I have officially adopted the all natural manicure.
For years I envied friends, family, and colleagues who were great at maintaining beautifully manicured nails (how on earth did they find the time or energy?!). Sure, there were short spurts where I tried committing to weekly manicures but I always grew irritated by the amount of time and money I was spending on something that only lasted a week (…if I was lucky).
I became inspired to embrace the no polish manicure when I met a coworker who was SUPER chic. She had a great haircut, awesome style, and always looked put together. This was the type of girl who you would expect to sport perfectly polished nails, but no! She never wore polish. But she was able to pull it off and still appear professional because her bare nails were so naturally well kept (nicely shaped, buffed, and clean cuticles).
Benefits of a Natural Nail Manicure
Recent studies show that many mainstream nail polish brands contain dangerous chemicals that seep into our bodies via polish application. For instance, triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) might cause negative impacts on our reproductive and developmental health (source: EWG) and formaldehyde has been classified as a probable human carcinogen (source: cancer.gov). As a mother (who hopes to have more babies in the future) with a desire to live a long, healthy, and cancer-free life, this information makes me nervous!
A natural nail manicure eliminates all of these health risks by avoiding nail polish altogether.
DIY Natural Manicure Tools and Products
Mastering the no polish manicure at home is easy to do if you have the right tools and ingredients.
Essential Tools for a Natural Nail Manicure
5 Steps to a No Polish Manicure
Step 1: Olive Oil
Before doing anything else, remove your jewelry and place in a safe and secure location!
Soak nails and cuticles in olive oil for 10 minutes then rub the excess oil into your hands and forearms. I store olive oil in a small glass dropper with the rest of my nail tools so I don’t have to go to my kitchen each time I want to moisturize my cuticles.
If you’re interested in a store-bought cuticle moisturizer, I have used Burt’s Bees Cuticle Creme for years and highly recommend keeping one in your purse for moisturizing between treatments.
Step 2: Clip and File
I prefer a slightly rounded shape that follows the shape of my nail bed, but get as creative as you like! Some folks prefer more square or even long, pointy shapes (a la Khloe Kardashian if that’s what you’re into).
Step 3: Sugar Scrub
Scrub your nail beds and cuticles with a mix of 1 part sugar and 1 part olive oil. I like to take my time while I complete this step and really scrub off any dead skin, hangnails, and soften the cuticles for the next step.
Step 4: Cuticle Care
Wrap sugared hands in a warm, damp towel for a minute to loosen your cuticle skin, then wipe off the excess scrub.
Use an orange stick to push back your cuticles and use your damp towel to wipe away excess skin off the face of the nail.
If stubborn hangnails remain, use a cuticle trimmer to clip them away.
Step 5: Buff
This is my favorite step! Buff the face of each nail until they’re shiny and smooth, then put your jewelry back on. Now go out and show off your pretty hands!
Safer Nail Polish Options
If you still want to keep a bottle or two of nail polish on hand for special occasions, Wellness Mama put together a comprehensive nail polish guide. Her guide includes a number of “better-for-you” nail polish brands that might be worth trying.
I keep only 3 colors in my collection, a coral/red, a neutral/nude, and an inky black. I find that those three classic colors are appropriate for just about any work environment or special occasion and tend to match with most outfits.