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Nail care tips
Keep hands very clean
Before you do anything, it’s important to make sure your nails and the skin around them are thoroughly dirt-free. Then remove all traces of your last colour with an acetone-free remover (anything else unnecessarily dries out your nail). Apply soap to a toothbrush, then gently scrubbing your nails and skin. This will remove dirt and exfoliate any dead skin without the need for harsh, drying chemicals or expensive scrubs.
Always be gentle
Your nails are delicate, and scrubbing them too roughly can expose you to infection. Another no-no: Using metal nail tools under the nail, as too much digging under the nail plate will cause it to separate from the skin, leading to an irregular white arching nail tip.
Regular trims are as important to your nails as they are to your hair. So, set aside time to clip them every two weeks, adjusting to more or less often once you see how your nails respond.
Health over length
Long nails are beautiful, but if you’re someone who has struggled with snags or breakage, its recommended that you keep your nails short — at least to start out with. A shorter style with a rounded edge tends to be easier to manage and looks neater, so you can focus on building strength without worrying about anything else. As long as each nail is uniform in shape and matches its nine neighbours, you won’t miss the added length.
Always have an emery board on hand
If you’re someone whose work or gym routine causes a lot of wear and tear, its suggested to keep a nail file handy to smooth away any rough edges that happen on the spot. The best way to do it? Work in one direction with the grain of your nail for a smoother finish.
Don’t cut your cuticles
The cuticle has a very important purpose to serve: It seals the area at the base of the nail. So when you cut or remove the cuticle, it breaks that seal of protection, leaving you vulnerable to bacteria and the possibility of infection. The better you are at leaving cuticles alone, the more your nails will thank you. But if you’re dead set on messing with them, its recommended to gently push back the cuticle once a week with a wooden orange stick after getting out of the shower, then massaging them with a cuticle cream or thick, creamy lotion.
Take care of your tools
Disinfecting your nail tools between uses is just as important as regularly cleaning your makeup brushes, and for the same reason — bacteria. To keep your nails happy and infection-free. Its advised washing metal tools with soap and water and then wiping with rubbing alcohol. And don’t forget to regularly replace disposable tools like emery boards. There’s no reason to continue using a tattered tool when it’s so easy to rotate in a new one.
Gives your nails a break
Save the elaborate nail art and those bold colours with lots of pigment for the weekend, and during the rest of the week, give your nails time to rest and repair with a clear gloss. Going from one strong polish colour to another without giving your nails a break can dry them out, turn them yellow, and over time, even weaken the structure of the nail.
You wouldn’t go to sleep without moisturising your face, so why should your nails be any different? Use a mix of almond and avocado oils to keep cuticles and nails hydrated while you get some shut-eye, but any nutrient-rich oil or moisturizer will do. In a pinch, you can even use a dab of lip balm.
Use Hand protection
Whenever you’re cleaning with harsh chemicals, gardening, or doing anything that involves soaking or dirtying your hands, wear rubber, vinyl, nitrile or plastic gloves, preferably with a cotton liner. Cleaning dishes in hot, soapy water sans gloves can weaken the nails, while getting them caked with dirt from gardening will require a level of cleaning that you want to avoid wherever possible. Similarly, now that the weather is getting chilly, remember to wear a pair of mittens or gloves so that the cold air and wind don’t undo the hard work you did moisturizing, leaving you with dry, flaky, scaly skin.
Consider your diet
Your fingernails are made of a protein called keratin, so just as with the clarity of your skin or the shine of your hair, you can improve your nails by tweaking your diet. Falcone advises adding vitamins and supplements like biotin, Vitamin E, and fish oil to your daily regimen, by eating recommended protein-rich foods like beans, fish, and nuts. The one thing every expert agrees on: Once you hit on the combination that works for you, you’ll be rewarded with stronger, clearer nails.