Whether you're the type of person who religiously paints their nails as a form of self-care or someone who's constantly picking and biting at their cuticles, we all yearn for healthy, perfectly manicured nails. Follow these tips for better nails right at home.
- Keep Them Clean. Before you do anything, it's important to make sure your nails and the skin around them are thoroughly dirt-free. Then remove all traces of your last color with an acetone-free remover (anything else unnecessarily dries out your nail). We recommend applying soap to a toothbrush, then gently scrubbing your nails and skin. This will remove dirt and exfoliate any dead skin without the need for harsh, drying chemicals or expensive scrubs.
- Clip Often. Regular trims are as important to your nails as they are to your hair. So set aside time to clip them every two weeks, adjusting to more or less often, once you see how your nails respond.
- Use The Nail File. If you're someone whose work or gym routine causes a lot of wear and tear, keep a nail file handy to smooth away any rough edges that happen on the spot. The best way to do it? Work in one direction with the grain of your nail for a smoother finish. And it turns out, the emery board that's been sitting in your drawer could be causing your nails to peel and snag. Instead, try a glass (also called crystal) nail file. A glass file will create an even edge to the nail and can be used on the weakest, brittle, and damaged nails.
- Don’t Skip Base Coat. Painting your nails at home is no excuse to cut corners by skipping the base coat. This step not only protects the nail from being stained by the polish, but also helps the color look more saturated with just one coat. And if you really want to take things to the next level, add a coat of clear gloss between each layer to add extra shine and protection.
- Avoid Chips With A Top Coat. Don't think you're squirming your way out of using top coat, either. This step is just as important. The top coat seals in the polish's color and adds a much-needed gloss finish to your digits. Apply another top coat layer every three days to decrease chipping, so you'll get the most out of your manicure. Seriously, what's the point of spending all that time painting your nails if it only lasts a day?
- Take It Easy. Save the elaborate nail art and those bold colors with lots of pigment for the weekend. During the rest of the week, give your nails time to rest and repair with just a clear gloss. Going from one strong polish color to another without giving your nails a break can dry them out, turn them yellow, and over time, even weaken the structure of the nail.
- Use Gloves As Needed. Whenever you're cleaning with harsh chemicals, gardening, or doing anything that involves soaking or dirtying your hands, wear rubber, vinyl, nitrile, or plastic gloves — some of which have a cotton liner. Cleaning dishes in hot, soapy water sans gloves can weaken the nails, while getting them caked with dirt from gardening will require a level of cleaning that you want to avoid wherever possible.
- Dry Them Like A Pro. Waiting for your nails to air dry can lead to tons of annoying mishaps (and wasted time). Instead, use an LED Nail Dryer. The UV lights cure nails in minutes and give you that perfect look every time.