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Grooming - Nails
Not everyone has the time or money to have a manicure done at the salon. But everyone can do a manicure at home and models really do need great looking hands and nails. Don't bite your nails, it's easy to quit, always carry a small manicure set and files so you are not tempted to pull or bite your nails as they stregthen and grow.

1. The first step in a manicure is to shape or file the nails. You should never use a file on wet finger nails. Just as your hair is weaker and requires more care when it is wet, the same holds true for fingernails. There are four basic nail shapes: square, round, oval and pointed. The nail should be shaped to conform to the shape of the finger. The oval shape works well for most hands. Men, or people who do a lot of work with their hands, may prefer to wear their nails shorter and more rounded to avoid nail breakage. File each nail from the corner to the center, going from left to right and then right to left. Don't slide the file back and forth over the tip of your nail and don't over file the sides of the nail, this will lead to weakening and breaking.

2. Soak hands in a bowl of soapy water to soften any dry skin or rough cuticles. Soak hands for 5-10 minutes, depending on your preference and the condition of the hands. If you have dry skin, you should soak your hands in a thick hand cream or Vaseline instead of the water solution. Apply a thick coat of the cream or Vaseline over your hands, wrap your hands in gloves or saran wrap, and allow them to set for 10-15 minutes.

3. Apply a combination of soap and salt or sugar to exfoliate the hands. You can pour the salt or sugar over your soapy hands or make a mixture of soap and salt/sugar in a bowl. The mixture should be of a thick consistency. An exfoliating cream can be used in place of the salt/sugar mixture, if you would prefer. The exfoliating mixture will remove any old, dry skin cells and leave your hands feeling softer. This step is best done at a sink to minimize the mess. Generously rub the exfoliating mixture over hands and around nails for several minutes. Rinse hands.

4. Gently dry hands with a clean towel. Rub the cuticle area of each finger with the edge of the towel.

5. Gently push back the cuticle of each nail with a cuticle pusher or orangewood stick. Never cut your cuticles, this can cause pain and infection. If you have any hangnails or loose pieces of skin around the nails or cuticles, you may trim them very carefully with cuticle trimmers or fingernail clippers. Use the cuticle pusher to clean underneath each nail.

6. Use the buffing board to give your nails a shiny appearance.

7. Apply a good amount of hand lotion to each hand and massage it into your skin. Using one hand, massage the palm of the other hand, working the lotion into your skin. Using the thumb of the opposing hand, massage around each cuticle and nail. Slowly rotate each finger, and then rotate the wrist. Gently twist the fingers of the opposing hand up and down each finger. Work the lotion up to the elbow, massaging the arm. Switch to the other hand.

8. Wipe any extra lotion off of the hands with a clean, dry towel. Rub towel gently over each nail and around each cuticle to remove any excess lotion.

9. Apply polish or clear coat. Let the polish dry, then apply the second coat.

Giving yourself a manicure once a week will keep your hands looking healthier, younger and more sophisticated.