Fingernails almost never fail to play a role in the first impression you make on others. Ill-maintained or unhealthy nails can speak volumes before you even open your mouth. Fortunately, taking care of your nails isn’t terribly difficult—it’s fun, even! All it takes is a bit of know how and a little self-love. Avoid the following nail sins for healthy, beautiful nails with every manicure.
1. Improper Filing.
Sawing back and forth with a nail file weakens the edge of the nail and can worsen nail peeling. Instead, file in one direction only. It takes more time, but your nails will be stronger for it. While you’re at it, toss those metal nail files and opt for a flexible, fine-grit emery board or a glass/crystal file (pictured below). Reserve coarse-grit files for acrylic nails only.
2. Improper removal of gel polish.
Resist the temptation to peel off your gel manicure! Because the gel polish adheres so well to the natural nail, peeling off the layer of gel will almost always peel off a layer of your natural nail. This leaves the nail thinner, weaker, and nearly ruined. When you’re ready to move on from your gel manicure, visit the salon for proper removal, or soak your nails in pure acetone for about 15 minutes, or until the gel polish easily lifts from your nail.
Source: Beauty Editor
3. Removing cuticles.
We have cuticles to protect the base of the nail from unfriendly bacteria. Removing them puts new nail growth at risk for infection. To groom your cuticles without removing them, use an orange stick to neaten them, and keep them well moisturized (see #9).
4. Using cleaning products without gloves.
Most conventional cleaning products contain aggressive disinfecting chemicals like alcohol and bleach. While these may be much needed for your toilet bowl, don’t let them near your hands! These chemicals will dry out your nails and eat away at your polish. Get into the habit of wearing gloves, even when using gentler cleaning substances like dish soap.
5. Sporting chipped nail polish.
Chipped is the opposite of polished. Raggedy polish defeats the purpose of having your nails painted. Better to go natural with bare nails than rock that week old manicure.
Source: Love Meagan
6. Picking at nail polish.
Like peeling off a gel manicure, attacking regular polish is more damaging to nails than simply removing the polish with nail polish remover. When you pick at your nail polish, not only does it look unsightly, you can also tear off parts of the nail in the process leaving you with an uneven, damaged surface.
7. Neglecting to wear a base coat with dark polish.
We’ve probably all experienced the frustration of pink stained nails after removing a dark red polish. This stain is hard to completely get rid of in one go. Rather, it takes several days to really fade away—such a drag! When wearing dark colors, always wear a base coat to minimize staining.
8. Using nail products with formaldehyde.
Because natural cosmetics are becoming more mainstream, the beauty industry has started paying better attention to the dangerous chemicals lurking in some conventional products. Formaldehyde is one such ingredient. The International Agency for research on Cancer (IARC) classifies formaldehyde as a carcinogen. Fortunately, independent and mega brands alike (including OPI) have made efforts to avoid formaldehyde in their products. Look for polishes that are labeled “3-free,” or even better, “5-free.” Our pick? 5-Free Lauren B Beauty Nail Polish.
Source: Cupcakes and Cashmere
9. Neglecting to moisturize.
Dry nails are brittle nails. To keep your nails healthy, moisturize your cuticles every day using cuticle oil or rich hand cream. Spend a few minutes massaging the moisturizer into the skin around the nail bed (and onto the nail itself if your nails are bare). Take a day or two off between manicures to give your nails a break and a deep conditioning moisturizing treatment.
For an easy deep conditioning treatment, massage hands and nails with a cream or oil, put on cotton gloves (or cotton socks), and hang out for an hour. For an even deeper treatment, wear cotton gloves to bed. Pelle Beauty Luxe Beauty Balm is a rich, water-free formula perfect for thirsty cuticles.
10. Not having fun with your nail polish!
Let’s not forget to enjoy our nails in the process! Nail polish is an expression of your sense of style, charm, and even your mood so don’t hold back when it comes to color or nail design. Nothing is permanent when it comes to nail polish, so have some fun and take a few risks!
What nail commandments do you swear by?