Nail Care – Hints and Tips

I’ve been waiting the last week in anticipation of the new Russian Soul collection to turn up for the shop and each day it hasn’t arrived I’ve been mortified. Not just because I’m impatient to try out the 5 new amazing colours (and A England colours are always amazing, let’s face it), not just because we’ve had the perfect sunlight to truly appreciate the holo they will contain but mainly because right now my nails are the perfect length for swatching and I just know they’re plotting to break on me! So I’ve been nursing them along and realised I don’t have a nail care post up yet. Keep reading for some tried and tested ways to improve your nail health.

Hydration

You’re all going to be bored with this one, it’s the same tip we get for everything beauty-wise. Drink lots of water. Nails need to be strong without being brittle and they will go brittle if they are too dry. The easiest way to hydrate is from within so drink those 8 glasses a day.

Bliss Kiss after 6 weeks

Nail Oil

Even if you’re drinking lots of water a little extra hydration can’t harm. I didn’t think I needed nail oil as I do drink a lot and have also been very lucky with my nails in general but since trying Bliss Kiss nail oil I’ve noticed a difference in my nails (you can check out my review). You may have to search around to find one that works for you however; for example a lot of people swear by a mixture of Bliss Kiss and Sweet Baby but I found this actually made my nails worse. Also just the act of massaging the oil in will give you a lovely improved blood flow to the nail bed which will help future nail growth to be healthy and strong.

Vitamin D

I haven’t tried this one personally but a friend of mine had great results. She has always had issues with her nails flaking and although using nail oil improved them they still weren’t great. Cue breaking her foot and having to take vitamin D supplements. Suddenly her nails were in far better condition. When she stopped taking them the flaking returned. So it certainly worked for her.

Barry M "Super Mani" 7 in 1 treatment and base coat

Nourishing Base Coats/Polishes

This is not something I consider to be hugely important but it definitely helps. If you don’t have an absolute must-use base coat consider investing in something like Barry M’s Super Mani base coat. Most big brands seem to have a version, often called a nourishing base coat or a base coat treatment. I’m not sure how well any of them work as I haven’t really noticed a difference when using mine but I’ve been wearing Super Mani all week whilst trying not to let them break and it certainly hasn’t done any harm. You can also get lots of actual polishes that are supposed to help fortify and nourish your nails; the main ones I can think of are Nails Inc “Kale” range or the coconut oil ranges that most brands seem to have brought out this year.

Don’t soak them

Ok I know this will sound contradictary to my first point but don’t soak your nails in water. Hydration is good but only from the inside as it were. If you let them soak in the bath or doing washing up they will temporarily absorb water and both change shape and become weak. This isn’t to say if you have a bath you’ve got to sit there with your hands out of the water the whole time but don’t make it a habit to go and dunk your hands into water for extended amounts of time. Also it’s a great excuse not to have to do the dishes!

Don’t cut cuticles

I’ve never done this but it can apparently be really bad for you as it can be too easy to cut too short or even the wrong bits of skin and let infection in. The cuticle is actually there to protect your nail bed so if it does start to grow over your nail gently push it back. You can use a cuticle pusher or an orange stick or do as I do and just use your other nails. You may want to apply some nail oil first just to soften them up and make them easier to manipulate.

Don’t use them as tools

I never follow this one. Oops! Don’t use your nails as tools; all those cans of coke that you open by getting your index nail under the ring pull? Stop it. Scratching up bits of sellotape? Bad! You’ll weaken ends and corners and risk snapping them. Like I say, I still do this but don’t do as I do, do as I say 😉 Also just be very careful in day to day life. Obviously you can’t be completely aware of the exact movements your hands are making at all times but if you’re not in a rush just try to make yourself aware of any hard edges you might be about to bash head on with your nail or anything like that.

Tools of the trade - glass nail file and cuticle pusher

Filing and buffing

My final tip is filing and buffing. First of all NEVER buff. I used to do this all the time thinking it was a lovely way to get them smooth and shiny and increase blood flow. All this is true but it is also wearing away the top layer(s) of your nail, making it thinner and weaker. If your nail is healthy it should be pretty smooth and shiny anyway and if you have ridges you can use ridge-filling base coats to smooth them out for manicures.

As for filing always use the best quality file you can; preferably a glass file made with Czech glass – other glass files just don’t last as long. I won’t go back to anything else now and refuse to use an ordinary emery board as they’re just too rough and don’t do a very good job. Whatever type you are using however you should always file in just one direction to help prevent splitting. This is another tip I don’t follow and I still go back and forth but you can get away with that a little more with a glass file. I also recommend filing above cutting unless you really need to go way down to a much shorter length; cutting often bends the nail out of shape as you do it which introduces weak points.

This is my holy grail for nail care tips. Ana actually looks into the science behind why certain things do or should work and explains it for you rather than just blindly following the trends we all see and then saying “Yay, it worked for me, everyone should do this!”.

Have I missed anything out? Do you have any further tips or feel something above hasn’t worked for you? Let me know in the comments.

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