1. Use acetone-free polish remover to avoid the unnecessarily drying out of your nails. And if you’re tempted to go for gel or acrylic nails be aware of the risks to your nails.
2. Take care when cleaning under nails. Aggressive poking under the tips can cause the nail to lift off the nail bed. This would result in an irregular arch or line where the nail has separated from the skin.
3. Never neglect a nick or chip. File the break smooth as soon as possible to avoid it from developing into a bigger problem.
4. File nails at least once a week to keep the tips strong and even, but never file down the sides of your nails as this will make them weaker.
5. Shorter, rounded nails are easier to maintain and be kept tidy. They also look a lot better than long, uneven nails.
6. Keep a nail file handy for emergencies. Have a small file in your handbag, pantry, bedside drawer and anywhere else you often sit or work. Dealing with a chip or rough edge is then quick and easy.
7. Don’t cut your cuticles. They’re there to protect the area at the base of your nail. If the skin does become irregular or torn, for example after pushing your cuticles back, use clippers to carefully tidy.
8. Once a week ease your cuticles back. After a shower or when they’re soft, use a wooden orange stick to gently push them back off the nail. Follow with a cuticle cream or hand cream.
9. Clean your tools and don’t share. All metal clippers and tools should be washed to prevent the development of, and spread of bacteria.
10. Protect nails from staining by applying a base coat prior to polish. It will also help your colour look better and last longer.
11. Give nails a break between bright nail polish applications. This helps prevent them from drying out, yellowing and becoming weaker.
12. When applying hand cream, especially at bedtime, massage the cream around in and around your cuticles too. Massaging all the little joints is great for the general health of your hands too.
13. Use fine to medium nail files. Coarse files are rough on your nails, may cause breakage and are much harder to control.
14. Always, always wear protective gloves when dealing with chemicals, working in the garden, doing washing and using detergents. If it’s cold outside, slip on a pair of gloves.
15. Watch you diet and eat protein rich foods such as fish, nuts and eggs. The healthier you are the better your nails will be. Consider adding vitamin supplements such as fish oil, calcium and vitamin E. Discuss with your doctor first.
For more information on how to do a DIY manicure and pedicure see the February 2019 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.
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