This is an amalgamation of tips, tricks and techniques I have learned from a wide variety of other bloggers. Don't take it as gospel, this is the stuff that works for my nails, budget and lifestyle. It's a good starting point if you don't know much about nail care. I will provide some links to more experienced and thorough posts at the bottom - so if you're already a nail junkie just skip to the end!
Right now my nails are the longest, and probably the strongest they've ever been. I've changed my whole routine in regards to my nails. Here's the low-down:
Cutting, filing, etc
- Nail clippers are for toe nails and hang nails! If you like having shorter nails, then you may want to clip them every once in a while. However, if you have the patience, filing is much gentler on your nails and allows far more control over the shape.
- When you do file, do your general shaping with a cardboard emery board. Unless your nails are hard as rocks, a metal nail file can actually do a lot of damage.
- All nicely shaped and smoothed? Do your fine-tuning with a glass or crystal nail file. Yes, these buggers are very expensive compared to your standard emery board, but they provide a super-smooth edge and do the least amount of damage to the nail. When you have your desired shape it's very easy to maintain with just a glass file. Plus if you manage not to break or lose them, they last much longer than emery boards.
- If you need to buff, use a buffing block, not a file and be very sparing. NEVER file the top of your nail if you can avoid it.
- Get some cuticle oil and some hand cream. Apply both as often as possible! An oil-rich hand cream is best, but if you don't like your mitts feeling greasy, a lighter cream is definitely better than nothing. Healthy cuticles are essential to healthy nails. I swear by Palmers Olive Butter with Vitamin E concentrated cream.
- I don't personally push, trim or remove my cuticles but that's just because mine are super fragile. See the links at the end of the post if you want info on that.
- DON'T soak your nails, and don't clip/file them just out of the shower or after doing dishes. Your nails are in a weak state when they're waterlogged and it's easy to damage. Wait until they're nice and dry before doing anything other than moisturise.
|picture from http://www.beautylish.com|
- The most effective type of nail polish removers contain acetone. However, you will need to moisturise after using it because it dries the skin out quite severely. Make sure you're in a ventilated area too!
- Don't peel your nail polish off. I know it's tempting, but whenever you do, you also pull away bits of your nail, making the nail bed weaker. Not good!
- If you have problem nails, consider buying a treatment base coat - something that will harden/hydrate/whiten your nails even as you wear polish. I'm currently using Gelous Advanced Nail Gel Coat. I've noticed a huge improvement in the strength of my nails. This is because it contains formaldehyde, one of the 'big 3' nail polish ingredients. Read about the issues with formaldehyde in Lad Muffin's excellent Big 3 series here.
- Fast dry top coats make your manicures last longer and eliminate dry time. I don't paint my nails without it any more! I use either Revlon Quick Dry or CND Speedey.
- Get a thin paint or eyeshadow brush and designate it for nails only. If you're a messy painter, you can dip this brush in nail polish remover and use it to get that clean, sharp edge on your polish. Works fine for getting polish out of cuticles too - just be sure to moisturise afterwards!
Anatomy of the nail
Teabagging (repairing a broken nail)
DIY nail polish remover
"Big 3" nail polish ingredients
Foil method for removing glitter polish