Whether your the type of person who regularly paints their nails as a form of self-care or someone who is constantly picking and biting at their nails, we all yearn for healthy, strong, manicured nails. I know that most of you must be missing your nail appointments with us, whether it’s a normal manicure, gel overlays or acrylic overlays. Let’s talk about how best to look after those nails at home and hang on to the beautiful, natural nails we have been maintaining in all of your appointments. But first, how can you tell if your nails are really healthy? Here’s what to look for.
Signs of healthy nails:
• Nail plates are pinkish-white colour
• Cuticles are existent (please do not cut them)
• Nails & white tips are even lengths
• Prominent half-moon shaped white section at nail base (more scientifically known as the lunula)
Signs of unhealthy nails:
• Peeling/splitting nails, could be a sign of dryness or vitamin deficiency
• Horizontal grooves, could be from stress or injuring the nail (e.g. jamming your finger in the door)
• Red, swollen skin around the nails, could be from removing too much cuticle/ biting the cuticles
• Spoon shaped nails, could be a sign of iron deficiency or anaemia
So let’s have a look at how you have keep your nails healthy and strong in the comfort and safety of your own homes until we are able to see each other again.
Firstly, taking vitamins is a good way of keeping your nails healthy without actually having to do too much. Sometimes nail health comes down to your nails simply not getting the vitamins that they need. The number one vitamin that our nails absolutely love is Vitamin D. Vitamin D comes from sun exposure however, sometimes our bodies just don’t produce enough of it. That’s where supplements come in. These can be in tablet or liquid form. If you would like a Vitamin D supplement that does more for you than just the basics, please refer to my previous blog “Let’s talk about Vitamin D”. Biotin is another vitamin that encourages healthy, growing nails. It is found in many food sources - nuts, avocado, eggs - and it can be available as supplements also. Talking this daily will encourage cell growth and strengthen your nail plate.
Generally for nail health, but particularly now, keep your hands clean. It is important to ensure that your nails and the skin around them are thoroughly dirt free and it is also important that you wash your hands regularly (don’t forget to moisturise). I also recommend investing in a nail brush to help clean underneath the nails (an unused toothbrush will also do the trick). PLEASE, do not scrub, just lightly brush along the tips of the nails with soap and water.
Moisturise daily. You moisturise your face before bed, why shouldn’t you give the same attention to your hands and nails? Keep a tube of hand lotion by your bed and deeply massage some into your hands and nails each evening. Regularly applying hand lotion will maintain the moisture levels and prevent breakages and sore, dry skin (especially with all the hand washing at the moment).
Do not bite your nails. Yes, I know this is often a habit and is easier said than done - trust me, I used to be a nail biter. However, biting your nails is definitely a habit that needs to be stopped. Not only is it not hygienic, but it also damages the nail bed. Also, it only takes a small cut for bacteria to enter and cause an infection. If you are having trouble stopping, I recommend applying a top coat to the nails. As soon as you go to bite the, your will realise very quickly that you do not like the taste.
Wear gloves when cleaning. Any time you are washing up or cleaning with toxic chemicals, I recommend wearing rubber gloves. The ingredients in cleaning products severely weaken the nails by stripping them of their natural oils that keep them nourished. As such, this caused nails to become weak and brittle - using rubber gloves when taking part in domestic chores will protect your hands and nails from these harsh chemicals.
Take a break from nail polish. It’s the perfect time to do so! I always recommend having a couple weeks break roughly every six weeks, especially if my clients are having gel or acrylic overlays. It’s a good thing to let your nails breathe. Sometimes, all your nails need is a small break to help them rejuvenate.
Protect your nails. If you so wish to paint your nails while at home, always apply a base coat. It only takes a few second to apply and it will protect your nail plate from staining from your polish colour - particularly if it is a strong colour such as red. Those of you that come to me to have your nails done will know that I ALWAYS apply a base coat, sometimes I even apply a strengthening base coat too.
Keep nails trimmed. As much as most of us love having long nails, they tend to break easier and are harder to maintain and manage. Much like your hair, regularly trimming your nails will encourage nail growth and keep them nourished. If you do wish to grow your nails, I suggest waiting until they are strong so that they are less likely to chip.
File carefully. Filing your nails is useful to smooth away any uneven or sharp edges to avoid them catching on something and breaking. When you do file, make sure you always work in one direction. It is very coming to go back and forth without realising; how we it isn’t the best way of protecting your nails. In fact, filing in one direction will create a smoother finish and reduce the risk of your nails chipping.
Finally, don’t use your nails as tools. Your nails are delicate and keeping them in good condition means taking care of them. Using them as tools, opening cans with the tip of your nail, constantly tapping them on surfaces, scratching things off - adds unnecessary pressure on your nail bed and cause them to break. It can also cause any polish to chip. It’s a big NO from me. Always remember ... your nails are jewels not tools.
Thank you for reading our third blog and we really hope you are enjoying them. We are missing you all lots and can not wait to hopefully see you again in July *fingers crossed*. Look after yourselves and stay safe xo