My obsession with a good manicure started in high school. Not because I was cool or popular or even knew how makeup worked… nope, I started loving manicures because my big sister was going to school to become a nail tech and I became her guinea pig.

I was sixteen the first time Christina tried to put acrylic nails on my fingers. That first attempt took her hours and hours and the final product somehow looked more like toe nails than finger nails. We laughed until we cried.

It’s been almost seventeen years since I was a crash test dummy to help her study for state boards but my love of good nails is still with me. I love a manicure. I will let every other beauty regimen fall by the wayside when I’m busy but I am hardcore about my manicures and manicure care. So many readers write in asking me how I get my nails done and what I do in between sessions to keep them fresh so I thought I’d share my best manicure care tips. Here are my tried and true rules when it comes to nails, polish and good looking cuticles! 

  1. 1. Choose a signature color – My signature is Big Apple Red by OPI. Which is why you see it pop up over and over on my Instagram feed. It’s the perfect red for my skin tone, it feels like a power color and whenever I have something big coming up I think, “Got to go get my Big Apple on!” I’m sure it seems silly to other people but it really does make me feel like I can take on the world. Keep an eye out for a nail polish color that makes you feel like that and use it over and over. Also, if you can afford it, go for the gel manicure because it really does last for 2+ weeks. 
  2. 2. Make your manicure a regular thing – Back when I was a newlywed, I couldn’t afford to get my nails done. But I still made a weekly date with myself to file my nails and change out the polish while sitting on my bathroom floor and listening to Dolly Parton. Now that I’m older, I go every two weeks for a gel manicure but the sentiment is the same. Your nails are one of the first things people notice about you when they shake your hand. You don’t have to be into polish or designs, but please make sure they’re filed and chip free when you head out into the world. 

manicure 1

3. Find a Great Lotion – I carry hand lotion around like an old woman! It’s in my car, my purses, my backpack… seriously, any place I can think of. I love this neroli clementine lotion from Mor because it smells like heaven and is super moisturizing. But even basic bottles from the drug store work well to keep your hands smooth.

manicure 2

4. Try this cuticle hack! – Remember that episode of Rach Talk when I talked about my love for lanolin? Well it’s a real thing! Lanolin is for breast feeding mamas but its also a miracle for keeping your cuticles moisturized. I keep a bottle in my purse with my hand lotion and reapply once a day. I swear it keeps my manicure looking fresh until my next visit to the nail salon. 

manicure 3

5. Be mindful of those nails – Washing the dishes? Put on dish gloves sister! Like taking long baths? That’s awesome, but keep your hands above the waves. Painting a room? Gardening? Prepare yourself with gloves or wait until right before your next visit to the nail salon. Readers are always complaining that their manicures don’t last but when I ask them to explain their routines to me they’re like “Oh, I never wear dish gloves!” Or, “I type all day and my regular polish chips I never thought about gel”. You want your manicure to last? Take care of it!