By Emma at The Nail Bar, May 19 2014 08:09PM
Wordy- yes but essential? -Absolutely!
Below are the top ten tips I give my clients during their manicures (and the very wordy reasoning behind each one!)
1) You should always wear gloves when cleaning.
The nail has approximately 25 layers all of which have air spaces in between. These air spaces enable the nail to soak up ten times more water than the skin, which can be seen after the bath when the nails become transparent and flexible. Evaporation of the water soaked up by the nail can break down the bonds between the layers resulting in weakness and peeling. The bad news is, if the nails flake the more water they can absorb thus causing more flaking.
2) And never buff your nails
Regular buffing of the nail can remove the top layer-the hardest most protective layer, opening up the nail to further moisture damage (as described above) the nail will also become too thin with the weaker, more pliable layers of the nail exposed. This is also why you should never pick or pull of your gels as you will find this layer stuck to the back of the gel!!!
3) Moisturize, moisturize and moisturize!
Apply a good hand lotion after washing your hands and of an evening before jumping into bed. They say your hands are first so show signs of aging so don’t let them give you away!
4) Get a cuticle oil addiction
Ok so that does come under moisturizing but still a good enough tip to stand up on its own. I used to pick and pull hang nails and dry skin around the nail, often to the extent my fingers would bleed and be very sore-until I discovered cuticle oil. There is now no hanging dry skin or anything to grab or pull. In addition to this some cuticle oils hydrate the nail and promote healthy growth.
5) Finish filing with three strokes in one direction
It’s the golden rule we all know about but rarely adhere to…filing in one direction seals the nail layers together again preventing your unsightly splitting. If you are removing a lot of the length then seal your nail by finishing filing in the same direction.
6) Never butcher your nails
And by that I mean acrylics. Very rarely can a natural look be achieved which is great…if you’re a stripper. There is also no excuse for anybody to be taking drills to their client’s nail beds and cuticles; surely that’s a form of Chinese torture? Any damage to the nail will take at least six months to grow out from the nail bed- if you’re lucky enough to not have sustained permanent damage. They may be cheap but as with anything in life- you get what you pay for.
7) Don't use polishes and nail hardeners containing formaldehyde
According to the US National Toxicology Program formaldehyde is “known to be a human carcinogen”. It is extremely volatile and toxic not only does it cause the nails to become very brittle and develop white spots but the nail bed could absorb the chemical into the body. Most polishes now no longer contain such nastys but if you’ve got sneaky bottles from more than a couple of years ago, its time for a clear out!
8) Exercise caution when removing your cuticles
And if you can just leave it to your nail technician. Many of us can get confused between the cuticle and the eponychium, there is a fine line between the two. However if you cut the eponychium it will become inflamed and sore and as this fold of skin protects the body from infection around the nail bed the body’s defense mechanisms will only make this skin growing back stronger and thicker.
9) Apply your SPF
Its often said the only anti-aging cream that actually works is sun cream. Even though the skin on your hands is the most UV resistant I would still consider applying a hand cream with an SPF, just be careful to avoid around the nails and the skin immediately surrounding if you are wearing Gel or Shellac. This will help avoid premature aging, sun spots and skin cancer (particularly if you have an outdoorsy lifestyle), its a must.
10) Stop using your nails as tools
You are never going to have a beautiful set of nails if you continue to open your pepsi cans by digging your finger nails underneath- no matter how many of the above tips you follow. Need I say more?