22 January 2012

Guest Post: Keeping your Nails in Tip-Top Shape

In order for your nails to look good, you’ve got to take care of them. Nail polish looks great and it’s good for strengthening nails and covering up any issues – but it’s no good chucking coat after coat of polish on nails that are suffering - instead here’s our guide to stripping back and looking after your nails.

Firstly, get them sparkling clean. That means removing every last trace of your last lot of polish – which is best done with an acetone free polish remover. Yes, an acetone-based one will strip the polish off faster, but bear in mind that acetone is a solvent – it’s pretty harsh stuff – so unless your last polish was a heavy duty sparkly one, stick to the kinder acetone-free removers, and take your time over it.

Now, wash your hands thoroughly to get rid of all the polish remover, and give your nails a gentle working over with a good quality nail brush. While you’ve got nail polish on it’s easier for dirt to accumulate beneath your nails, because you can’t see it; so now’s a good time for a full clean-up – plus with no polish on you’ve got no worries about chipping.

Next, dry your hands thoroughly and moisturise both the skin and the nails. You can buy specialist nail and cuticle moisturisers and cuticle oils – or just use your favourite brand of moisturiser and be sure to include your nails and cuticles (which most people miss when they moisturise their hands). Cuticles can be gently pushed back with an orangewood stick, but don’t cut them away – they’re there for a reason.

Shaping is next, if you need it. If you have soft or brittle nails you may prefer to file them while you’re still wearing polish, to give them extra support, but if you have good strong nails it’s preferable to trim them up as part of the clean-up and care process. And whether you cut and file or just file (it’s a personal preference), invest in a glass nail file for a lovely clean finish.

With all that done, your nails are clean, shaped and beautiful – just as nature intended! Now you have two choices – you can either wait for the moisturiser to sink in fully and then start applying base coat for your next polish; or better still leave them au natural for a few days before you polish again – letting light and air get to the nails. If you don’t polish but still want a finishing touch, gently buff the nails to a good shine, so it looks like you have clear varnish on even though you don’t.

Lastly don’t forget – to keep your nails in great condition, get a professional manicure when you can, protect your nails with gloves when you’re doing chores like washing up (to keep them dry and detergent free), and eat foods with plenty of calcium and Vitamin E.

This guest post was contributed by Katie who writes on beauty tips and makeup advice at Cafe La Moda.