9 Nail Care Rules To Live By
So you want strong, healthy nails and soft supple hands? Well, just like a daily skin care routine, you need to get into the habit of a regular nail care ritual.
As a manicurist, people always tell me their nail problems and ask me what they can do about them. Mostly it’s a simple case of ‘prevention is better than cure’.
Ideally, you should maintain your nails every week (or at least two), as well as daily application of cuticle oil and hand cream.
Let’s start with the weekly nail care...
If you need to trim, cut straight across, not around the nail, with nail scissors or clippers, (the same goes for toenails).
Once you have your desired length, then you can shape with a nail file – A 220-240 grit is ideal (the higher the number, the more gentle the grit).
File the sidewalls straight, downwards towards the tip. As well as creating a neat shape, this will give the look of length.
Naturally fanned out nails will benefit from this in particular. I like a squoval shape so I round off the corners slightly, filing inwards for a neat, soft look.
Whatever your preferred shape, always look straight on at the nail to help you.
It’s worth noting that the highest point of the nail should be down the length of the centre. Also, when you look down the end of your finger, your nail should form a slight arch, known as the C-curve.
Do not soak your nails first! This causes the nail to soften, making it vulnerable when filing. Nails also expand when soaked. The nail then contracts back as it dries, which can lead to polish chipping.
Water is actually one of the most damaging substances for nails because nails absorb much more water than the skin.
When the absorbed water evaporates, the layers of the nails break down, causing weak and peeling nails.
For this reason, I recommend having something on your nails (at least a base coat) for most of the time. Otherwise keep them well moisturised with oil and hand cream.
I recommend keeping cuticles neat and conditioned. Your manicure will look so much better.
Gently ease back cuticles with a stainless steel cuticle pusher to open up the area and clear the nail bed.
Doing this weekly or even fortnightly, will not only keep cuticles maintained, it will also gradually add length to your nail beds.
Next, use a superfine, gentle buffer to refine the surface of the nail, paying particular attention to the area where you’ve just pushed back the cuticle.
Don’t buff too much. You just want to stimulate blood flow and smooth the nail, not thin it out.
Harsh buffer blocks will scratch the surface of the nail. I recommend a 240 grit - I always use Bio Sculpture’s Grey Sponge Buffer.
Use cuticle nippers to remove any hangnails (skin around the cuticle that has become detached and catchy). If you really must, only trim excess cuticle.
Don’t go too far because you will be cutting off the eponychium, which is frequently mistaken for the cuticle.
The eponychium acts as a protective seal to stop bacteria from entering the nail and causing infection. When using cuticle nippers, just squeeze firmly. Don’t pull as you will tear the skin.
Keeping your cuticles pushed back and conditioned daily with cuticle oil, will prevent the need for trimming.
Squeak clean the nail with nail cleanser or polish remover. Preferably use a lint free wipe or a double-faced cotton pad, to prevent leaving fibres on the nail.
I highly recommend ZOYA Remove+, a gentle 3-in-1 nail polish remover, nail prep and hydrating nail conditioner, which guarantees longer polish wear. Plus, it’s available in a practical pump dispenser for one-handed use.
For most of the time I at least wear base coat. Occasionally, I massage oil directly into bare nail beds and leave overnight.