Manicures can be extremely satisfying – who can resist a pampering session that ends off with us stepping out from the salon with beautifully adorned nails?
Unfortunately, sometimes regular manicures can drive us down a vicious cycle: regular manicures can weaken and damage our nails, and we try to hide damaged nails with more manicure sessions.
There’s only one way to get out of this toxic relationship – care for your nails the right way! Here are 17 nail care tips that will help you keep your nails healthy – and they’re what you need to abide by if you regularly go for manicures!
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1. Quit biting your nails!
Everyone knows that chewing and sucking at your nails is bad – that’s because your nails trap bacteria that you definitely wouldn’t want to consume. Nail biting can also cause infection around your nails and if you’re a chronic nail-biter, it’s likely that you’ll end up with a bad nail shape that’s hard to correct over time. And if you chew off too much of your nails, you might even get a hangnail.
2. Wear protective gloves
Always wear rubber gloves when you are doing the dishes or laundry. Cleaning agents contain strong chemicals that can be drying to not only your hands and nails in the long run.
3. Clean and moisturise
Keeping your hands clean and moisturised help improve the health of your nails. Just like how you’d take care of your skin, consider giving your hands and nails a gentle scrub and then let them enjoy the full benefits of a moisturiser. The best (and most pampering!) time to do this would be before you head to bed!
4. Cuticle oil
How healthy your cuticle is attributes a lot to how your manicure will look. Dry and messy cuticles make a manicure look shabby and this is why we go for classic manicures. But here’s a more economic way of up keeping your cuticles – cuticle oil. Although you can also use hand cream, cuticle oil does a better job since it is more concentrated than hand creams. Cuticle oil hydrates and calms your nail beds, facilitates nail growth and has a big effect on how long your manicure can look good for.
5. Don’t cut your cuticles!
Cuticles actually serve the purpose of protecting your nail beds from infection. So, refrain from cutting your cuticles yourself and make sure your manicure artist don’t do it too. Instead, request for your nail artist to gently push your cuticles back.
6. Keep your nails short
Yes, long nails may make your hands look elegant and feminine, but they are harder to care for. Besides chipping off more easily, they are also less hygienic. Trimming your nails regularly and keeps them healthier too.
7. Schedule rest days
It’s not a good ideas to have nail polish on your nails for all 365 days of the year. As a general rule of thumb, leave your manicure on for no more than two weeks, and then go on a two-week break minimally.
8. Try nail stickers
Nail stickers are less damaging alternative to manicures. Remember your “rest days” (previous point)? If you absolutely can’t go with bare nails because you want to look at your best at a special event, you can consider nail stickers so your nails still look good while on a break. Note that these stickers shouldn’t stay for too long on your nails too.
9. Keep your nail tools clean
Just like how we regularly clean our make up brushes and sponges, the same should be done for our nail tools too. For disposable emery boards, try to replace them occasionally as bacteria may build up. Always wash them and leave them to dry or use a brush to dust them after each use. For metal tools, wash them with soap or use rubbing alcohol to disinfect them.
10. Use good nail polish
Just like how we look at the ingredients used in facial products or makeup, go for known brands that are trusted by nail artists, and if you have a choice, choose toxic-free nail polishes. Most of these, toxic-free nail polishes promise to exclude chemicals such as dibutyl, toluene, and formaldehyde in their formula.
10. Never skip base coats
If you’ve ever applied a strong colour onto bare nails without a base coat, you’d notice how much your nails get stained when you attempt to remove it. This is why applying a base coat is important, even if you’re painting your nails yourself. Plus point? It helps your manicure stay on longer too.
11. Go for gentler nail polish removers
Opt for nail polish removers that do not contain acetone. Although acetone is the fastest and easiest way to remove your nail polish, it is not the best for your nails. It dries out your nails and skin and is harsh. Instead, go for oil-based nail polish removers.
12. Stop peeling off gel nail polish
Gel manicures definitely last longer than express manicures, however they are difficult to remove too. You usually have to go to a nail salon to get them soaked off. But once one nail chips off and ruins the whole look, it is hard to resist removing everything. But peeling your gel manicures is the most harmful thing you can do to your nails. You aren’t only removing the gel manicure but also the top layer of your nail. The results can be rather unsightly so be patient and go to the nail salon to get a soak off!
13. Nail Brushes
Using a pointy, metal tool to clean under your finger nails may bridge a gap between the nail bed and nail which makes it more prone to bacteria infections. Add a nail brush to your nail care stash. Use it to gently scrub beneath and around your nails with warm water and soap for a thorough cleanse.
14. Do not neglect infections
If signs of infection such as ingrown nails, redness, swelling and pain start to show, do not ignore it and visit a doctor as soon as possible. Toenail fungus is very common since your feet are always moist and vulnerable to growth of bacteria. Symptoms of fungus include white and yellow streaks forming at the tip of your nail. Once you notice this, start to seek self-treatment options or medical advice.
Your diet actually contributes to how healthy your nails can get. Since nails are made out of protein, try to consume more foods that contain protein such as tofu, soy, quinoa and spinach. Consuming a biotin supplement is also an alternative way to avoid brittle nails and promote strong and healthy growth of nails. Besides being beneficial for nails, it is also great for hair growth.