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Top tips for manicure prep and aftercare

  • 4 min read

Whether you go for the natural look with a DIY manicure or have invested in a spa session with a glossy gel manicure, you need to know the best manicure aftercare tips, and what to do to prepare for your manicure.

If you want a hassle-free DIY manicure at home then taking care of your nails is a number one priority. Or if you splash the cash on your manicure then you want to know the best manicure aftercare so that the look lasts as long as possible, and your nails aren’t left damaged. 

How to prepare for a manicure

Let’s start with how to prepare your nails and hands for a manicure. Knowing how to prep nails for a manicure will help in two primary ways: the strength and health of your nails and skin, and also ensuring that your manicure looks absolutely fabulous. 

Here are our top manicure prep tips: 

1. Clean well

Your starting point should be to clean your nails effectively, including under them. Start with a wash using a gentle hand wash and use a nail brush to clean as well as possible under the nails. 

Then, use acetone-free nail polish remover to really clean your nails. We recommend this even if you’re not removing old polish as it is best for getting rid of stubborn dirt or dust. It also removes excess surface oil so that your new polish – whether gel or paint – will adhere well.

2. Tidy, file and buff

Next, get to work on tidying your nails ready for the polish. Consider the nail shape that you want to choose. You may like to keep your nails short and rounded, or perhaps a square tip is what you’re after. 

Gently clip if they are much longer than the length you ultimately want. Then file your nails, taking care. Start on one side and file only in one direction, rather than using a back-and-forth motion. Then do the same on the other side. Take care to only file as much as you need to, as too much filing can chip or split your nail. Choose an emery board rather than a metal file.

If you’re preparing your nails for a gel manicure, take a buffer and gently use it to create a smooth surface using gentle movements. 

3. Oil and cuticles

Knowing how to prepare cuticles for a manicure is essential for perfect polish and a neat look. Did you know our face serum doubles up as an excellent cuticle oil? Work in a few drops of serum to your cuticles. Not only will this make your cuticles pliable and your nail bed strong, it makes it much easier and more comfortable for gently pushing back your cuticles as part of your manicure prep. Use a cuticle tool and work gently.

4. Exfoliate your hands

Beautiful nails only look their best when the skin on your hands is fresh and radiant. As part of your manicure aftercare, you’ll want to avoid exfoliation. So do it now, as part of your manicure prep. Choose one of our popular coffee scrubs and massage the scrub gently over your hands, giving them some much needed attention. 

5. Moisturise

Your last step in how to prepare your nails for a manicure is to moisturise your hands with a nourishing hand cream rich in shea butter. This ensures your hands are in tip top condition, ready for your manicure.

Now you know how to prepare for a manicure, it’s time to move on to how to look after your freshly manicured nails and hands. Let’s look at our aftercare advice for a manicure and pedicure.

Manicure aftercare advice

Aftercare for a manicure is essential to ensure your nails look as they did immediately after the manicure for as long as possible. But manicure aftercare is also important for the health of your nails and the skin on your hands. Here are our best manicure aftercare tips.

1. Take your time

Treat your manicure (including your DIY one) as a chance to slow down and be pampered. Many manicures are ruined simply by rushing too much. For example, not enough time is left between moisturising your hands and nails before applying polish, or not enough time is left after polish application for it to fully dry. Slow down, take it easy, and enjoy this relaxing moment!

2. Protect

Life happens, but you can look after your manicure by protecting your nails in several different ways. Pop on gloves when you garden and reach for the Marigolds when you wash up or do the cleaning. This also stops your nails and hands being exposed to any harsh cleaning agents. 

When typing, or using your phone, take care to use the pads of your fingers rather than the nails or tips. When you wash your hands, take care to dry them fully, as extended water on your nails and skin can dry them out.

3. Love your moisturising!

A key part of aftercare for a manicure is to moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! 

The UpCircle Hand Cream deeply moisturises your hands, cuticles and nail bed, helping your manicure to last as long as possible. Anyone can use it as its base, shea butter, is excellent for all skin types. Any lingering redness from an overzealous manicure will be soothed by the marshmallow root. Importantly, we use hibiscus flower acids rescued from the flower industry which contain 0.1-1% AHAs to help your skin work against daily exposure to pollution and revive.

What’s more, our hand cream is 100% plastic free, vegan, and natural. It smells fabulous too with floral hibiscus tones and grounding patchouli leaf oil. What more could you want? It’s definitely the hand cream to use as part of your manicure aftercare. 

Enjoying manicure prep and aftercare ensures your nails and hands look and feel fantastic! Explore our full range of vegan and cruelty-free products at UpCircle.