I get asked a lot of questions on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook about nail care and the problems people have, so I thought I’d do a blog post on it that I can direct people to if they need it.
Please remember I have never trained in anything to do with nails, I just have a passion for nails, have tried a lot of products and wanted to share my tips.
My tool kit
The items I could not do without when it comes to nail care:
A glass nail file - Never, ever, ever clip your nails. It encourages splitting and is too harsh. I always file my nails down if they need ‘trimming’ and yes, it takes ages but it is worth it. My nails are so much stronger since I threw my clippers away. A glass nail file is an investment as they last forever, can be washed and are much better for your nails.
A good base coat - I am always shocked when people don’t use a base coat: it strengthens and protects your nails, stops them staining and prevents chips. Who wouldn’t want to get involved with that? I use OPI Nail Envy as it is strengthening and has totally changed my nails. I also use ORLY Bonder if I want my manicure to last ages as it prevents chips better than anything else.
A good top coat - A brilliant manicure without a top coat is like a great outfit with no shoes. It makes no sense. Top coat makes your manicure super shiny, it prolongs the colour and lasting time of your polish. I use Seche Vite because I have never found anything better. It dries a manicure in under 5 minutes and is shiny like glass - I am an addict and I don’t care who knows it.
The other basics
Cuticles - Do not trim your cuticles. The cuticle is there to protect your nail bed and keep out dirt and infection, so trimming it can damage your nail. Also, it’s easy to trim too much and end up with a cut or sore spot which is no fun. Whenever I apply hand cream or cuticle oil, I gently push the cuticles back. If you do this regularly, the cuticle will stay neat and won’t grow out onto your nail.
Filing - When you file your nails, don’t see-saw backwards and forwards. It weakens the nails and encourages splits and breaks. File from the left edge to the centre and then from the right edge to the centre.
Buffing - I am not a fan of buffing the nails as it can weaken the nail. If you have ridges or bumps in your nails it is most likely that it’s from a lack of natural moisture in your body Ramp up your hand cream application and see if that helps. There are also ridge filling base coats that smooth out your nails so that your polish goes on smoothly. If you must buff them, try the 4-way buffer from Models Own and try to keep it to a once monthly (or less!) habit.
Peeling or chipping polish - This could be down to many things. Make sure you clean your nails with nail varnish remover before putting on nail varnish, even if you had no polish on before. Any oil, dirt or grease on your nails can form a barrier between the nail and the polish which encourages chips. Base coat and top coat, as mentioned above are vital. Thick, gloopy polish will encourage chipping. Also practice wrapping/capping your tips when you paint your nails: paint the outer edge of your nail (literally wrapping the polish over the end of your nail) to discourage water or oil getting under the nail and causing chips.
Splitting nails - A split in your nail can be very frustrating. The easiest thing to do is to file it and the others down to match. HOWEVER, if you want to save the nail or if the tear is too far down and is sore, there is a trick to save the nail or prolong it until you can file it down. I did a blog post on the tea-bag method HERE.
Staining - Staining sometimes occurs even if you religiously use base coat. Dark colours and greens seem to the worst culprits! If you have some staining there is a very easy remedy: coat your bare nails in whitening toothpaste, leave for 10 minutes and scrub off with a nail brush. Et voila! Perfect nails once again.
Water - Too much exposure to water is bad for your nails and your manicure. Washing up should always be done with gloves.
Bubbles in a manicure - Before you paint your nails, roll the bottle between your palms to mix it. If you shake the bottle you will get bubbles. Bubbles in your manicure can also be due to painting a coat before the previous one has dried so take your time.
Some myths, debunked
"Your nails need a break from polish" - Poppycock. Your nails are dead, the same as your hair. You can treat them and make them look better, but they are not alive. They get anything they need from your diet and care. They don’t need sunlight or a break from polish. In fact, having nail varnish on them actually makes them stronger if anything, so this is just nonsense. I have worn nail varnish every day for about 10 years and my nails are ridiculously strong.
"Keep your polishes in the fridge" - Piffle. Any extremes of temperature are bad for nail varnish. Keep them away from the fridge, radiators or windows. The only thing that can make your nail varnish go gloopy or separate is air, so make sure your tops are screwed on tightly.
"If your polish is gloopy, add nail varnish remover" - Utter tripe. This will destroy your polish. You can buy nail varnish THINNER for a few pounds and it lasts ages. You add one or two drops to the bottle, roll the bottle in between your hands and that should sort it out.
I hope these tips were helpful for you, if you have any questions or ever want to natter about beauty come chat to me on Twitter: @ LexingtonSteel.