Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Top Tips for Healthy Nails/Cuticles

I love doing my nails and take the time do not only paint them nicely but to ensure my nails/cuticles are in good condition. I do this by using a variety of different products and techniques and thought it would be helpful to share them and show that you do not need to pay to go to a salon to get your nails done, you a can achieve healthy nails and professional looking results by yourself, at home. 

1. Get rid of dry,excess cuticles.
How? Use a cuticle removing gel/cream. These are quite easy to pick up from places such as Boots. I have the Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover and it works a treat.
You just pop it round your cuticles, leave for 5 minutes, push your cuticles back and watch all the dead skin roll away with it, then wash your hands! After, your cuticles will be smooth and have no dry skin bunched up around the base or edges. Yay!

2. Use a hand scrub.
This will help to further exfoliate dead skin/any left over excess cuticles. My top trick is super easy and cheap. I take a teaspoon of sugar and one pump of hand soap and mix them together in my hands. This makes a super effective scrub that I then rub around my hands and focus on my cuticles.
This is so effective in removing any dry skin that the cuticle remover may have missed and it also helps exfoliate the whole of your hands too! You can of course use a normal body scrub if you want.

3. Push your cuticles back regularly.
 Its important to push your cuticles back regularly to keep them neat and to stop them adhering to the nail bed (this makes them far more difficult to remove and doesn't look great.)
Always be gentle when pushing the cuticles back. Try and soften them first by using a cream/nail oil. This loosens them and makes it easier to push back and is more gentle on the nails.

4. Keep your cuticles hydrated.
I love the Almond Oil Pen from The Body Shop. This is a gel consistency and is dispensed through a brush applicator pen. Its so quick to use as you just quickly brush it over the nails and rub in. The gel consistency means it is easily absorbed and doesn't leave a greasy residue. Almond oil is fantastic at conditioning cuticles and strengthening the nails themselves. I apply this every night before bed and I have seen a huge difference in my cuticles, they aren't as dry and keep smooth and hydrated for longer.

5. Use a good hand cream. 
If I'm honest I don't really have a "holy grail" hand cream, I tend to just grab whatever I have in my bag at the time. Which is currently the Crabtree and Evelyn Pear and Pink Magnolia hand cream. I like this for throughout the day as it is light, easily absorbed but still nourishing. 

6. Use the right tools.
I like to use a variety of different tools to help me achieved neat and professional looking nails. A few are:

  • A glass nail file- Not only does a glass nail file make filling/shaping the nails a lot quicker and easier, it is also much more gentle on the nails and the chances of them splitting whilst filling is much less. 
  • A straight edge nail clipper- These help to get a much neater and square shape to the edge of the nail when cutting it.
  • A cuticle pusher- I mentioned earlier about pushing the cuticles back, to do this, I use a metal cuticle pusher. You can also get rubber or wooden cuticle pusher, rubber being the most gentle on the nails. I prefer a metal one as I feel it pushes the cuticles back more effectively. 

7. DO NOT nip your cuticles.
Now.. Cuticle nippers are a dangerous thing (Pictured above). I say this as I use to be obsessed with nipping my cuticles. Any chance I got Id have my cuticle nippers out and pluck away at any tiny piece of skin I could. NOT GOOD. Cuticle nipping actually causes the skin to grow in harsh and jagged, this making the cuticles dry and hard. Only ever nip your cuticles if you have a hang nail or a piece of dry skin that is catching/tugging.
By using a good exfoliator and a cuticle remover on the nails regularly, you should not have to nip away excess cuticles anyway.

8. Find a shape that works for you.
I, personally, adore a short square nail. I think it looks chic, effortless and clean. However, you may prefer oval nails, rounded nails, long nails.. The list goes on. I think it is important to find a shape that also flatters your hands. My hands are very skinny (I hate them.) and my fingers and quite long, so if I was to go for a longer, rounded nail, I would have witch hands. No joke.
However, that nail shape will look elegant and classy on a number of different people. It's just finding what shape you enjoy/suits you. (Below are just a few examples)

9. Use a treatment.
If you have severely dry, damaged nails and applying nail oil every night just isn't cutting it, you might want to try a more intense treatment. There are a variety of nail treatments you can get on the market, targeting towards many different problems (Splitting nails, dry nails, weak nails, flakey nails, bitten nails.. etc etc.)
So it is important to find a treatment that targets your specific problems.
One I think is a good all rounder is OPI Nail Envy. This works on strengthening the nails. It also helps them grow and reduces splitting/flaking.

10. Give yourself regular manicures to maintain the condition of your nails and keep them looking clean and professional. If you pay to get your nails done, maintaining the cuticle or giving a quick file will maintain the standard of your manicure for much longer, so you won't need to go as often!

So there you have it, my top tips for healthy nails and cuticles. I hope you found this post helpful and try out these tips for yourself.

Do you have any top tips for keeping your nails in great condition? Let me know!

Thanks for reading.

Zoe x  

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