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Wedding Nail Tips from a Professional Manicurist

by Jennifer Leung, Licensed Manicurist and Salon Owner


When it comes to wedding, much attention is spent on wedding gown, makeup, cake, etc. But the nails are often left until the last minute. As a result when close-ups of your hands are taken at cake-cutting and other precious moments, the nails made those pictures look less than perfect.


Plan Ahead

The best nails cannot be done days before the wedding, you must plan at least three months ahead. If your nails are too short, it will take couple months to grow to the shape you want. If they are brittle, soak it in lemon or lime juice daily. It will make them stronger. If there are cracks in your nails, they can be mended by silk wrap. Most nail techs can do them in a salon.

Types of Nails to Get

There are basically 3 types of nails you can get. Which one to pick depends on your nails’ condition.

Artificial Nails

These are essentially fake nails. Most commonly there are 2 types: acrylic and gel. They are basically the same thing in terms of the result. The application process, however, is different. Most people have acrylic because they have been around longer. If your nails cannot grow long enough for the wedding or if they break easily when they become long, a nail tech can extend your natural nails by gluing plastic tips to them, then cover them with either acrylic or gel. The problem with artificial nails is that it takes time to get used to if you have not had it before. Plus the chemicals are not kind to your natural nails. If you have never had artificial nails before and decide to have it, try it at least couple months before the wedding. Whenever a nail tech takes off the acrylic or gel on your nails, they use acetone and probably some electric filing as well. Both of them do some damage to your natural nails. In case you decide not to go with artificial nails and want them taken off, you must give your natural nails time to heal.

Soak-off Gel (e.g. Shellac, Gellish, etc.)

These are essentially special nail polish that are more resistant to chipping and therefore can stay longer. This is the choice if you want your polish to stay longer on your natural nails. Soak-off polish require UV lamp to dry. If they are chipped, you need to go back to a nail salon to fix them which will be difficult right before or on the wedding day.

Regular Nail Polish

The best thing about using regular nail polish is that they are easy to fix and maintain. You can fix a chip yourself at the last minute if you have the polish. They tend to become dull in a few days and most manicures with regular nail polish last from 4 to 7 days. To make them last longer and to keep the look fresh I recommend getting a bottle of quick dry top coat and apply it on the wedding day.


More Than Nails

Very often I have clients who neglected their cuticle and their hands. So their nails are beautiful in the pictures but around the nails the cuticles are dry, cracked and sticking out. Care of your cuticle and hands is critical to have the perfect pictures. The skin does not heal in days. So you need to prepare 3 months ahead.

Care of cuticle includes trimming the dead skin and moisturizing the cuticle with cuticle cream daily. Make sure your nail tech only cuts the dead skin that sticks out. Do not cut any live tissues or cut aggressively. The more live tissues you cut, the more dead skin will appear. Pushing cuticle is ok but only slightly.

Moisturize your hands often with lotion with SPF. You can exfoliate them with simple scrub that can be made easily at home with sugar, olive oil and essential oils of your choice. Hand peel is okay too, except that you should try it couple months ahead if you never have it before, just in case there is allergic reaction. Most importantly wear gloves when doing chores or gardening work. No amount of lotion can undo damages from constant bombardment of cleaning agents.

Color, Color, and More Colors!

Most vendors like OPI and Essie have bridal collections every year. They are mostly of pastel tone. Obviously you should decide the color theme of your wedding or even pick out the wedding gown before deciding on the colors. Many salons don't have these bridal collections in stock. You may need to ask them to order for you or get them yourself. Some colors are not made specifically for wedding but are popular pink colors all year round. They are OPI's Bubblebath, Essie's Mademoiselle, Fiji...etc. Most salons stock them but not guaranteed. So call ahead of time.

Are Nail Designs Too Much?

You don't buy a plain wedding gown, why would you have just plain nail colors? Adding design, even simple ones, can add depth to your appearance. Usually nail colors do not stand out as much as the designs. Having simple designs like flowers, stones or glitter “half moon” makes all pictures of your hands memorable. Years from now you may not remember what nail colors you have on your wedding, but you will definitely see what designs you had.




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