Self-care is always important, but while we are social distancing, it’s become an even greater focus. The only issue is that most of Us aren’t skilled nail technicians and don’t know how to properly care for our nails, whether that means applying polish on both hands without getting it all over your fingers, removing a gel manicure without picking it off and more.
Luckily, Tom Bachik, the “MANicurist” behind Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Margot Robbie, Katy Perry, Charlize Theron and more stars’ flawless nails, is here to help. And for starters, he says one of the benefits to having a fresh mani is that it can help boost your mood.
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“For many people, there’s something about having their nails done that makes them feel complete and put together, regardless of the surrounding circumstances,” he tells Stylish.
“In light of everything, make color fun, loving and happy. It’s good for the soul,” Bachik dishes. “We’re heading into summer and the colors are bright and festive — bright blues, seafoam greens, deep lavenders, rich corals and intense yellows,” the celebrity manicurist says.
As far as trends, expect to see a ton of metallic accents and effects (a shimmery gold lacquer is available in his Tom Bachik for LVX 4-Piece Nail Red Carpet Color Kit.) “I think everyone loves sparkle. … All the top designers are accenting looks with different sparkle effects, so what better way to accent and complete a look than with sparkle on the nails?”
And Gomez and Lopez are both on board. “Jen and Sel are into deep, rich shades as we head out of spring, but transition into vivid brights, and of course sparkle from shimmery effects to Swarovski crystal accents,” he explains.
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“When Jen and I are working, we try to change her nails as often as the outfit, slight exaggeration,” he jokes. “When she has time to herself, she likes a more simple look like a fresh white or sexy nude nail with an effect of some sort, keeping it true J.Lo.”
Now that we know the shades and chic details to look out for, how do we get our nails ready to apply the polish masterfully? First, make sure to remove your current gel polish mani with care.
“Use a medium-coarse file to gently remove the shine from your nails and spend a little time to file and reduce the color while you’re at it. This will allow the remover to penetrate and break down the gel more effectively and be careful not to file into the natural nail,” he says.
From there, “Soak a cotton ball in remover and place it on the thumb nail and wrap in aluminum foil. Repeat this on the remaining four fingers and wait 5-10 min depending on the product used, as all gel polishes are not the same.”
Next, “Use an orange wood stick, which is the safest, or a cuticle pusher, but make sure to be gentle if using a metal version and gently scrape the gel off from the cuticle to the free edge in the direction that the nails grow,” Bachik recommends. “I’m in the midst of curating a set of implements with Tweezerman with nail clippers, cuticle pusher and nippers that are both high quality and affordable.”
What not to do: “If the gel doesn’t easily come free from the nail don’t continue to scrape as the gel is still adhered to the natural nail. Simply reapply the cotton with remover and foil to the nail and wait a few more minutes,” he says.
Then it’s time to file ‘em down to your desired shape. “The trend seems to be more square shaped at the moment, which keeps a strong lower arch adding to the strength by design, like a bridge. … Remember gel polish adds a layer of strength to your nails. Once it’s, removed, so is that protection and your natural nails we be more prone to cracking and breaking. Shortening the length of your natural nails after gel removal will lessen that chance,” he dishes.
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Finally, you’re ready for polish. “The only way to get better with your opposite hand is practice, practice, practice, but for longer wear, cleanse nails with alcohol just prior to polishing. I use 90% to help prevent bubbles and then roll the polish vigorously between hands instead of shaking,” he suggests.
“Then apply a base coat, 1-2 coats of color and a top coat in thin, even layers for longer wear and a quicker dry time.”
Finish off with by rehydrating your nails. “Use a great cuticle oil or cream nightly. This alone will help to solve most of your normal cuticle issues. It’s like a mani in a bottle and you will also notice a difference in your natural nails,” he shares.
“Look for a natural oil containing ingredients like Jojoba and Vitamin E. … I also love using luxe facial oils like Chanel and La Mer on the cuticles and hands of my clients. … I am currently developing a natural nail recovery kit launching in April for those who have removed gel or acrylic or just have over processed and dehydrated nails and cuticles from all the current hand washing with antimicrobial soaps and hand sanitizers,” Bachik reveals.
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