Back to Basics: Nail Care
For most women, having healthy, strong nails is top of the beauty agenda. And who doesn't want beautiful hands and nails? But when it comes to nail care, many women think the only option is booking a professional manicure. It's not!
Now, we're not saying manicures aren't essential. They are. In fact, especially nowadays, they're a great excuse to practice self-care. But if you want your mani to look its best for as long as possible, it's worth devoting a bit of time to a nail care routine.
Let's take a look at how to prep for a perfect DIY manicure!
- Use Nail Polish Remover
Beautifully painted nails don't last forever. Before you book another regular or gel manicure, you should remove the leftover nail polish with nail polish remover so you have a nice, clean base to start with.
Don't pick or scrape the flaking polish as it could damage the nail. Instead, invest in a good quality nail polish remover that contains acetone solvent to break down the nail polish.
To do this, soak a cotton ball or pad with remover and apply it to the fingernail. Hold for 10 seconds, then swipe it around the nail until the polish disappears. Wash your hands well with soap and water, and dry thoroughly.
- Moisturize Your Cuticles
Keeping cuticles healthy is crucial, as they protect the nail bed from bacterial and fungal infections.
Cuticles are like the rest of your hands - they need a lot of care to prevent them from becoming dry and cracked. This can lead to the nail becoming damaged or infected. So what can you do? Moisturize them!
Opt for a hydrating cuticle oil or cream that contains vitamins A, C, and E. Or look to the kitchen for natural oils such as almond or sunflower oil. Moisturizing your cuticles will keep them soft and prevent hangnails - annoying, hard bits of skin that occur around the side of the nail.
Follow up with a cuticle pusher or orange stick to gently push back the cuticles at the base of the nail.
Product pick: Truly's Pineapple Haze Body Balm.
- Use an Emory Board to File Your Nails
To maintain healthy nails and give them a nice nail shape, you will need a nail file. Nail files come in 3 types: emery boards, metal, and glass.
Start by cutting long nails if needed, using clean clippers. Then file the nails using the rougher side first, moving from one side to the middle, then alternate. Make sure you file at an angle and avoid sawing back and forth, as this can damage the nail.
- Use a Base Coat
A base coat is a clear, protective liquid used to protect the natural nail from the pigment in nail polish. Manicures last longer when you use a base coat. They also provide a better texture to your polished nails and protect the nail from staining and peeling. It is important to use a base coat each time you use nail polish.
A general rule of thumb: the darker the nail polish color, the more essential it is to use a base coat. That said, base coats protect the nail and provide a better base for the nail polish. To use, make sure the nail area is clean, and that old nail polish is removed beforehand.
Apply the base coat first, and leave to dry. One coat is enough!
- Apply Nail Polish
The last stage in a manicure is to apply nail polish - the fun part!
From buying your favorite nail color to applying it, there's just something calming and relaxing about applying nail polish.
To start with, make sure you're doing your manicure at a table (or on any flat surface!). Nails need to be clean, dry, filed, and base coat applied.
Shake the nail varnish to get rid of air bubbles that can end up on the nails! Start in the middle of the nail from the cuticle to the nail tip, using thin layers at a time. Leave it to dry and then repeat. Finish with a top coat to prevent chipping. While using top coat is optional, we do recommend it!
If you want an instant manicured look, why not invest in acrylic nails? Also known as false nails, acrylic nails are easy to use, and come in a wide range of styles and colors. Look at YouTube tutorials if you've never used them before. And if you're feeling particularly creative, try your hand at nail art!
- Finish with a Hand Lotion
You can't have beautiful nails surrounded by cracked and rough skin. Hands are actually a giveaway on age, so keep them moisturized regularly to prevent those fine lines and dark spots from appearing. Any dermatologist will advise investing in a good moisturizer to keep your hands soft and youthful.
Every day, your hands are in contact with water - an extremely drying element. That's why you should make hand lotion a part of your daily skincare routine to keep them soft and smooth.
Product pick: Truly's Body Star Perfecting Cream.
Other Nail Care Tips
If you want to keep your hands looking their best, but you don't have time to book a manicure, relax. You can do it yourself!
You can take care of your nails and hands by implementing a nail care routine complete with the right products and nail tools. It's waaay easier than you think!
You can also prevent breakage, nail polish chipping, and brittle nails by lessening your hand-washing sessions. And be sure to wear gloves for all of those cleaning tasks to prevent the nail bed from weakening.
In the meantime, always keep a nourishing tube of hand cream next to the sink, in your bathroom, and bedroom to remind you to use it. Try to slather your hands in lotion every time you wash your hands to prevent your skin and nails from drying out.
If your nails are particularly dry and brittle, consider taking biotin supplements. Alternatively visit your dermatologist for advice.