same manner.
  3. After the second coat is dry, apply one more coat of color.
  4. When that is thoroughly dry, use a thin coat of clear as a top coat.
  5. Dry well.

My Modified Manicure:

Quick and easy

  1. Using the rougher side of a new emery board, file each nail using three strokes as above.
  2. With the fine side of the emery board, smooth over each nail edge with one or two long strokes across.
  3. Now push back each cuticle using the rounded end of the emery board with the fine side toward the nail being careful not to scratch the top of the nail.

No, I don't soften the cuticles before pushing them back. If you would prefer your cuticles to be softened, see the variation below.

Sunmark Emery Boards - 4 ea
Amazon Price: $1.08 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 23, 2014)
I like simple emery boards and use a new one for each manicure.

Putting them in strategic places like my purse and car keeps them handy.

Variation on this Quick Manicure

Soften the cuticles while bathing

  1. Before bathing, file nails.
  2. While bathing, clean under nails with a soapy nail brush. The time in the soap and water automatically softens cuticles.
  3. After bathing, use towel to gently push back cuticles.

Voila! Done.

Keep in mind that I attended Cosmetology School, but did not pursue a career in this field. So I am not a professional manicurist, but I use my professional training to efficiently look my best. 

I hope this quick and easy manicure makes outward beauty practical for everyday life.

If nothing else, push your cuticles back. It does wonders for remedying hangnails and growing long beautiful, or short professional looking nails.