For many of us, a manicure is one of life’s little pleasures. But with beauty salons up and down the country closed for a few more weeks yet, we’ve been left to our own devices when it comes to our nails.
There are so many great long-wearing nail polish collections and countless brilliant DIY tools for achieving an expert finish at home but I recently came to realise that some of the nail care techniques I’d been following weren’t giving my nails the best start at growing long, strong and healthy. Add nervous picking and biting to the mix thanks to COVID-induced stress and anxiety, and my nails were looking decidedly worse for wear.
So to try and breathe life into my flimsy nails, I decided to switch things up. From investing in a top quality nail file to always using a base coat under nail polish, read on to uncover the most common nail mistakes and the tiny adjustments I’ve made to achieve my best nails so far.
Multipack nail files are such good value for money but some of them can be flimsy and sandpapery, and they often cause my nails to split at the tip. Since investing in a glass or crystal nail file, my nails haven’t broken or snagged once and the speed with which it files is impressive. I’m using the Leighton Denny Small Crystal Nail File, £12.50, which comes in a protective case.A top tip all nail artists swear by for healthy nails is not filing back and forth. Instead, file slowly in one direction to keep your nails intact.
If you regularly skip a base coat before painting your nails, you might want to give it a second thought. Not only does a good base coat act like Velcro for nail polish you apply on top (encouraging it to stick around for longer) but it shields your nails from stains, which can often occur if you’re using a darker shade of polish. Stained nails can take on the colour of your chosen hue and even appear yellow over time. That’s not great if you want to try the nude or sheer nail trend. I love nails inc. Nailkale Superfood Base Coat, £15, which treats nails as it protects and Maybelline Superstay Strength Primer Protecting Base Coat, £5.99.Since making a promise not to skip the base coat (and applying a top coat, too), my nails have chipped far less than usual so I’m not picking off my polish. Which leads us nicely on to the next bad habit…
When you pick your nail polish, you risk peeling off a layer of your actual nail with it. The instant results are mottled, rough and flaky nails. Over time, you could weaken your nails, which might explain why they often feel soft or bendy after you’ve gone on a picking spree.When you notice a chip, there are two options: fill it in with the same shade to prolong your manicure, or take it off with a gentle nail polish remover. I find the latter to be a chore but I really like nail polish remover pots, which dissolve varnish with a quick twist. Try Superdrug Nail Polish Remover Acetone Pot, £2.99, or nails inc. Nail Polish Remover Pot Powered By Collagen, £9, which lasts for ages.
Picking your cuticles is said to affect your nail bed and impact the way in which your nails grow, especially if the skin around your nail becomes inflamed. As a self-confessed cuticle picker (often to the point of painful sores), I always wondered why my nails were bumpy and ridged but since checking myself and my nervous habit, I’ve noticed my nails are growing through more smoothly.One thing that helps is making sure my hands and nails are moisturised. I keep a bottle of cuticle oil on my bedside table and rub it into my cuticles and nails to smooth away any raggedy bits of skin (which I’d otherwise pick) before bed every night. Try Barry M Nail Shot Nail & Cuticle Argan Oil, £3.99, or OPI Pro Spa Nail & Cuticle Oil, £13.90. Applying hand cream immediately after washing my hands also helps. I go for products which absorb instantly and won’t leave greasy prints all over my phone or keyboard, like CeraVe Soothing & Repairing Hand Cream, £6, and Dr Barbara Sturm Super Anti-Aging Hand Cream, £50.
Nail polish removers which contain acetone cut through polish at record speed. I think they’re great and will always have one in my kit (namely Boots Nail Polish Remover, £1). But if I’m switching up my nail polish colour often, I alternate between this and something which is acetone-free so that I don’t dry my nails out and cause splits. Acetone-free formulas might take a little longer to remove polish but they’ll do your nails a lot of good in the long run. Try OPI Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover, £7.50, which is expert-approved.Credit: Original article published here.