Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Nail Kit and 10 Step Manicure for Makeup Artists

As makeup artists our job doesn’t end once the face is done, the appearance of the body as a whole is our responsibility. When it comes to the hands and feet you should at the very least be making sure the nails are clean and tidy but a quick manicure or pedicure could be in order particularly when shooting beauty or if the models nails are in poor condition.

Here are some products you should carry in your nail kit:
Soft Toothbrush
Small Bowl
Nail Clippers
Emery Boards
Cuticle Oil
Cuticle Pusher/Orange Sticks
Cuticle Clippers
Nail Polish Remover – Must be oil free and suitable for both natural and fake nails.
Lint Free Nail Wipes
Pumice Stone
White Nail Pencil
Sanitiser (available at beauty supply stores)
Hand Cream
Top Coat
Nude Polish
Red Polish
2 or 3 Trend Colours

Check out this fab Tweezerman nail kit as a starter set.

10 Steps to achieve the perfect manicure.
1. Remove any old polish. By using lint free nail wipes you won’t get little bits of cotton wool flying around which can get stuck in your polish when painting the nails later!

2. Apply cuticle oil and soak in warm soapy water if required.

3. Gently push back the cuticle using either a cuticle pusher or an orange stick and remove any excess cuticle with the clippers. It is probably a good idea to practice this on yourself so you don’t hurt the model or cause any damage to the nail bed when working on others.

4. Shape the nails with an emery board. Nail shapes change over the years so pay attention to what is in fashion.

5. Lightly buff the nails to prep the nail, remove ridges and bring out shine.

6. Clean off the nails paying attention to under the finger nails with your soft toothbrush and bowl of water.

7. For a natural manicure dip the tip of your white pencil in water and use to whiten the underside of the nails. You can follow with a dry cotton bud to soften the look or even transfer the white from the pencil to the cotton bud and use the bud instead of the pencil to whiten under the nail for a softer look.

8. Clean the nails to prep for the polish by wiping with an oil free polish. Use your lint free wipes to help you achieve a flawless finish when painting.

9. Paint the nails paying close attention to the sides so there are no gaps and follow with a top coat for added shine and finish.

10. Finish up by using hand cream to bring life to the hands and improve the general appearance.

As you know time is always of the essence when working so practice on as many people you can to get your speed up and remember to sanitiser your tools after each use as you would with your brushes!


  1. This is actually one thing that pisses me off. Models coming to set w/ mangled hands. IMO it is the model's responsibility to come to set w/ clean, manicured nails. It's part of her package - like a clean face and a well toned body. Many times there isn't time to sit there and give a model a manicure on top of doing makeup & hair...although even as I say this I have on numerous occasions removed old chipped polish or painted nails.

  2. Great point Jessica! I definitely think a lick of polish on a fashion shoot or a little 5min mani when doing beauty has it's place but I couldnt agree more that models should be taking care of themselves and arriving to set with clean and tidy nails.

    Just about every other model seems to have had chipped black polish these last few weeks agghh! I usually ask the model to remove their polish while im doing the makeup ;)

  3. This is such a good post after reading Amy Chance's blog on why she carries nail colours to shoots.

    i alway have nail polish remover and files but i've been looking to expand that lately because i keep getting girls with jacked up nails. As if they are brick layers on their days off.

    i'm with Jessica. Girls, it's a package. Take care of that shit at home.

    Though i do plan to get better at giving manicures. but not pedicures. ugh. feet are yuck.

  4. I love Amy's posts on nails too Ashley! She has a new post where she mentions how she actually mixes polishes to get the look she wants.