Manicures maintain healthy nails and relieve stress from overworked wrists and hands. While part of their appeal is the pampering, manicures are an essential grooming step. We remember to brush our teeth and clean our hair. Nails and hands need their fair share of attention.

Color is fun, but it's really the icing on the cake. Essentially, a good manicure focuses on keeping hands and nails clean. Follow these steps for an effective mani.

  • Use an emery board to shorten and shape nails.
  • Moisten with olive oil, which keeps cuticles soft and nails shiny.
  • Push back cuticles (to avoid infection, be sure to push—not cut—cuticles, by making circular motions with a non-metal cuticle pusher).
  • Wash hands, and top with clear polish for shine (or coat with color if you prefer). 

Read more at-home spa techniques: