Manicure and Pedicure Procedures | Toolbox Studio Salon

Manicure and Pedicure Supplies and Procedures

If you have read my past blog regarding safe choices for manicure and pedicure salons then you know I firmly believe as a consumer you need to be informed of safe measures and practices with regard to your personal health and safety. Do not assume that the technician is taking your wellness too seriously. That said I want to help explain proper techniques and systems for both a manicure and pedicure and some of the differences.

The goal of a manicure it to help facilitate a healthy nail plate and cuticle and to give it a clean and / or polished finish. You don’t need to know the full anatomy of the nail to pick a great technician however knowing a few things to look for can certainly help. The structure and health of the nail as well as clarity and color can tell a lot about your health.

Manicures-Pedicures and Nail Structure

The structure of the nail is divided into six parts: the root, nail bed, nail plate, eponychium, perionychium and hyponychium. Each of these six components has a specific function, and if a component is disrupted it can result in the abnormal appearance of the nail according to Nail Anatomy at About Health.

    • Nail Root:The root of the fingernail is also known as the germinal matrix. Its edge appears as a white crescent, known as the lunula. The root portion of the nail lies below the skin, underneath the fingernail, and it extends several millimeters into the finger. It produces most of the volume of the nail and the nail bed.
    • Nail Bed:The nail bed is also referred to as the sterile matrix. It extends from the edge of the nail root, or lunula, to the hyponychium. The nail bed contains blood vessels, nerves and melanocytes that produce melanin. As the root grows the nail, the nail streams down along the nail bed and adds material to the underside of the nail to make it thicker. When the nail grows properly, the nail bed is smooth, but if it doesn’t grow correctly, the nail may split or develop ridges that aren’t cosmetically attractive.
    • Nail Plate:The nail plate is the actual fingernail, and it’s made of translucent keratin. The pinkish appearance of the nail comes from the blood vessels underneath it. The underside of the nail plate has grooves that run along the length of the nail and help anchor it to the nail bed.
    • Eponychium:The eponychium is more commonly known as the cuticle. The cuticle is situated between the skin of the finger and the nail plate. It fuses these structures together and provides a waterproof barrier.
    • Perionychium:The perioncyhium is the skin that overlaps onto the sides of the nail plate, also known as the paronychial edge. The perionychium is the site of hangnails, ingrown nails and paronychia, a skin infection.”
    • Hyponychium:The hyponychium is the area between the nail plate and the fingertip. It is the junction between the free edge of the nail and the skin of the fingertip. It also provides a waterproof barrier.
Interested in learning more? Read more on this subject here About Health | Nail Anatomy

A qualified nail tech is going to understand all of these components and also have a clear knowledge of nail clarity as well. This is an area we pay close attention to at our Toolbox Studio Salon in Cincinnati. Take a look at this valuable information from Web MD.

“Your nails can tell you much more than whether you need a manicure. They’re packed with details about your health. They can show if you have an infection, a serious disease, or even how well you’re eating. To figure out what your nails might have to say, answer these questions.

Do they look pale or white?This could mean you have a low red blood cell count. White nails also can signal liver disease, diabetes, an overactive thyroid, heart failure or a lack of nutrients in your diet.

If your nails are mostly white with a narrow pink band at the tip, you have a condition called Terry’s nails. It can result from aging, but it can also herald diabetes or kidney, liver, or heart disease.

Are they yellow?

Nails that are thick, slow-growing, and yellow often point to lung diseases like emphysema or chronic bronchitis. Fluid in your lungs and hands also can lead to yellow nail syndrome. So can Raynaud’s phenomenon, which is caused by poor circulation to the fingers, toes, and nose. Yellow nails can even be a symptom of sinusitis, thyroid problems, and rheumatoid arthritis. Only your doctor can tell you what they mean.

Are your nail beds red?

Talk to your doctor. She’ll probably want to examine your heart.

Do you see thin red or brown lines?

They’re called splinter hemorrhages. They usually come from trauma to your nails or a fungal infection. They can also be from psoriasis, melanoma, or even an infection in the lining of your heart.

Are there lines that go from side to side?

These are called Beau’s lines. Sometimes they come along with a severe illness or injury. Or they might show up after. They’re also linked with Raynaud’s phenomenon. Most often, they’re a sign of stress.

Are your nails spoon-shaped?

Your nails get thin and dip down in the middle, sometimes with raised ridges. It can be a sign of heart disease, trauma, lupus, low thyroid, or a problem with iron — either too little or too much.”

When you manicure your nails it is important to know a few things first.

What type of maintenance does the client want and is the area to be manicured healthy and safe for you to work.

You should look for any areas that seem irritated, tears in the skin, rashes or any other area that may not be safe to work on. Always make sure that you have completed a proper consultation and you and the guest have agreed on the proper path for the service.

I make a rule of thumb with my clients and always ask if they would like to have cuticles cut or simply buffed and cleaned up. You never want to cut skin that you feel can make a client bleed. Should this happen you need to have your styptic powder or first aid kit and be sure you have your protective gloves to keep both you and the client safe.

“What is sanitizing, disinfecting, and sterilizing?

There are three levels of decontamination that we need to know about.

The lowest level is sanitation, which significantly reduces the number of disease-causing microorganisms considered to be disease-causing, considered to be safe by regulating public health bodies. Disinfecting is the middle level which destroys microorganisms and most disease causing pathogens on non-living surfaces and pre-cleaned surfaces. And the highest level of decontamination is sterilization, which completely destroys all living organisms on an object or surface.

Most salons will meet minimum standards and at least disinfect their tools. By the way, disinfect means using a product which has been registered with the EPA and contains the term ‘disinfectant’. This means it is bactericidal, fungicidal, and virucidal, all good things as far as you are concerned. They should be disinfecting for at least 10 minutes, which is the appropriate dwell time for the product to effectively wipe out that bacteria.”

Manicure & Pedicure Procedure and Supplies Needed

“Once you have all supplies you will proceed with your manicure or pedicure service.


          • non-acetone nail polish remover and cotton balls
          • nail file
          • buffing block
          • sugar scrub to exfoliate
          • orangewood stick
          • cuticle oil
          • moisturizer
          • nail polish (base coat, color, and top coat)

7 Step Procedure for Manicures & Pedicures

Step 1 – Start with a Clean Nail

A clean nail is going to be the most important, remove all nail polish from the nail plate with a non-acetone nail polish remover; this is gentler and will still get the polish off.  You can pick up an inexpensive remover from any discount store. 

Step 2 – Shaping the Nails

File and Shape the nail.  A good nail shape will complement your finger. There are many to choose from but keep in mind what you do each day, a long pointed nail may not be good for someone who uses their hands for work so consider a short blunt end with slightly rounded corners. Not only is that a durable shape it will require less filing and therefore the nail will be stronger.  When filing you want to go from outer corner to inner, this will also keep you from sawing on the top which can weaken the nail and cause splitting and tearing.  Once you have the desired shape look at all 10 and make sure they are as equal to each other as possible, this will also create unity and make your manicure look more professional.

Step 3 – Cuticle Care Technique

Cuticle care, any professional manicure will include cuticle care.  You can do this a couple of ways, a mild soapy finger or footbath or use a cuticle solvent found at stores like Sallies Beauty supply.   If you chose the finger bath simply fill a small bowl with warm water and hand soap, let fingers rest in the bath for 3-4 minutes, remove and gently push back the cuticle with a rounded edge cuticle pusher. 

Remember that this tissue is delicate and over pushing can create tears and make your finished manicure look bad.  If you choose a cuticle remover line Blue Cross simple use a q-tip and place a small amount of remover on each cuticle and allow to penetrate the cuticle for 1-2 minutes, remover with a damp cloth and pushing back cuticle gently.  Cuticle remover is a solvent so use with caution as this can irritate the skin if left on too long.  Once you have pushed back the cuticle you can then trim any excess skin from the nail.  It is extremely important to trim only the lifted loose skin and not the skin still attached as this can be live tissue and you will cause tiny cuts and tears which can then lead to infection and nail damage.

Step 4 – Nail Health | Oil & Buff

Oil and Buff, Cuticle oil is a fantastic resource for the health of the nail.  You will want to put just a small dab on each nail and then use a soft buffer to push into the nail. This will provide nutriment to the nail plate and also give you a really smooth finish for our polish.   Keep in mind also that you never want to over buff the nail, this will also weaken the surface and cause bruising on the nail plate which can look like tiny white spots.

Step 5 – Exfoliating Correctly

Exfoliate, you can exfoliate with a foot file or body/hand scrub.  If you don’t have a hand scrub it can be easily made at home.  Use a small amount of sea salt and any good oil, such as Almond Oil, Grapeseed Oil or even Olive Oli.  Use this to give a gentle massage on the hands and feet.  Once complete you can remove with a hot towel or rinse in the sink.  If you have a foot file you should soak the feet for at least 5 minutes prior to filing, this will soften the callus and give you a better result.  Always remember to file each spot for only 30 seconds or less as to not create heat and too much friction, this can result in a very sore foot.  Any callas that cannot be removed with ease should be left to a professional like a podiatrist.

Step 6 – The Foot Massage for Pedicures

Massage, this is always the best part. Just because you are doing an at home manicure or pedicure doesn’t mean you need to eliminate the massage.  Find a hand or foot cream and massage the feet or hands for a few minutes, this will not only feel good but it will balance the color of the skin after all the other work you just did and make the skin look healthier and smooth.

Step 7 – Final manicure & Pedicure Clean and Polish

Clean and polish but Do Not ever put nail polish on a nail with water or oil. Oils from lotions or other products will create a barrier and the polish will not last.

    • First use a lint free wipe and remover any trace of oil from each nail.  You can find nail prep removers at most discount stores, however if you have rubbing alcohol you can use this as well.  Use only a small amount as it can be drying to the surface. Once removed you are ready for polish.  Keep in mind that once you apply the polish you should allow for 30-40 minutes of uninterrupted time. This is HARD! But so important to the final look of your hard work.  
    • Find a place that your hands can lay flat and not get bumped. Apply a thin coat of base polish, this is a clear coat that will set the tone for the color coat. It also creates a barrier for the stain of the nail polish and will help to keep your nail looking clean and healthy once removed. 
    • My favorite base coat if CND (Creative Nail Design ) Sticky Base, this creates a tape like base and will help to hold your color longer and it dries super-fast!  
    • Next apply the color, this should be done in thin coats, use a small amount on the brush so you don’t flood the cuticle and sides of the nail.  When you place the brush down don’t do it down by the cuticle, set it down in the middle. This will help you to gently work the correct amount on each nail.  When applying the first coat don’t worry about complete coverage you can fill in areas on the second round. 
    • Complete all 10 and let them set for 3 minutes.  Then repeat that step and this time be sure to cover the whole nail, again use a small amount and your finished product will look better.  
    • Once the color is applied use a top coat, this will give the polish a high shine and keep it looking better longer.  Same rule as polish use a small amount, a helpful trick to removing polish from the skin, use a tiny dab of the top coat on the polish on the skin, then use the flat end of a tooth pick and lightly scrape the excess polish off! Works the a dream and can prevent you from using nail polish remover which can ruin all of your hard work.   

Now that you have your at home manicure or pedicure it’s time to dry!  Fingers will need about 30-40 minutes and toes need at least an hour before socks and shoes!  If you have some cuticle oil you can place a small amount on each nail about 5 minutes after the final coat and this will expedite the drying time, seems odd I know but it does work! 

So there you have it, a professional manicure or pedicure at home.   It will take some time but it can save you a bunch of money and if you invest in good products, you allow for the correct amount of time and you can be patient you can create a beautiful finished product right in your own kitchen! 

SUPPLIES USED: Nail file Buffer Non acetone nail polish remover Cuticle solvent (Blue Cross) Manicure tools- clippers, pusher, cuticle trimmer Foot File Lint free pads Soap and water Lotion or massage cream Base coat, polish and top coat Cuticle oil Content goes here

toolbox studio salon Cincinnati, ohio

Toolbox Studio Salon
2037 Madison Rd
Cincinnati Ohio 45208
513 979-3203

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