Similar to the way that giving up certain foods and "eating clean"can help detox your body, taking a break from polish can have a similar healthy effect on your nails. Especially when you're prepping for a wedding. "Taking a two- to four-week nail cleanse before your big day is ideal," says New York manicurist Jin Soon Choi. "Your nails will grow and rejuvenate more efficiently. Polish also lasts longer when your nails are healthy." Here, her steps to getting the perfect no-polish manicure.
1. File your nails.
Choi uses her Diamond Nail File, but any will do. If you choose a file with a slightly coarse texture, file in one direction since the rough grit can damage your nails, she says. If you use a file with a fine grit, it's ok to file back and forth in both directions.
2. Apply cuticle oil.
Choi recommends using one that's enriched with vitamins and rubbing it into both cuticles and nail beds. Try Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail & Cuticle Oil.
Place your fingers in a bowl of warm whole milk (full-fat milk is the most moisturizing, she says) for three to five minutes. For even better results, add a few drops of nourishing vitamin E oilin the mix.
4. Push back cuticles.
Apply another helping of cuticle oil, then gently push them back with a tool like Tweezerman's Cuticle Pusher and Nail Cleaner. (It's Choi's fave!)
Saturate a cotton ball in non-acetone nail polish remover and use it to remove any remaining oil and grease from your nails.
To get that shiny top-coat-like look, take a two-way buffer — they're gentler, so you won't harm the nail bed — and softly rub the coarse side against nails to even out the surface, then flip it over to the smooth side for that reflective finish. Choi likes Revlon's Crazy Shine Nail Buffer.
7. Finish with a generous dollop of hand cream.