The Natural Manicure
Nails can be beautiful without polish. I once had my nails “done” in a natural way at a salon for a television show where my hands would be very visible. I’ve outlined, below, how it was done.
The fumes from the solvents in nail polish can be overwhelming, and they are not good for you. There are few environmentally safe nail polishes or nail polish removers on the market. Some still contain toluene (toxic) and formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), a hormone disrupter.
There are some toluene and formaldehyde-free varieties, but there are none without petroleum solvents of some sort. Petroleum solvents are long lasting in the environment, and they are stored in body fat and passed on in breast milk. For more about DBP, and for a list of DBP-free nail polishes, read the Environmental Working Group’s report.
File, wash and soak nails, soften cuticles, clean and shape cuticles
File in one direction only, and always do this when your nails are dry. Wash your hands and soak in warm water or a fruit acid solution such as buttermilk or organic apple cider vinegar, before applying a cold-pressed fruit or nut oil into the cuticle area near the half-moon at the base of the nail. Use the blunt end of an orangewood manicure stick to gently push the cuticles back from the nails.
Sand and buff nails
Dry your hands completely. Sand and polish the top of each nail with a fine pumice-stone sand stick to remove any ridges. Do the same thing with a fine-grit block. Once the ridges are removed, smooth the top of the nail with a smoothing file and a buffing chamois. You’d be amazed at how shiny your nails will look following these steps, almost as if you were wearing a clear polish. You can choose a more natural, less-shiny matte finish if preferred, by not using the finest grade buffing files.
Massage your hands with a moisturizing cream or lotion.
By Annie B. Bond