I used to bite my nails right down to the quick, and I think it was because I grew up watching my dad do it! Very bad habit! How ironic it was, that I became a qualified Beauty Therapist giving clients daily manicures and looking after their nails and cuticles.
What kind of example was I setting! *slap on the wrist*.
But, into my mid 20's and after the end of a stressful chapter in my life, including the end of a bad relationship, I managed to completely stop! I can only put it down to a big change in routine and a new beginning, because I can't really remember trying to, this sudden change must have snapped me out of it.
Anyway, from a former destroyer of my own nails, and Beauty Therapist, I thought I'd put together some tips on how you should look after your nails the right way! Plus, some things you may not have known...
For god sake, don't bite your nails like I did! There were times when I went a little too far and drew blood, and let me tell you, that bloody hurts! Plus, it looks disgusting! I was embarrassed to show my hands sometimes, they were that bad.
This also includes the skin around the nail...Not nice!
Yes, part of my job was applying Nail Extensions, Gels and Acrylics. And I know they don't damage your nails, but that statement only applies if you look after them whilst you have them! And I know a lot of people don't!
The best way to look after your nails is to keep them natural, open to the air and nourished, but...I'm not going to do all Nail Tech's out of the job, so if you are going to get them done...
1. Go to a reputable Nail Technician
Go to someone who loves what they do, and takes pride in their work. Do not go to one of those cheap and quick, in & out, side ally nail salons that look like a nail factory!
The visible part of your nail is indeed dead. It's the section of nail that's under the cuticle and beyond that's alive, but it's the tissue under the nail that's precious (the nail bed). This tissue needs to stay protected, and I know and have seen, some of these places can go too far and be way too rough with the nail whilst filling. I have also seen painful cuticles from over clipping.
2. Do not use your faux nails to open things!
The damage you can do when you put pressure on the nail bed, especially when trying to open a tin of beans or sticking your nail under a lid to pry it open. You shouldn't do it without extensions so why do it with. Plus, you'll ruin your beautiful paint job!
3. Moisturise regularly
Feed the cuticle and skin around the nail regularly with nail and cuticle oils.
Go back to the same Therapist regularly for maintenance, so that they can monitor how they are, and re-treat them if needed.
5. Don't peel
DO NOT! (and I mean this) DO NOT peel the nail off when it starts to come away from the natural nail!
I have done this (before becoming a Therapist), and the number of natural layers that I ripped off was shocking. I was mortified at just how soft and thin my nail was after doing that, it was painful when pushing on the nail and it looked disgusting. If your nail extensions are ready to be removed (because they will start to peel away after a while), then have them removed professionally.
6. Take a break
Let the nails breathe and rest between extension applications. Just give them a couple of weeks break before you go rushing back to get them done again, and keep moisturising.
Trim your nails with a good pair of clippers, and then file them the correct way.
Not many people know this, but you should never file your nails back and fourth like you would when sanding a plank of wood!
Always file the nail from the outer corners of the nail tip, inwards towards the middle in one stroke, never back and forth. You can damage the nail this way.
Don't use your nails
As said before, try not to open cans or lids with the nail alone, you could slip or bend the nail back or worse. Did you know you can create, (what I usually call) a "nail memory" (not a professional term but it'll do).
When you damage the nail bed in any way, even though the nail grows out, it can cause deformities. Those deformities will remain, and the nail will keep growing back into that deformed shape.
For example, I was in my Textiles class back in secondary school one day, and I was using the sewing machine. I didn't take my finger away in time, foot went down on the pedal and...yep you got it, the needle went through my nail...AAAGGGHHH! Luckily no one saw, and I didn't yelp! I never told anyone this because I was too embarrassed.
It didn't go all the way through though, thankfully, but it went far enough to touch the nail bed beneath. This then created damage in the tissue below the nail. So now 20 years later, and even though it's only tiny, there is a dip in the nail, the size of a pin. It'll always be there because of the damage to the nail bed below. It could have been a lot worse, OUCH!!
Base > Colour > protect
In that order!
I know a lot of people don't use a base coat, I've seen friends just plonk their nail varnish straight onto the bare nail.
A clear base coat is your one protection against the coloured nail varnish staining your nail, and it definitely can stain, especially if the colour is dark. Always use a base coat before you apply your varnish.
Topcoat is just as important if you want to protect the paint job. The clear topcoat is specially developed to protect your manicure from environmental factors like sun and rain. These factors can all affect the life of your nail colour.
Well, who knew a healthy balanced diet was the answer to keeping almost everything about you strong and healthy. Of course, there's no question!
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!
A white crusty cuticle and nails that look flaky aren't pretty. The older you get, the dryer they'll get so make it a routine.
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Luckily this oil is found in Olives, Rice bran & sugar cane, but before it can be used on the skin, it needs to be hydrogenated into Squal(a)ne, which is the magic ingredient in this oil. Get our moisturising nail & cuticle oil (worth £12) using the special offer below.
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