1. Shape Up!
Before you do anything else with your nails, figure out what shape you’d like them to be. Everything else you do with your nails will be based around this decision.
2. Cuticle Cure
If you live in a dry climate like I do, you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that I really hate when my cuticles split and tear! It seems like no amount of lotion ever quite does the trick with my hands, but this cuticle cure found on Buzzfeed really does make a difference! As a side note, I don’t particularly like sleeping with socks/gloves on my hands as is suggested in step 4, but I’ve found that the cuticle cure is still effective when applied for the same amount of time as it takes to get a manicure.
Sally Beauty has some great thoughts for carefully buffering your nails to get rid of those ugly ridges.
4. Be a Tool Hog!
As explained on Good Housekeeping, sharing nail tools is not recommended. It’s surprisingly easy to share and spread fungus and although fungus isn’t necessarily dangerous, it is unsightly and annoying. Sanitize your tools after every few treatments or so and give yourself permission to be a tool hog!
5. Glass Files
File away your metal files and replace them with glass ones. According to Allure, metal files are too rough on nails and can lead to splitting, chipping, and brittle nails. However, glass files are much softer on nails and will actually help seal the keratin layers together. Read more about it here.
6. One Direction
No, I’m not referring to the British boy band! But they can use this nail tip too… file your nails (using your new glass file from tip #5) in one direction rather than back and forth. Good Housekeeping explains more about this here.
7. Avoid The Gel
Dr. Oz explains how even though gel manicures can make for some really cute nails, it really is best to avoid them for optimal nail health. Opt instead for treatments that use little or no harsh chemicals or UV rays that are shown to cause dryness and damage.
8. To Soak Or Not To Soak?
Soaking is believed to help moisturize your nails. However, just as with any time you soak your skin in water, the natural salt particles found in water actually suck moisture out of your pores (which is why you get “grape” skin after soaking in a tub for a while). This leads to dry, and un-moisturized skin. According to Nailsmag.com, the best approach to soaking is to moisturize with lotion before and after the soak.
9. Coats, Coats, & Coats
Apply different coats for maximum benefits. Clear coat layers are a great way to seal in moisture. Nail biters also benefit from clear coats because the bitter taste can help remind them to keep their fingers out of their mouths. Base and top coats also have great benefits such as locking in color and strengthening damaged nails. Read more about this here.
10. Beware of Biotin
Although there’s a lot of hype about taking Biotin supplements for hair and nail growth, recent studies show that this may not actually be the case. In fact, biotin deficiency is shown to be rare and taking Biotin pills can therefore lead to an excess or even an overdose of the nutrient. Read more of the details on Huffington Post.
11. Go Away Glitter!
What girl doesn’t like even just a little glitter from time to time? However, glitter polishes are notorious for being hard to remove and can encourage wearers to pick at the polish, thereby causing damage to your nails. Dotted Around suggests that if you do choose a glitter polish, try the foil method for removal rather than the traditional polish remover.
12. If The Shoe Fits
To avoid the risk of ingrown toenails and infection, wear shoes that actually fit. MedLine Plus explains that shoes that are too tight or that allow sliding put pressure on your toes that cause nails to grow downward. Not only is that painful, but it’s not very attractive either!
13. Use Polish Remover Sparingly
Using polish remover more than once a week over time can lead to harsh chemical damage such as dry, brittle nails and can even cause yellowing. YUCK! Try instead to find non-toxic and non-acetone removers that are supposed to be less harsh. Read more about it on the Mayo Clinic’s website.
14. Vinegar Before Polish
Hairspray And Highheels explains that applying white vinegar before polish will help remove any left over dirt and oils that can get caught under a lacquer. Read more here.
15. Moisture Up!
Keeping your hands and cuticles moisturized promotes healthy nail growth. Period.
It doesn’t happen to me often, but every once in a while I get strange stains on my nails. Apparently (and thankfully) I’m not the only one because gurl.com shares this idea about using a soft brush and toothpaste to gently scrub the stains away.
17. Nail Art
Style Craze has some polish perfect ideas for adding some style to your nails. For a variety of tutorials, visit their blog here.
18. Rolled Not Shaken
To prevent bubbles from forming in your polish before applying, roll the polish jar between your hands instead of shaking it up and down. Bubbles in your polish will promote chipping.
19. Be Cool
Blowing cool air, not hot, decreases polish drying time. You can also try dipping them in ice water for a minute or two for the same quickened result.
20. Cover Outgrown Gel Base
I love this idea for covering the gel ridge when your nails have grown out a bit after a manicure. Just take a glitter polish and apply it over the ridge for a fresh, sparkly look.