nail care and maintenance is more than just how often to schedule a manicure service or where to go. taking care of your nails helps extend manicure quality between services and is also about the health of your nails.
it might seem counter intuitive that a nail bar is going to say “less is more” but that is exactly what we are saying. while weekly natural nail manicures can certainly be part of your healthy nail maintenance many of us do not come that often for a service. with the right habits and home practices it can be healthy to ‘take a break‘ from polish, just as less than optimum practices at home can be destructive to your nails.
lets’ start with a few basics which are good guidance whether you manicure at a nail bar or at home.
don’t forget the gloves. latex or non-latex disposable gloves are perfect for most home chores that involve cleaning products or light gardening. buy a box, keep them handy and use them.
put a nail brush out where it’s handy … usually on the side of a sink, so you can grab it often and keep the ‘free edge‘ of your nails pristine with a gentle brushing under the nail. look for surgical nail brushes which are softer and have synthetic bristles that are gentle and do not foster bacterial growth. in fact, order a few nail brushes as these are great in the shower or tub for your feet and toenails also!
home cuticle care is best if approached from a very natural point of view. when you dry your hands with a towel, after washing your hands or a shower or bath, get in the habit of using the towel to do a gentle push back of your cuticles. long term this habit will stimulate circulation and healthy tissue while discouraging unsightly build up on the nail bed. make it second nature to do this every time you dry your hands.
what’s best ... a cuticle oil or a hand moisturizer? it does not matter which type of product you choose, using it often is your best defense against dry skin … make it a minimum of once a day, every day to maintain moisture in your skin nails, feet and toenails
discourage hangnails by vowing to not bite or pick on any torn tissue. using a cuticle trimmer, place the trimmer on the offending loose skin, and quickly and firmly trim it off, making sure you move the nipper away from the offending hangnail. do not pull back as you nip. this will help the skin right under the tear remain intact and not further inflame or cause additional hangnail formation.
file your nails in one direction, or at least finish the filing in one direction. this creates a smoother free edge that is less apt to splinter or tear. problem nails do better when they are kept on the short side and avoid filing on the side of the nails. file and smooth the free edge only to have stronger nails that break less often.
you will be amazed at how much improvement you can gain in your natural nails with these tips but let’s face it, there is nothing like a salon manicure to add that well-groomed finishing touch.
how to select a quality nail salon? first of all, look for friendly teamwork and a professional vibe while you judge the cleanliness. are table tops littered with the vestiges of a prior service or dust? metal implements should be removed from a sterile pouch in front of you, one that is sealed then unsealed while you watch. if a salon takes the time and investment to use the pouches you can assume, they are following sterilization procedures, or just ask how they sterilize. a 30-minute soak in hospital grade antiseptic solution should put your mind at rest. many germs are airborne, so the sealed pouch is essential post sterilization to keep them clean before use.
bottom line if the salon is dirty, or hygiene practices are missing, don’t partake of services there.
nail maintenance can be easy, requiring few products and minimum investment of time.