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10 Steps to a Homemade, Toxin-Free Manicure This Summer

July 5, 2012
By Guest Blogger
|8Comments|


We all know how harmful the products we use can be for our general health, and nail polish is one of the worst offenders. Not to mention the preservatives and additional chemicals in the lotions and scrubs we use to keep our nails looking sexy. Fortunately, when we make products ourselves, we know exactly what is in them and can stay away from known carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. Try out this step-by-step guide to an at-home summer manicure that is completely toxin-free, and rest easy knowing you did it all on your own. Before you start, look below for easy ways to make at-home sugar scrubs, nail soaks, cuticle cream and body lotion. Try out the recipes and get started on your DIY makeover today!

You will need:
A nail file
Cuticle sticks
Cuticle clippers
Your non-toxic polish of choice
Your homemade nail soak
Your homemade sugar scrub
Your homemade cuticle cream
Your homemade vanilla body lotion
A clean towel
Nail polish remover and a flat brush

1. Shape Your Nails
You want to shape your nails when they are dry to get the best effect. Choose which nail shape you like best and use a picture to get started. If you have one or two fingers with nails that have broken, file all the rest down to that length to create an even look. File the nails from the corners to the center, using inward strokes. Stay away from the sides of your nails as this increases the risk of breakage and changes the shape of your natural nail bed.

2. Soak Hands
It’s time to break out the first of your at-home recipes for your hand soak. You can make a hand soak with several different kinds of ingredients, or with some simple non-toxic soap and water if you want to save time and money. Soak your hands for about 10 minutes. Here is a great recipe for a super-moisturizing nail soak:
- 2 tablespoons dried chamomile flowers
- 5 drips lavender oil (you can use any essential oils you like)
- 1 teaspoon almond oil
Steep the flowers in enough water to fill a medium soaking bowl, strain out the flowers, and add the oil.

3. Apply Cuticle Oil and Re-Soak
Before you start your manicure, prepare this wonderful cuticle oil from non-toxic DIY pro Sophie Uliano of GorgeouslyGreen.com. Rub it into your cuticles and continue soaking your hands.

4. Apply Sugar Scrub
Once your hands are soft, take them out and apply your homemade sugar scrub to exfoliate. To make the scrub, take about ½ cup of sugar and put it in a small bowl. Add olive oil until the sugar is damp. Spread over your hands and forearms and scrub.

5. Rinse
With the scrub still on, dip your hands back into the hand soak and rub until the sugar has dissolved. Finish rinsing under the faucet until your hands are completely clean.

6. Dry
Gently dry your hands with the clean towel. Rub your cuticles with edge of the towel to remove excess skin and loosen the cuticle area.

7. Push back cuticle
Use your cuticle stick to gently push back the cuticle of each nail. You can also use the stick to remove excess skin and dirt from under the nails. Be careful with cuticle trimmers. The best thing to do is leave cuticles alone as much as you can and simply use the trimmers to remove loose skin and hangnails.

8. Lotion, Lotion, Lotion
Before you start your manicure, try out this lotion recipe from Gorgeously Green so you can use a completely toxin-free moisturizer for this step. This delicious Nontoxic Vanilla Body Cream, courtesy of Sophie Uliano, is the perfect way to finish this manicure. Rub a large amount of lotion onto each hand and slowly massage it into your palms, the tops of your hands, your wrists and forearms. Take some time to massage the lotion into your cuticle area. You may even want to do a second coat on your cuticles and let the lotion sit a bit to smooth any rough patches.

9. Apply Polish
Now, for the most important part! Since you want to keep this manicure completely toxin-free, choosing the right nail polish will make all the difference. Look for brands that are water-based and free of free of DBP, formaldehyde and phalates. Check out the newest shades from popular non-toxic brands like Priti and Zoya, or grab the perfect shade of nude here in the water-based line, Suncoat. Clean your nails thoroughly with a towel to wipe off the lotion before you start painting. Go ahead and use a nail polish remover to remove excess paint around your cuticles (the pros do this with a flat brush dipped in remover), because that’s the best way to get that unwanted polish off and create a clean, professional look.

10. Let Nails Dry
Make sure not to let all your hard work go to waste, and take the time to let your nails dry fully before you head out to grab a coffee or start folding laundry. If you have a small self-standing fan, you can place your nails in front of it to speed up the process. Also, try to paint with thin coats to shorten drying time.

Jemima Lopez is a freelance blogger and writer who writes for Zen College Life, the directory of higher education, distance learning and best online colleges. 

Photo credit: TheKarenD



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8 responses to 10 Steps to a Homemade, Toxin-Free Manicure This Summer
  1. I have been some what worried about my manicures. I am eating very clean and juicing. I guess it would be a good start to begin with the nail polish and I could bring it to my manicurist. What do you think?

  2. I work in a salon and Zoya products are great. The colors are trendy and last as well as OPI and ESSIE. They have a whole line of lotions and soaps too. Added bonus- the polishes are cheaper than alot of the popular brands!

  3. Great post! I’m dying to try Zoya polishes.

  4. Don’t forget about how toxic nail polish remover is! Suncoat has a great corn & soy based remover. :)

  5. lisa said on July 6, 2012

    what do you use to remove polish? did i miss that here?

  6. I love Zoya polish. I just bought some off the web site – they had a special promotion (I think it expired yesterday) The polish lasts a long time and goes on really smoothly…

  7. I’m pretty sure that Zoya and Priti still contain harmful solvents, even though they are Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde and Toluene free (3-free).

    (Ladies, OPI is 3-free just like Zoya and Priti.)
    http://www.alllacqueredup.com/2007/05/big-3-chemicals-that-is.html#.UATvb458P18

    From what I understand, water based polish like Scotch Naturals and Suncoat are a much better alternative to solvent based polishes.

    Still, maybe just doing a buffed manicure is the safest? :-/

    (Believe me, I’m sighing. I love Hello Kitty, glitter sparkles, and french manicures on my nails just as much as you.)

  8. I’m pretty sure that Zoya and Priti still contain harmful solvents, even though they are Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde and Toluene free (3-free).

    (Ladies, OPI is 3-free just like Zoya and Priti.)
    http://www.alllacqueredup.com/2007/05/big-3-chemicals-that-is.html#.UATvb458P18

    From what I understand, water based polish like Scotch Naturals and Suncoat are a much better alternative to solvent based polishes.